The McLean County Health Department was notified by the Illinois Department of Public Health of the first novel coronavirus (COVID-19)-related death in McLean County, Illinois.
The individual, female in her 70s, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and was in intensive care.
“We are deeply saddened by this loss. Within McLean County Government, our hearts go out to the family and friends who are mourning the loss of their loved one. We cannot even begin to understand how they feel, and we send our sincerest condolences,” McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said in a statement.
The McLean County Health Department, with support from McLean County Government Leadership, chose to issue a press release for this occurrence, out of respect for the individual and their family during this difficult time, while also highlighting the federal regulatory requirements the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
In its Accountability requirements, HIPAA requires we protect health data and its integrity, confidentiality, and availability. The Act provides protection regarding personal health information. And, there are consequences for healthcare providers and others who violate HIPAA. This unfortunate news should remind the public of the importance of social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention recommendations.
Furthermore, this death shows how critical it is for all of us to follow Governor Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order which went into effect at 5:00pm on March 21, 2020.