An Oak Park resident tested positive for COVID-19, making it the village’s first confirmed coronavirus case; village government announced the news on its website and in an emailed release March 18.
“We have our first positive. We are not immune,” Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb told Wednesday Journal.
Rush Oak Park Hospital screened and tested the resident, a man in his 30s, March 16. The village received confirmation of the positive test results March 18, according to the news release.
Due to privacy laws, the village and hospital cannot divulge any of the man’s personal information. However, village government said he has no affiliation with the local school system.
He is recovering at home and in isolation. According to the release, the Oak Park Department of Public Health is working in conjunction with the state’s health department to identify and notify individuals who may have come into contact with the man.
“The public health department is working with the individual to understand their movements within the community and then we can make notifications to the people he’s been in contact with,” Village Manager Cara Pavlicek told Wednesday Journal.
“It’s a very hands-on conversation so we get accurate information so we don’t get people alarmed but other people who may have been in contact with him know what they can do to keep themselves healthy.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health notifies the village of Oak Park when there is a positive test result.
However, due to recent changes in testing, the village no longer knows how many people have undergone testing for COVID-19.
“They opened up more private testing processes. We authorize tests when they’re at the state but there are private testing labs where people are getting tests without going through us,” Pavlicek said.
Pavlicek said the village will notify the community in any further positive cases of COVID-19 in Oak Park.
“We absolutely will notify the public,” she said. “From day one we believe that is our responsibility, to make sure we share that information to make sure people understand what’s happening in the community in regard to public health.”