By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – An employee of the Rockford Rescue Mission has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The staff member’s age and name have not been released. Mission CEO Sherry Pitney said in a statement that she continues to work with the Winnebago County Health Department, as her team has since the beginning of the pandemic. She said many of the mission’s clients have compromised immune systems, prompting extra precautions to avoid spreading the virus.
“Everyone’s health and safety are top of mind as we proactively increase efforts to prevent the spread in this congregate setting,” Pitney said.
The mission has instituted a limited movement policy for its residents and guests. Only those who work essential jobs are permitted to leave the property. Residents are also permitted to leave for doctor’s appointments, groceries and other essential goods.
Crisis guests who do not to comply with the limited-movement policy can be suspended from the facility for seven days. Recovery resident violators face expulsion.
Coronavirus disease has been a problem for staff at nursing homes and similar facilities. While Winnebago County has seen only a few congregate cases, dozens of assisted-living residents in metro Chicago have been infected and several have died.
“It is very difficult in these congregate settings for there not to be some spread,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a previous report.
As of this report, there are 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Winnebago County, including eight deaths. Statewide, 24,593 people have tested positive. The Illinois death toll is 948.