Morgan County Health Officials “Cautiously Optimistic” as Covid Numbers Continue Decline

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 4, 2022 at 2:22pm

Morgan County health officials are cautiously optimistic that the Covid surge fueled by the Omicron variant is in the process of burning out.

Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter says Morgan County saw an extreme increase in new Covid cases that began right after Thanksgiving and lead to numbers that were as high as they had ever seen in the pandemic or very close to the original surge.

It took a pretty significant toll on our healthcare system and really our community as a whole. But we have started to see those numbers pull back, they are coming down and we are seeing less and less incidents. The school numbers are coming down so it’s all positive signs that we are moving in the right direction right now.”

Dr. Scott Boston, President, and CEO of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital says after being filled to a capacity that required 15 of the 20 emergency room beds to be filled with patients admitted to the hospital, things are starting to somewhat settle.

We are still as what we call peak census which means that all of the beds that we are able to staff are currently occupied at the hospital. Now our emergency room volume has gone down a little bit, so our admission rate has gone down a little bit, so we do feel like we have turned the corner. We are not seeing as many Covid patients present, and we are not seeing the patients present as severely ill.”

Boston says Jacksonville Memorial is also seeing some relief in issues with staffing. He says the number of staff who have been out due to Covid has dropped dramatically over the last week, and JMH also received staffing help from the State of Illinois which helped them get through the worst of the surge.

Bainter says he is optimistic that as a whole, Morgan County will continue to see better numbers in both new cases and less strain on healthcare resources.

I firmly believe that we are in a downward trend. There are a few states left in the nation that isn’t in that trend, very rural states. But what we are seeing as we’ve seen in the pattern over the last two years. To be able to predict as best as possible, I think we are in a downward trend. No one knows for sure what’s coming, but I think the next few months will be considerably better than what we saw in November and December and January.”

According to the Memorial Health website, Jacksonville Memorial currently has seven patients hospitalized with Covid, none of which are in the ICU. Over the course of the last month, JMH has averaged 20 hospitalizations and eight Covid patients in the ICU.