PEORIA — The flood of COVID-19 cases has yet to hit central Illinois, but when it does, all systems are go, said Peoria County Board Chairman Andrew Rand while opening the daily coronavirus press briefing at the Peoria City/County Health Department on Tuesday afternoon.

Moments later, PCCHD administrator Monica Hendrickson said no new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the past 24 hours in the Tri-County Area. Total cases for Peoria, Woodford and Tazewell counties stand at eight. All patients are recovering at home, and one will soon be released from treatment.

Social distancing and quarantines may be working, but the area has seen an increase in domestic violence cases since the effort began. Carol Merna, executive director for The Center for Prevention of Abuse, reminded people of the services the agency offers for people who need shelter from abuse.

While many businesses have closed so people may safely shelter in their homes during the pandemic, victims of domestic violence are not safe at home.

“In circumstances such as the one where we find ourselves in right now, victims may be quarantined with their abuser,” said Merna. “During times of crisis, including epidemics, we know the risk of gender-based violence increases, and so does the need for social services and specialized care.”

Though the Pekin shelter was closed in reaction to the pandemic, the Peoria shelter is still open and only about 50% full. Staff and clients are screened regularly for COVID-19, and many counseling services have been moved online to meet the need for social distancing, said Merna.

Though call volume at the center has remained steady over the last couple of weeks, it is expected to rise as the crisis continues. CFPA’s crisis hotline, (800) 559-SAFE, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We truly don’t like to see anyone having to choose between their safety and their health,” said Merna.

Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.