Mundelein mayor: I have COVID-19 virus

  • Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz, seen here in 2019, has tested positive for COVID-19.

    Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz, seen here in 2019, has tested positive for COVID-19. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 3/23/2020 7:34 PM

Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz on Monday announced he has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus -- making him the first municipal leader in the Northwest suburbs to publicly reveal that diagnosis.

Lentz told the Daily Herald his wife, Michelle, also tested positive for the disease.


Lentz's mood was positive and he was optimistic about recovery.

"So far so good," Lentz said. "It's mild symptoms."

Lentz made a more formal statement about his diagnosis during Monday night's village board meeting. He, the trustees and other officials attended remotely via computer, rather than at village hall. Gov. J.B. Pritzker legalized such official gatherings last week by ordering some requirements of the state's Open Meetings Act temporarily lifted because of the COVID-19 virus epidemic.

"Normally, I would never tell our constituents that I have a runny nose, a cold, the flu, or even a broken limb," Lentz said, reading from a prepared statement. "But given the awful events surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus, as an elected official I feel obligated to disclose that over the weekend I tested positive for this virus."

Lentz told the Daily Herald he went to a COVID-19 testing center Friday after experiencing a scratchy throat. He said he was told Saturday of the positive test result.

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Lentz and his wife have isolated themselves in their Mundelein home.

In his remarks during the meeting, Lentz stressed the importance of social distancing during this crisis, even if you feel OK.

"My first symptom, a scratchy throat, was so mild I would never have thought I had (the virus)," he said. "Without the call to social distancing, I think it highly likely that I would have gone about my routine as usual and spread the disease unknowingly."

Lentz also asked for people to pray about the crisis five times a day -- at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Blase Cupich proposed such activity for the Chicago area Friday.

"It doesn't have to be dramatic," Lentz said. "You could just close your eyes for a few moments and say a prayer in your heart."

As of Monday afternoon, 1,285 COVID-19 cases have been discovered in Illinois, and the death toll has reached 12. The Lentzes are among 96 Lake County residents who tested positive for the disease as of Monday afternoon.

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