Capitol Fax Skeptical of IDPH Numbers, Scott County’s Lack of COVID Cases

By Benjamin Cox on June 6, 2020 at 6:05pm

A media publication is skeptical that the remaining county in Illinois has had no positive cases of COVID-19. Capitol Fax, ran by long-time journalist Rich Miller, told subscribers last week that he believes that the Illinois Department of Public Health needs to review records to get an accurate picture of where the virus has spread and killed people.

Miller says that he has FOIA requested data on a county-by-county basis for March and April 2018 and 2019 , added in known COVID-19 deaths per county in those two months and came up with 1,893.5 excess deaths in Illinois, or 10.5 percent above the number of average expected deaths plus coronavirus deaths. Miller says the data means that more than 1900 more Illinoisans passed away in those two months this year than can be accounted for and nobody knows why.

Miller says the biggest increase was in downstate counties. He says the highest increase of any county was Scott County which saw a 200 percent increase above 2018/2019 average deaths. Miller says the base numbers are small that he’s not sure that they mean anything. He says that the average deaths in March and April in 2018 and 2019 was 3 and in March-April 2020, that total is 9. Miller is unsure if they are coronavirus related or just an anomaly. A spreadsheet of his statewide findings can be found here.

Steve Shireman, Scott County Health Administrator, recently told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that he believes that some residents may have had the virus early on in the pandemic, as many in the county showed symptoms but could not get tested under guidelines or otherwise. Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a question and answer session with the press at the Peoria Civic Center on Friday that it was fantastic the county hadn’t reported a case but he hoped they would take extra precautions to be careful.