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Caution urged amidst COVID-19

A view of the OSF Healthcare office in Fairbury / EOCI photo.

As COVID-19 spreads through area towns, experts remind residents to follow the same health guidelines as the rest of the nation.

“The social distancing and keeping a safe space still remain a valuable tool,” explains Dr. John Rinker, Chief Medical Officer at OSF HealthCare St. James John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac.

If you must be out and about for an essential job or critical errand, Rinker recommends the usual precautions of proper hygiene and social distancing. Otherwise, individuals should stay home, socially isolating themselves from other members of the community. According to the data, social isolation works and is useful.

“Wash your hands constantly and obsessively,” Rinker recommends.

The more you adhere to these common sense health measures, the safer you will likely be. Those hoping to tough it out are in for a rude awakening as Rinker refers to COVID-19 as a “particularly nasty” virus.

While some may spread the disease without exhibiting symptoms, many of those who do have symptoms become very sick. In fact, they may not realize how sick they really are.

“Certainly, for a farmer who might be out in the field by himself with no one to check on him, I don’t think toughing it out makes any sense.”

Anyone suspecting they have the virus can visit the OSF website and have a discussion with a chat-bot which is artificial intelligence software. A nurse hotline is also available for assistance. Patients can check with their physician’s office but testing is limited to hospitalized patients in Illinois.

“If you think you have the virus but you’re not having significant breathing problems or shortness of breath, stay home,” said Rinker. “Assume you potentially have the virus, isolate yourself within your own home and don’t leave for 14 days after onset of your symptoms.”

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