As of Thursday morning, there still were no confirmed tests of COVID-19 in Shelby County. But there were four tests pending, according to Steve Melega, Health Administrator at the Shelby County Health Department.

“There have been six negative tests, there are four pending tests, two people are in isolation at home, and one has been released,” Melega said.

Melega said the two people in isolation have not been tested because they did not meet the criteria.

Asked about five confirmed cases in Sangamon County, including one death, and one case in Christian County, he noted that there was also a new case confirmed in Douglas County.

Sangamon County includes the state capitol, Springfield, with a bigger and more urban population. Christian and Douglas are more rural.

Melega was asked about nearly 20 counties surrounding Sangamon County with no confirmed cases yet, and whether that was because they are rural counties?

“It could be because of their rural nature or because testing is slowing down,” Melega said. “The state has changed the parameters and are relying on reference labs.”

Melega has said that the Illinois Department of Public Health only tests those who were in-patient with pneumonia or those suspected or confirmed COVID-19 from a congregate high risk setting, like an assisted living facility.

On Wednesday IDPH announced 330 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including three more deaths; a Kane County man in his 90s, a Cook County man in his 60s, and a Will County woman in her 50s. By Wednesday IDPH had reported a total of 1,865 cases in 35 counties in Illinois.

The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years. (Visit for updates.)

“If you want to do your part to contain the spread of COVID-19, do your part and continue social distancing, if you are sick stay home and wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds,” Melega said.

John Curtis can be reached at

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