Dale Bainter, Administrator of the Morgan County Health Department, urges cooperation as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. Numbers have begun rising in almost all areas including positivity rates, number of cases, and hospitalization rates. As of 4pm Thursday, there were 1,543 confirmed cases in Morgan County with 339 of them being active and a positivity rate of 17.8. That is an increase of almost 200 cases since last Monday. These numbers are consistent with the rising increases in cases throughout Illinois.
Bainter says that Morgan County has taken steps to increase testing to try and get in front of these rising numbers: “We are still continuing to test here at the Health Department on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We put in a state operated testing center yesterday. That will be here again [this] Thursday trying to get ahead of these numbers any way we can. Yesterday, we ran about 300 people through. Our local tasting site run by the Health Department is running at capacity everyday. It is only open for four hours. We are running about 150 local residents through there three days a week, so it is definitely a large workload.”
Bainter believes that cooperation, not force is the key to successfully lowering COVID-19 numbers: “It’s kind of what I have been referring to as three C’s: community, cooperation, and compliance. From the time we are young children, we don’t like to be told what to do. I know [for] myself and most adults I associate with that only grows as we age. The last thing you like is to be told what to do. I don’t know that a shutdown is inevitable. I think we just need more cooperation. We need to come together as a team as a community, and do what is right.”
The rise in COVID-19 numbers has affected the community both economically, educationally, and physically. Even with all of the rising numbers, Bainter praises Jacksonville School District 117 and all the area schools for their great strides in keeping education going during the pandemic.