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The Grundy County Health Department on Monday confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the county.

The resident is a female in her 30s, according to a release issued Monday afternoon by Grundy County Health Administrator Michelle Pruim. Federal privacy restrictions prohibit the release of any additional information.

“We thank the Grundy County community for being so responsive to executive orders and cooperating with public health recommendations," Pruim said. "Please continue to practice social distancing so that we can keep the number of confirmed cases low in Grundy County, and offer resources to those persons experiencing severe symptoms. The Health Department continues to be available for general inquiries and some screening processes. Symptomatic persons should consult their health care professional for medical guidance."

The state of Illinois is now several days into Gov. JB Pritzker's shelter-in-place order, as confirmed cases of coronavirus have surpassed 1,200.

Grundy County Board Chair Chris Balkema delivered a video message to the public over the weekend asking residents to cooperate with the order and to keep the faith.

"I want to remind everyone how important it is to remain calm during these unusual times," Balkema said. "Essential businesses are going to continue to operate, roads will be open, and grocery stores will be available for you to use. Gas stations will be open for you to fuel your vehicles, and you'll be able to go out and get medical attention for yourself and your family as needed."

Balkema asked Grundy County residents to remember kindness.

"We can bring peace to a turbulent situation just by an encouraging word that we might say to the person next to us. If you need to go out and get fresh air and get out of the house for a while, go for a walk or go running or jogging or hiking. All of those things are possible while practicing social distancing," Balkema said. "It really is important that we make our mental health and well-being a priority during these turbulent times. ... We will get through this together – I'm convinced of it – and we'll be stronger together."

In Morris, officials said residents should simply heed the order, staying put for as much time as possible. Emergency services will not be affected by the announcement.

"The Morris Police Department will still be operational, as well as the EMA and fire departments and all first responders," Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said. "Shelter in place, stay at home. It's pretty simple. If you do have to go someplace, you're able to go and get groceries or whatever, but the biggest thing is to stay at home."

At Morris Hospital, visitors have been banned for all hospital inpatients, with the exception of one visitor per patient for laboring mothers, critical patients, children 17 and younger who are hospitalized or in the emergency department, and patients having surgery or invasive procedures involving sedation.

For patients who are at end of life, visitors will be evaluated on a case by case basis. No other visitors are permitted at the hospital or allowed to accompany outpatients. Additionally, anyone who needs to come to the hospital will have their temperature checked before entering.

The hospital's Patient Transportation Service has also limited its operations.

A Seneca High School student who was tested for coronavirus at Morris Hospital became the first patient to test positive in LaSalle County late last week.

Meanwhile, the Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission has also made changes to their operational status as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

"It was not easy to make these changes, but they are in the best interest of our veterans and staff. As we considered these changes, we reviewed the current guidance from the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Grundy County Health Department," Grundy County VAC Superintendent Ken Buck said in a news release.

The Grundy County VAC office is open but is not conducting any in office appointments. Staff will continue to work with veterans and their families on claims and other VA benefits over phone and other means.

VAC transportation services have also been suspended.

Grundy County VAC can be reached at 815-941-3152.

For more local news, visit Morris Herald-News at https://www.morrisherald-news.com.

Coronavirus