As the sun shines bright and the air smells like spring, a stay-at-home order the State of Illinois and Shelby County, which has a handful of pending tests for COVID-19.

Steve Melega, Health Administrator at the Shelby Couny Health Department, reported on the cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County and the surrounding area.

“We have no positive tests, yet,” said Melega. “We have tested 15 people, 10 came back negative and five are pending. So, we have two additional pending cases since last we spoke (Friday).”

During his report, Melega got results on one of the five pending tests, on a person from Lakewood. The results were negative. That made it 15 tests, 11 negative and four pending.

“The nurse is calling the patient right now, to let them know they are free from isolation,” Melega said.

Melega said of the five people, now four, awaiting test results, three are in isolation at home and the other is in St. John’s Hospital. There is still one other person in isolation in Shelby County that did not meet the criteria for testing.

“We have had tests for people from Shelbyville, Findlay, Strasburg, Lakewood, Windsor, Moweaqua, Tower Hill, and Henton,” Melega said. “The five that are pending are two from Tower Hill, one from Shelbyville, one from Henton, and one from Lakewood.”

Melega said that results on COVID-19 tests from the Illinois Department of Health take about four days. With an additional shift, IDPH says they expect turnaround on test results to be 3 days. Reference labs can take 7-10 days, because they may be out-of-state.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Division of Laboratories is expanding testing for COVID19 at all three of its laboratories to include a second testing shift that will run until 10 p.m.

The IDPH Division of Laboratories will accept specimens from the following patients unless other arrangements have been made:

• Specimens from hospitalized patients with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia)

• Specimens from clusters in a congregate setting that serves more vulnerable populations such as a supportive care facility, assisted living facility, group home, homeless shelter, or correctional setting

• Specimens from symptomatic healthcare workers or first responders.

All other tests are sent to approved reference labs.

“Now remember, that even with no symptoms and a low-grade fever, people can still be carriers,” Melega said.

Melega is watching the surrounding counties for reasons of exposure. Of the eight counties that border Shelby County, four of them have 1 confirmed case, each: Christian, Fayette, Macon, Cumberland. Coles, Effingham, Moultrie and Montgomery have no confirmed cases.

  • There may be tests coming in yet today that are negative or positive, so that could change. Governor Pritzker will have more up-to-date results in his address.

Douglas does not border Shelby County, but has one case. Sangamon County does not border Shelby, but has eight cases. Those 10 counties surrounding and near Shelby County represent approximately 500,000 people. There are 13 cases confirmed in those counties. That’s one confirmed case per approximately 38,462 people, as of early Monday morning.

John Curtis can be reached at

John Curtis can be reached at

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