coronavirus illinois

Multiple Coronavirus Cases Linked to North Suburban Adult Volleyball Leagues, Nearly 200 People May Have Been Exposed

Multiple cases of COVID-19 in Chicago's north suburbs have been linked to adult volleyball leagues where nearly 200 people may have been exposed to the coronavirus, health officials said Tuesday.

At least 14 people who played or watched volleyball at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink in Gages Lake in September have tested positive for coronavirus, the Lake County Health Department said in a statement.

Of the confirmed cases, multiple people reported to health officials that they had also played volleyball at other bar and restaurant locations, which health officials said could contribute to further spread of the virus. The health department said nearly 200 volleyball players and spectators may have been exposed.

"“We are currently working diligently to speak with infected individuals and notify close contacts who have been identified," Dr. Sana Ahmed, Lake County Health Department epidemiologist, said in a statement. "This could potentially be a large outbreak, and we need the public’s help to contain the spread of this virus."

Health officials asked anyone who played volleyball at Jesse Oaks in September, or visited the establishment without a mask or social distancing, to quarantine at home for 14 days from their last game or visit, get a COVID-19 test at least five days after the most recent game or sooner if symptoms develope.

They also asked anyone who played at Jesse Oaks to call the Communicable Disease program at (847) 377-8130 if they have not already been contacted by the Lake County Health Department.

Jesse Oaks has suspended all volleyball activities for 14 days, officials said, and will resume once "in compliance with state guidelines after that time."

"Under the current phase of the state’s plan, volleyball is considered a medium risk sport, and no competitive matches between teams are permitted," Lake County Health Department's Director of Environmental Health Larry Mackey said.

“Failing to abide by these guidelines puts the public’s health at risk, prolongs the pandemic, and has the potential to force additional restrictions on local businesses that are working so hard to protect their employees and customers,” Mackey added. “We continue to address any complaints of facilities not following these guidelines and are working closely with business owners to help them operate safely. When businesses don't cooperate, however, we have no choice but to pursue enforcement measures."

Lake County has reported a total of 16,690 confirmed coronavirus cases and 464 deaths since the pandemic began, officials said Tuesday.

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