COVID testing continues to ramp up in West Central Illinois as positive cases continue to climb statewide.
Director of the Morgan County Office of Emergency Management Phil McCarty says the Illinois Department of Public Health will hold another drive through testing site at the Morgan County Fairgrounds on Thursday of this week.
McCarty says the overall increases in testing aids health officials in tracking the virus. He says finding more cases of the virus is actually a good thing.
“No doubt we find it more. A lot of people argue ‘well you’re testing more so you’re gonna find more’ but if you don’t look for something you’ll never find it. We don’t want to just find it when we have thirty people lined up at the E.R.
We need to know where it’s at and track it, continuously try to quarantine folks and try to keep that distance. Even if they have mild or minimal symptoms, if they test positive, the next person they come in contact with, it may be critical for them.”
On Thursday Governor J.B. Pritzker said the rate of hospitalizations statewide is trending toward being unsustainable, noting that COVID related hospitalizations in Illinois have risen over 120% since the beginning of October.
Friday morning several regional media outlets reported that hospitals in Northeast Missouri are now also starting to face staffing and space concerns due to rapidly increasing cases.
On Wednesday, October 28th, President and CEO of Passavant Area Hospital Dr. Scott Boston told WLDS News that the surge of COVID cases the hospital prepared for in March is happening now.
McCarty says finding, contact tracing and tracking cases of coronavirus is vital for keeping hospitals from becoming completely overwhelmed.
“In March and April we reacted maybe even a little early. We saw desperately low numbers, no elective procedures, no elective diagnostic treatments, a lot of those things and now we’ve kind of went the other way and the health facilities are filling up in Central Illinois and yeah, I mean, it’s a challenge and we’ve got to protect our healthcare system. We are rural and we have got to have it here.”
McCarty says overall, Morgan County has been very lucky compared to other counties when it comes to testing access.
“We are very fortunate. Of the counties our size we are one of the very very few in the state that is operating our own testing site. There’s many testing sites all across the state but a lot of them are operated by federally qualified healthcare centers and a number of different locations. We are really an oddity in the state where the health department is actually operating one here locally.”
IDPH will be hosting three drive through mobile testing sites this week in the area.
According to the IDPH announcement, simple nasal swabs will be used at the sites. There is no cost for testing, however attendees are asked to bring your insurance card, but you can still be tested if you don’t have insurance.
Testing sites will at the following times and locations:
Tuesday at the Greene County Work Camp on US 67 near Roodhouse from 8am to 4 pm.
Thursday at the Morgan County Fairgrounds in Jacksonville from 9am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday, November 14th and 15th at Carrolton High School from 9am to 5pm both days.
Friday November 13th at the First United Methodist Church in Rushville from 8AM to 4PM.
Anyone can get tested and you don’t have to have symptoms or be sick. You will be called with results within 4-7 days. There is no cost to the individual for testing, but they should bring an insurance if they have one. However, insurance is not required. Specimens will be collected using a nasal swab. Drive-through and walk-up testing are available at most locations. Site locations are subject to change. Please check the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website for the most current mobile testing site location and information.