Kankakee County Press Conference: first COVID-19 case (copy)

John Bevis, Kankakee County Health Department administrator, shown here during the press conference related to the county’s first COVID-19 death, said education is helping curb the coronavirus infection rate and virus-related deaths.

Two additional deaths, which had complications associated with COVID-19, have been reported by the Kankakee County Health Department.

The two latest deaths, which occurred Sunday, bring the Kankakee County total to 65.

The two deaths were also the first deaths associated with the COVID-19 virus since June 26, said John Bevis, health department administrator.

The one-month separation between COVID-19 related deaths had been the longest stretch without the coronavirus death since the pandemic began in March.

There were no details regarding the deaths. Bevis said he was notified of the deaths Monday.

“We certainly had a nice lull, but we will have more,” he said.

Bevis said it is his hope that getting information to the public on the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands and avoiding large gatherings has had an effect on the virus’s infection rate.

“With a month having passed without a death, were we in the eye of the storm? I hope not,” he said.

Bevis said the general public has traveled quite a distance since the virus began making its presence known locally in mid-March. He notices a much greater number of people taking the precautions.

He is also aware of people experiencing illnesses staying at home.

“The risks of transmission have been greatly reduced,” he said.

Bevis, however, said there still is a long road to be traveled, as there is no vaccine for the virus, so the public must keep up its vigilance.

According to the health department, Kankakee County has 426 active infection cases, but there have been 1,190 recoveries from the illness.

Statewide, there have been 7,416 deaths, as well as 172,655 confirmed cases, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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