County Board Chairman declares COVID-19 state of emergency

WOODSTOCK – Warnings that the spread of the novel coronavirus would affect day-to-day life began to be realized in the McHenry County area on Wednesday, with a state of emergency declared and closures of at least two public buildings.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks declared a countywide state of emergency in response to news Tuesday from state health officials that a local teenager had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Franks said in a news release that the emergency declaration was not a decision taken lightly.

“However, with a McHenry County resident now presumptively diagnosed with coronavirus, I have the responsibility to ensure that we can bring all available local, state and federal resources to bear to blunt the impact and bring this to as quick of a conclusion as possible,” Franks said. “This declaration should not be taken as a cause for panic or alarm, and I echo Governor JB Pritzker’s call for level-headedness and calm while staying abreast of new developments and taking common-sense precautions.”

The McHenry County Department of Health, for its part, urged municipalities and organizations to consider postponing nonessential public events and meetings on Wednesday.

“As organizers weigh their decisions on the benefits and risks of hosting nonessential public events and meetings it is recommended to review the CDC recommendations related to hosting mass gatherings or large community events,” a news release from the department said.

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