Editor’s Note: In 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
St. Clair County now has 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a jump from their Sunday report of 29 cases. The new cases include a teenager. The county has had two COVID-19 related deaths, a woman in her 70s and a woman in her 30s. 52 tests are still pending.
Samantha Bierman, Emergency Response Coordinator for St. Clair County Health Department implored people to stay home, and to continue social distancing. “You can’t deny the numbers. They are rising, and they’re going to continue rising for a little while longer…. Stay home, and even when you’re home, social distance yourself from those in your household, continue good hand hygiene.”
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said that while the county numbers had risen, the state’s reported cases were down from yesterday, and asked Bierman if that was a positive trend. She said the expected peak has not hit yet, and we can hope, but residents continuing to stay home and socially isolate are the only things that can slow the spread.
“By doing all of these things, we will make a difference, and we will get to the peak here in St. Clair County and then begin a decline,” said Kern. He then referenced studies showing cases may increase through May, but the peak is expected to hit Illinois in mid to late April.
Mike McManus, President of Memorial Hospital, said that there were four confirmed cases of COVID-19 between Memorial and Memorial East, and 20 patients that were under investigation awaiting test results. “They’re sick people. It’s concerning. About seven of them are on ventilators, and it’s serious. We’re doing our best to mange this. We test about 30 people daily at each of our locations,” he said.
McManus said that they’re managing the hospitals’s PPE well, and monitoring staff stress, especially on the COVID units. There are specific entrances for staff, and they are checking temperatures of each staff member entering the hospitals.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 461 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois. Eight new deaths are also being reported, including the death of an incarcerated man from Stateville Correctional Center.
Additionally, 12 men who were incarcerated at Stateville are now hospitalized, including several requiring ventilators. There are 77 more incarcerated individuals with symptoms who are isolated at the facility. Eleven staff are also being isolated.
The Illinois Department of Corrections is taking a number of steps to control the spread of COVID-19 in its correctional centers. Staff who work with individuals in isolation and quarantine, as well as in the health center, are wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) and all staff are wearing some PPE. Staff are also having their temperature checked daily as they enter the facility.
Correctional centers with a confirmed case are placed on lockdown, which means there is no movement around the facility except for medical care. Incarcerated individuals who show symptoms are being tested.
Clark, Crawford, Marion, Randolph, and Saline counties are now reporting cases. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 5,057 cases, including 73 deaths, in 52 counties in Illinois.
Director of IDPH Dr. Ngozi Ezike said “The truth is number of cases will continue to increase, and unfortunately, as will the deaths. The cases that I report do not capture all of the people in Illinois with COVID-19.”
She continued “While our response to the coronavirus pandemic has been aggressive and robust, we must all continue to do what science has told us works. Social distancing, washing our hand, staying home. Please continue to stay home as much as possible. We have to all do our part to end this pandemic.”
Governor JB Pritzker has not, as of yet, extended the school closures or statewide Stay at Home order, both of which expire on April 7. He did say that he’s taking the new federal guideline of April 30 into account as he makes decisions.