COVID-19 has put local health officials on high alert. West Central Illinois’s spike in cases since the beginning of October is showing no signs of letting up. Dale Bainter, Administrator of the Morgan County Health Department, says that he’s normally positive that things are turning a corner but now, he’s bracing for the worst after the Thanksgiving holiday: “I’m a positive person and I look for anything positive that I can grab a hold of. Right now, the numbers we’re seeing just continue to trend in the wrong direction. I fear that it puts a lot of successes we’ve had in jeopardy. It’s evident that the mitigation tactics work when they’re followed. We can look at the successes of our school’s validity test statement. Those schools are a congregate setting, and they’ve continued to succeed. I fear that we jeopardize that success if we as a community don’t follow these mitigation practices in general, try to flatten the curve, change the trend we’re on or get off the tracks because it does seem like we continue to trend in that direction.”
Greene County Health Department Director Molly Peters echoed similar sentiments in an email update over the weekend. Peters said about 1 in 4 people had symptoms or had tested positive in recent weeks. She said that hospital staffing for increased hospitalizations related to COVID-19 was also causing a major concern in the county. Peters says that the county is already planning on mass vaccinations and plans are being made for more testing at the end of the week at the Roodhouse Boot Camp on Friday and Saturday.
With public health departments expected to report new numbers over the weekend today, a new single day case record is likely to happen for the state. Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,718 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus along with 57 additional deaths. The seven day statewide positivity rate is currently 10.1%.