Westmont, Illinois - Date Issued: December 11, 2020
“In the past few weeks, the entire country has seen a dramatic increase in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Westmont Fire Chief Steve Riley. “In Illinois, we are now seeing a slight improvement, but COVID-19 is a problem that everyone needs to take seriously, especially as we head into the holiday season. The recommendation is for everyone to be diligent and resist gatherings with people who are not in your immediate, everyday life circles. With the news of vaccinations coming in the not too distant future, we have reason to be patient a little longer to help ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy.”
In Region 8, which includes DuPage and Kane Counties, the positivity rate and hospitalizations have been increasing over the last few weeks. Hospital ICU bed availability is less than 20%. There have been more than 1250 residents of the Village of Westmont that have tested positive since March with almost 200 positive cases in the last two weeks. The Westmont Fire Department transports at least one resident per day with serious medical complications that are COVID-19 related.
VIllage staff are engaged in frequent meetings about the vaccination plan for DuPage County and the Village. While the roll out of the initial vaccines appears to be imminent, it will likely be 3-6 months before a vaccine is available to the general public. Initial vaccine distribution will be to health care workers and residents of long term care (LTC) facilities. This is of particular importance to Westmont having several LTC facilities in the community. Several of these facilities have seen significant numbers of cases and unfortunately many lives lost.
“We also want to make sure that residents are seeking accurate information from trusted sources including DuPage County and the State of Illinois,” added Riley. “Unfortunately, many posts on social media and politically-motivated websites are inaccurate. The Village of Westmont has a COVID-19 webpage which also provides local news specific to this topic.”
The Village of Westmont strongly encourages citizens, including people who have already had COVID-19, to continue to follow the guidance issued by the CDC, State of Illinois and DuPage County Public Health, as summarized below.
COVID-19 SAFETY TIPS
Know how it spreads
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms (estimated to be 40+% of all cases)
Wash your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. It’s especially important to wash:
- Before eating or preparing food
- Before touching your face
- After using the restroom
- After leaving a public place
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling your mask
- After changing a diaper
- After caring for someone sick
- After touching animals or pets
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- If possible, isolate the person who is sick from other household members
- Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus
- Remember to observe social distancing protocols
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick
- The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected in addition to providing some protection for the wearer
- Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit
- Throw used tissues in the trash
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Clean and disinfect
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work
Monitor your health daily
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
- Health monitoring is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop
- Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen
- Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop
“Recently, there was a misleading post on local social media regarding Westmont COVID-19 statistics,” added Chief Riley. “We want to encourage everyone to seek information directly from the source rather than social media posts that may be misleading or flat out wrong. Our goal is to make sure our residents are safe and we will report important updates in a timely manner.”
Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont
Communications Director/Public Information Officer