The Carbondale area saw its first two known coronavirus patients Wednesday, the same day that the number of known cases across the state nearly doubled.
The first came according to an internal text alert sent Wednesday to employees of Southern Illinois Healthcare.
"We have confirmed our first positive COVID-19 test result for a patient in Williamson County," the alert read.
The second was reported Wednesday evening by the Jackson County Health Department.
"The individual, a female in her 50s, is doing well and is at home on isolation," the health department said in a news release. "This individual is thought to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus through recent travel to another state. This individual is not allowed to leave home until they are well and can no longer transmit the disease."
SIH said its identification of the virus came as a result of screening and testing at a newly established drive-through testing clinic. The patient is not hospitalized at an SIH facility. There was no information released on the patient's gender, age or condition.
Jackson County public health officials say they have begun an investigation of the female patient there, speaking with individuals she may have come into contact with before the diagnosis. Officials warned other individuals may be placed on home quarantine if they are determined to have had significant exposure.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois has risen dramatically over the past week. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 128 new individuals with COVID-19 identified in Illinois Wednesday, bringing the confirmed total in the state to 288 individuals.
On Saturday, SIH announced it had set up a 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 844-988-7800 to provide telephone screening, information and to answer general questions. Meanwhile, the drive-through testing locations are not open to the public, but only for patients with a referral they get through the hotline. An electronic doctor's order is required.
At the drive-through clinics, SIH staff in protective gear will perform nasal swabs for COVID-19, flu and other respiratory illnesses through a car window. Patients do not get out of their cars.