Kern says St. Clair County will follow Governor’s executive orders

County, state cases of COVID-19 continue to rise as testing expands

During the Sunday broadcast, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said the county will “keep the foot on the gas” in regards to continuing to follow restrictions. (Screenshot courtesy of St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency Facebook broadcast)

Editor’s NoteIn an effort to keep the public informed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have removed the paywall from this article. All listed data is pulled directly from IDPH and St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. There may be discrepancies between the reported statistics. 
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By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor

During the Sunday update from the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency, officials answered questions about long term care facility outbreaks and whether or not the county could possibly open sooner than the current state mandate that was recently extended through May 30.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern was asked whether or not he would consider opening up the county before the state mandate.

“We have seen the executive order work for us. We’ve kept these numbers from spiking to where we know they would have had we not been staying home, so we think abiding by the executive order is the important thing. Seeing our numbers every day as the public does, deaths went up significantly, hospitalizations went up again, so at this time, we’re no taking our foot off the gas, were going to continue to enforce the executive order, and we’re all going to get back to a point where we can get back to normal as soon as possible. None of us enjoy sheltering in place or having to continually talk about this, but the only way to get back where we want to be is to get this virus eradicated, to get a cure, and to keep these levels low,” he said.

Herb Simmons, the executive director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency, agreed with Kern and said that the two had recently met with top doctors from the St. Louis and St. Clair areas that are not recommending relaxing the stay at home orders.

St. Clair County has run 2,303 tests and is reporting 550 positives, an increase of 32 from yesterday, which includes males and females from teens to 90s. 28 tests are still pending, and 1,724 tests have been negative.

St. Clair County Health Department Emergency Response Coordinator Samantha Bierman said that initially, there were some cases resulting from international travel, however the majority of the county’s cases have been from community spread, meaning those infected did not travel outside of the immediate area and contracted the virus from community interaction.

There were an additional six deaths, for a county total of 47, all with underlying health conditions.

“Each of them is not a number, they’re a person, and each of them has an impact on their family and friends,” said Simmons, who added that these deaths are hard for the family and for the healthcare professionals that care for them.

Statewide, there are now 61,499 cases, with 2,994 cases being reported in the last 24 hours. The Illinois Department of Public Health s also reporting 59 additional deaths, though Governor JB Pritzker said 63 in his daily presser. The state total is currently at 2,619 deaths. Nearly 320,000 tests have been run.

St. Clair County now has 54 patients admitted for COVID reasons, and five of those patients are on ventilators.

Kern repeatedly stated the need for residents to wear masks to protect themselves and others, and urged them to take it seriously, as did Simmons.

“As things start to loosen up, we have to be vigilant. Until there is a cure, until there is a vaccination, loosening up is going to increase the cases. The only way to solve this problem is to keep the levels low until we have a vaccination, and then we can go back to our normal lives,” said Kern.

Long term care facilities in outbreak status:

In addition to reporting the daily numbers, Bierman said that IDPH has said that they are sending a task force to Southern Illinois to help test those in congregate settings. There are 47 long term care facilities in St. Clair County, seven of which are in outbreak status right now. The task force will first head to homes with no known outbreaks to test all residents and staff. The thinking behind going to the long term care facilities with no known cases is to see if anyone is asymptomatic. “Our goal is to put out that fire before it even starts,” she said.

BRIA of Belleville is reporting 12 cases and two deaths

BRIA of Cahokia is reporting five cases

Colonnade of O’Fallon is reporting three cases and zero deaths

Four Fountains in Belleville is reporting 54 cases and 11 deaths

Memorial Care Center in Belleville is reporting 43 cases and five deaths

St. Paul’s Home in Belleville is reporting five cases and zero deaths

Lebanon Care Center in Lebanon is reporting 30 cases and four deaths

When asked about the discrepancy between the numbers reported at long term care facilities and those reported in a zip code, a representative of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency said that the numbers of confirmed cases reported at long term care facilities also include staff members in addition to residents, and those staff members are reported as confirmed cases in the zip code or counties in which they live.

St. Clair County zip codes with confirmed cases:

62201-13

62203- 20

62204-26

62205-20

62206-51

62207-26

62208-36

62220-53

62221-43

62223-35

62226-74

62232-6

62239-8

62254-17

62257-7

62258-14

62269-48

62285-6

COVID-19 cases across Illinois according to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s May 3 update. (Photo courtesy of IDPH at dph.illinois.gov)