Health Department to School District Taking Notice of Sudden Rise in New COVID Cases

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 3, 2021 at 3:18pm

New cases of COVID are sharply on the rise again, and everyone from school districts to the health department is taking notice.

Morgan, Scott, and Greene Counties all reported nearly or more than double the number of new cases of COVID confirmed since just two weeks ago, and this morning the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the trend is statewide, with over 49,550 new cases and 182 new deaths confirmed since last Friday, November 26th.

Morgan County’s positivity rate continues to raise in recent weeks and now sits at 5.01%, while Greene County is Scott County is up to 6.32% and Scott is up to 18.9%.

Jackie Barringer with the Morgan County Health Department says on Thursday the health department received confirmation of 36 new cases of COVID after 87 new cases since November 15th that were reported on Monday.

Barringer says the new cases are across all age groups and can’t be tied or linked to a specific area.

We can start to see some Thanksgiving week things happening right about now. I think that overall I don’t know that we can necessarily put a pinpoint on exactly just what it is, just one thing. Overall I think we are all are just tired of COVID. We’re tired of masks, we are in the holidays which we didn’t get to have last year, and now here we are.”

This morning District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek announced an updated COVID tracker for the school, in which he expressed his concern over the rising numbers.

Just before Thanksgiving, District 117 was down to 18 total students out due to exclusion or isolation with 3 positive cases and only one positive case in the entire district the week before.

Now as of today, there are 141 students who are out due to exclusion or isolation with 19 positive cases. Ptacek says this is the highest number of positive student cases the school district has encountered since the pandemic began.

One of these 19 cases is confirmed to have been due to being in contact at school, which is now the second confirmed transfer at a District 117 school since COVID began.

Ptacek says the increasing numbers are prompting the distinct to reinforce its mask policy at district events. He says if people come to a sporting event, they need to understand they will have to wear a mask the entire time, outside of the usual break for eating and drinking.