COVID-19 cases continue to trend the wrong way in southern Illinois

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - COVID-19 cases continue to rise in southern Illinois.

Every county but Hardin, Alexander and Randolph are in the orange warning level, meaning warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.

“Now we’re seeing case counts that have been steadily climbing for the last 4 weeks. And that’s not a trend that we like to see,” said Nathan Ryder, Southern Seven Health Department’s outreach coordinator.

Ryder called this time period really frustrating.

Ryder said the numbers of COVID-19 cases between this time last year and right now have almost quadrupled.

“And when we compare things with were we were this time last year,” explained Ryder. “The first week of august in 2020 we had 61 total COVID-19 positive cases across the southern seven. Fast forward to 2021 last week we had 220 positive cases.”

Bart Hagston with Jackson County Health Department Administrator said Jackson County is experiencing that same issue.

“We had as few as four active cases in Jackson County on June 24. We saw an increase in number of cases throughout July and that’s continuing in August. Right now, we are sitting at about 325 active cases,” Hagston explained.

Hagston said it feels like were heading in the wrong direction. He said the Delta variant is causing cases to trend the wrong way.

“They estimate over 90 percent of the cases in the US now are made up of the delta variant,” said Hagston.

Hagston said they are seeing more younger people contract COVID-19.

“Right now, in cases toward younger individuals, for the first eight days of august, we had 275 cases in Jackson County and 24 percent of those were in people who are teens and under,” Hagston said.

He also mentioned the health department has been involved with the planning for local schools, as well as Southern Illinois University.

Southern Seven is seeing the same trend, according to Ryder. But, if numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction, this is Ryder’s biggest concern.

“Is that if we don’t slow this down, we are going to be looking at situations where our restaurants and bars are going to have to shut down again or certain businesses are going to have to close,” he said.

Ryder said the message to fight the virus still has not changed.

“And that’s what we know works and that’s to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and watch your distance and avoid crowded situations,” said Ryder.

To sign up for a vaccine through the Southern Seven Health Department, that can be found here.

To sign up for a vaccine through the Jackson County Health Department, that can be found here.

Walk in appointments are available at the Jackson County Health Department.

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