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Joe Coughlin, Publisher
3:36 pm CDT March 16, 2020

Lincolnway Special Recreation Association provided additional information March 18 about a situation involving one of its participants who tested positive for COVID-19 after taking part in three events in early March, in response to questions the organization said it has received since publicly addressing the situation March 16.

LWSRA issued a letter March 18, offering a timeline, message from the parent of the Cook County resident who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and answers to some frequently asked questions about the situation. It can be viewed in full at lwsra.org/assets/LWSRA-COVID-19-updates-3-18-2020.pdf.

The timeline says the participant may have come in contact with someone at Elim Christian Services in Crestwood who tested positive for the coronavirus, though the letter from LWSRA emphasizes this has not been confirmed. That LWSRA participant then attended a Shamrock Shuffle event March 6 at the Orland Park Civic Center, spending 20 minutes around 6 p.m. at the LWSRA facility.

Nabeha Zegar, Orland Park's communications manager said the Village is aware of the participant's attendance as the Shamrock Shuffle and has notified participants who were in attendance at the event.

Then, on March 8 the participants attended a Chicago Wolves game, as part of an LWSRA program, during which the group sat in Section 116; Rows P, Q and R; Seats 1-7. And on March 9, the individual was part of an LWSRA program at Thunderbowl in Mokena.

LWSRA said the bowling alley also was notified.

According to the participant’s family, the individual did not show symptoms of COVID-19 until March 12, and LWSRA said it was not aware at that time. The person tested positive for the coronavirus at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, as previously reported.

On March 13, the association said it canceled programs, and cleaned buses and vehicles, unaware that an individual was infected but to address growing coronavirus concerns.

LWSRA received notice of the positive coronavirus test on March 16. It closed the Lincolnway Special Recreation Center that day, according to the letter, and staff started to notify people.

“We have notified families, other participants, staff members ­— everybody we know of who worked with this individual,” LWSRA Executive Director Keith Wallace said March 16. “We are following all of the protocols in place right now by the CDC and even going above and beyond that.”

He noted he contacted State and county health departments, as well.

LWSRA confirmed in the letter that the participant was on buses, which were sanitized after the March 6 and March 8 events. Daily sanitizing started March 13 in an effort to be “proactive,” according to LWSRA.

The organization said no one on its staff has been experiencing symptoms. The letter also notes the participant did not take part in a March 9 lunch, but was on the bus the day prior to that program going out. It also notes LWSRA moved a polling place and canceled a board meeting “in the best interest of the community.”

The parent told LWSRA the participant has had a “mild case” up until this point, showing a fever March 12 and a cough that is “nearly gone” as of March 18.

The Q&A adds that LWSRA will not provide participant information, but anyone who thinks their children have directly contacted the individual should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. The letter also suggests notifying one’s primary care physician if symptoms develop.

LWSRA’s building buses are to be cleaned and sanitized the week of March 27.

The LWSRA is a nonprofit organization that serves those with mental and physical disabilities through athletic, social and educational programming. LWSRA programming is suspended through April 5, and its offices until March 30, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Managing Editor Bill Jones contributed to this report