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OTTAWA – Two La Salle County corrections officers tested positive for novel coronavirus, Shaw Media has learned, prompting county officials to step up infection controls.
Shaw Media was provided, unsolicited, with a copy of an internal memorandum sent by County Board Chairman Jim Olson (D-Seneca) alerting county officials to the positive test results and mandating immediate policy changes.
“Unfortunately, we have now learned that two of our employees have tested positive for the virus,” Olson wrote. “One employee works in the La Salle County Jail and the other in our Juvenile Detention (Home). While we hope for the speedy recovery of these individuals, we must implement immediate measures to reduce the risk of additional personnel being affected.”
Olson, when reached for comment Tuesday, was angry to learn the memorandum was leaked to the news media.
“It’s extremely inappropriate that someone gave you that memo,” Olson said. “That’s my comment.”
La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton and Jail Superintendent Jason Edgcomb both deferred comment to Olson, except to say their offices are abiding by protocols set forth by the health department.
In the memorandum, Olson said offices are to be staffed at a bare minimum and anyone entering the governmental complex on Etna Road must use the north entrance through the metal detector and, upon entry, be checked for fever. Anyone running a temperature will not be admitted.
“If turned away, the individual must report this to their department head or elected official who will then notify human resources.”
Health Department has issued protective masks to be worn by everyone in the building.
The memo was dated Monday, when county health officials reported a running total of 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (one of the 13 has died, two others recovered) from a pool of 203 tested.