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NWI councilman tests positive for COVID-19
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NWI councilman tests positive for COVID-19

SCHERERVILLE — About three weeks ago, Schererville Councilman Rob Guetzloff began experiencing back pain, headaches and chills. 

Though these were mild symptoms, Guetzloff decided it was in his best interest to get tested for the coronavirus. 

"Thank God I just had mild symptoms," he said on Friday. "If it wasn't just for me looking it up and looking at some of the mild symptoms, I probably would have never have gone and got checked." 

Guetzloff said he got tested at Midwest Express Clinic in Schererville the last week of April. On April 30, the test came back positive. 

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An employee with Midwest Express confirmed Friday the clinic is testing for coronavirus and began doing so in March. 

"It came up positive, which shocked me because I mean we, my whole family and I have been very cautious," he said, adding they frequently wash their hands, wear masks, disinfect grocery bags and wipe things down. 

"It was very alarming and surprising to me that they told me I tested positive," Guetzloff added. 

The fourth installment in the "Riding Shotgun with NWI Cops" series features Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez. See as Martinez performs highway patrols and oversees a raid on a suspected drug house.

Guetzloff said he often gets headaches and experiences back pain after he eats chocolate — he's allergic, but indulges once in a while and has eaten chocolate recently, since its the Easter season. 

It was the chills, which he said he never experiences, that pushed him to get tested. 

He has been in isolation since with his wife and son, who also have been tested for coronavirus. They were awaiting results, but were assuming they have the virus and were isolating as well. 

No one in his family, including Guetzloff, has had fevers or experienced shortness of breath, he added. 

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The councilman is unsure of how he contracted the virus. 

"In my mind, I feel everybody probably should get tested," Guetzloff said. "Only you know your body, so if you are all the sudden getting symptoms that you haven't gotten before, it's probably a good idea to go and get tested."

He later added: "The scary point of this whole virus is there are asymptomatic people out there that don't even know that they have it and are out there spreading it because they don't know they have the virus. That is like having the Invisible Man live with you."

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Guetzloff, who is the Ward 3 councilman in Schererville, also serves as a sanitarian with the Lake County Health Department. 

Schererville council members have been meeting in person — maintaining 6 feet between one another. Their most recent meeting was April 8, where Guetzloff was present. 

Guetzloff said he notified Town Manager Bob Volkmann of his diagnosis. It was not immediately clear whether other council members tested positive for the virus, however, Guetzloff said the April 8 meeting was "way before" he was infected. 

"I was not infected at that time," he said. 

Volkmann was not immediately available for comment. 

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Though Guetzloff has been working from home for the Lake County Health Department for about a "good month," he went into the office on April 21 or April 22. Guetzloff said he was the only person in the office. 

A nurse with the Lake County Health Department said she cannot release whether other health department employees have tested positive and referred further questions to Lake County Health Officer Dr. Chandana Vavilala. 

Vavilala later told The Times three employees within the Lake County Health Department tested positive for COVID-19 between April and May. 

Vavilala said two of the three employees work in the same department. 

"I may not necessarily be able to (corroborate) exact details of what started when, but one thing which we can promise is we do the contact tracing for employees just like we would do (anyone) else," Vavilala said. 

Anyone who tests positive for the virus — and those who were in contact with them — is told to stay home for at least 14 days, Vavilala said. 

"I can promise you we are doing everything possible to give the same standard of care that we give the community to our employees, too," she said. 

Vavilala added the offices are cleaned by an external company before anyone is allowed to return to the office. COVID-19 testing also is offered to employees free of charge. 

The fourth installment in the "Riding Shotgun with NWI Cops" series features Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez. See as Martinez performs highway patrols and oversees a raid on a suspected drug house.

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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