COVID-19 testing on a larger scale may soon return to Morgan County.
The Morgan County Health Department is working on options to provide more COVID-19 testing as case counts continue to slowly rise across the state.
Dale Bainter, Administrator of the health department says testing will return ahead of schools reopening for in-person learning.
“We’ve been working with Passavant Area Hospital, we are trying to get a temporary system set up out there to do some testing in the very near future. What I’m working on right now today, is a long term testing facility and resource for here in Jacksonville and the rest of Morgan County, so it is coming back in the very near future.
We want to have that available as school goes back in session and as we bring our college students back. And as we see the next wave of this as it’s being called, we want to make sure that resource is here and we can identify the virus in our community and isolate quarantine the sick so that hopefully the rest of us can continue on with life in some form of normalcy.”
Bainter says funding for the test site has been the major obstacle for the county. He says sources of funding have come through via the Illinois Department of Public health and also via Federal pass through monies that are opening up today.
Bainter says the health department remains busy with contact tracing as positive cases continue to be confirmed following the move to phase 4 and neighboring states fully reopening.
“We get a positive case or two, and with the reopening of the state and even people taking liberties and traveling to other states, some large events that are taking place, people going to the Ozarks.
Not to single one out or any spot out, there are many places like that around. But what we are seeing in our office is, one little occurrence like that with a positive, can turn into 30 or 40 people we have to reach out to and contact trace and possibly isolate and quarantine.”
Bainter says anyone who has traveled and/or have been in contact with large groups, especially outside of Illinois, should get tested as soon as possible in case they are asymptomatic and possibly spreading the virus without knowing it.
He says everyone should continue practicing mitigation to avoid spreading the virus, and wearing a mask while in public is crucial to avoid passing the virus to someone else if you are asymptomatic.
“We have so many asymptomatic individuals that are spreading and they might not have severe illness so you know, you might not know you are positive today and you’re walking around spreading. So you think about all of those immuno-compromised individuals out there, they might be in poor health or elderly or underlying health conditions, you know it really impacts those individuals more significantly.
It can impact those healthy individuals but by wearing that mask we are helping to protect everybody all the time. And it’s such a small inconvenience, don’t get me wrong I don’t like wearing them, it’s not something I would choose to do, but it’s something I do out of respect for those around me.”
Bainter says there are options for testing currently if you or someone you know needs to be tested. He says contact your primary healthcare provider for more information on access locally.
The Illinois Department of Public Heath continues to maintain the free mobile testing site in Springfield, located at the Sangamon County Departement of Public Health at 2833 South Grand Avenue East, just west of the J.C. Penny’s.
Testing is performed daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm while supplies last.