Public Health Threats Go Beyond COVID-19

By Todd Wineburner

The Livingston County Health Department is monitoring not just COVID-19, but also more traditional public health issues. Donnie Simmons, Director of Environmental Health for the LCHD, says the county’s first rabies-infected bat for 2020 was found recently on Reynolds street in Pontiac. According to Simmons, no people or pets were exposed. Simmons says August and September are typically the months when most bats are submitted to state labs for testing. He adds that most bats are not infected, but should still be avoided. Area residents are encouraged to check their homes for areas where bats might enter.

In other health news, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting the state’s first case of West Nile Virus infection for the year. A DuPage County resident was diagnosed in mid-August. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says people need to be cognizant of health concerns other than COVID-19. “…many of us are spending more time outdoors while still socially distancing,” Dr. Ezike said recently. “As we enjoy the outdoors, we need to protect ourselves from other viruses carried by mosquitoes by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around the house.”

Last year, 46 counties in Illinois reported finding West Nile virus infections. There were 28 human cases and one fatality.

The COVID-19 numbers continue to grow in Livingston County. The latest figures show 9 more positive tests in the area, with all of those individuals recovering in isolation. That raises the area’s total number of cases to 264 as of September 9th.

More information on all of these issues is available at