Multiple Willow Hill United Methodist Church members self-quarantining after contact with COVID-19 patient


GERMANTOWN HILLS, Ill. (WMBD) — The first person in central Illinois to test positive for COVID-19 is a man in his 70s who lives in Woodford County.

UnityPoint Health officials say the test came back on Friday.

The man attends Willow Hill United Methodist Church in Germantown Hills.

Early Saturday morning, Willow Hills pastor Bradley Watkins found out one of his church members tested positive for COVID-19.

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind of trying to keep people safe and also to be concerned and responsive to the person involved and their family,” Watkins said.

With around 200 churchgoers every Sunday and 200-300 people coming to programs seven days a week, Watkins says he’s had to temporarily shut his doors completely.

“We arranged, I should say, to have the church professionally disinfected, the whole area. That’ll start probably sometime tonight,” Watkins adds once the cleaning is done, no one can enter the building for at least 24 hours.

Woodford County Health Department Administrator Hillary Aggert says Watkins isn’t the only one who has come into contact with the patient.

“We are investigating and notifying any individuals who may have had exposure to the individual that tested positive,” Aggert said.

Many of those individuals are part of Watkins’ congregation.

“I know of at least 8-10 people who are going to do that. There’s probably going to be a lot more, I just don’t know that,” Watkins said.

Watkins does say he’s feeling great and is keeping in close contact with the patient via call, text, and email.

He and his wife are doing one of the main tips the CDC gives which is to self-isolate.

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