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McDonough County amid three Tri-State counties on state COVID-19 warning list

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MCDONOUGH COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) -- People in McDonough County got an alert Friday afternoon on their phones. But, it wasn't about a missing person or severe weather, it was about COVID-19.

Every McDonough County resident received the emergency alert after the county and two others, Pike and Adams, made it onto a warning list from the Illinois Department of Public Health that included 31 other counties.

"I was a little concerned about it because my initial thought was, 'We're going to take a step back'," Monte Anderson, the Kapow'66 Comics, Toys co-owner, said.

He said the warning scares him as he already lost four months of business earlier this year.

If the county was to go through another shut down, he said he might not make it.

"I would say probably an 80 percent chance that we may not reopen," Anderson said.

McDonough County Emergency Management Director Edgar Rodriguez said the county's positivity rate is just over nine percent and there is an outbreak at a long-term care facility.

Those factors put the county on the list.

"This is just a warning, so it's kind of like a slap on the wrist, like pay attention, you guys are headed the wrong way," Rodriguez said.

He said if people don't start wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, things could get really bad.

"The schools are actually operational right now," Rodriguez said. "If we have to shut down the schools, everyone's going to have to take care of their kids, take time off work, it's a vicious cycle."

He adds the importance of keeping hospital beds available ahead of flu season.

It's a plea for the community to help it move forward, not backward.

"If everyone just works together, we're going to get through this a lot better," Anderson said.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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