* Kelli Smith at the Tribune…
The Illinois State Board of Elections closed its Springfield office Tuesday for about two weeks after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, according to an agency spokesperson.
The board was notified Sunday that a staff member was showing coronavirus symptoms and had been tested after coming into contact with someone infected with it, the Illinois Times first reported. Test results came back positive Tuesday, which is when the office decided to close until at least Aug. 10, according to Matt Dietrich, a state board spokesman.
Several other staff members began showing symptoms on Monday and Tuesday and have been tested, Dietrich said in an email.
“Pending those results, we are initiating procedures to have the office disinfected and thoroughly cleaned prior to staff returning to the office,” he said.
Maybe they should spend more time worrying about the HVAC system. This virus appears to mainly spread through the air, after all…
Building specialists are poring over how well heavy-duty filters block microbes and considering whether to install systems that use ultraviolet light or electrically charged particles in the ductwork to kill the virus. Companies including Honeywell International Inc., Carrier Global Corp. and Trane Technologies Plc are benefiting from the surge in demand, offering everything from air-monitoring sensors to portable filter machines to help make up for deficiencies in ventilation.
* Bruce Rushton at the Illinois Times…
The board became aware of an issue on Sunday, Dietrich said, when an employee who had been in contact with an infected person began exhibiting symptoms. Employees were told of the issue, Dietrich said, and just two people were in the building on Monday, the deadline for filing objections to third-party candidates and ballot issues. Twenty-five objections were filed on Monday, Dietrich said, with objectors required to wear masks in the building while social distancing was maintained.
With outside observers present, the agency is due to review objections on Aug. 6, one day before the building is scheduled to reopen, Dietrich said. “We’ll have to make some provisions to do that,” he said. If the review takes place on Aug. 7, the November election will not be affected, he added. “If we have to wait an extra day, it’s not a crisis,” Dietrich said.
A phased reopening of the agency began last month, when 25 percent of the staff returned to the building. Last week, 75 percent of the staff was back, Dietrich said, and the agency had been scheduled to return to full staffing next week.