Southern seven counties in IL raised to orange warning level for COVID-19 risk, Head Start closed
ICU bed shortage is critical.
ULLIN, Ill. (KBSI) – All seven counties of the Southern Seven Health Department (S7HD) in southern Illinois are at an Orange Warning Level. That means ICU bed shortage is critical.
Also, Southern Seven Head Start temporarily closed its Metropolis Head Start Early Learning Center following one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the building. Classes are expected to resume on October 4 pending further investigation.
According to Head Start officials, the case was reported on September 24. Families have been notified. More information will be shared with families as it becomes available. The decision for temporary closure of the center occurred after consultation with Southern Seven Health Department (S7HD) during its investigation of the case. According to Head Start officials, the closure is a precautionary measure to provide time for cleaning and disinfecting of the building.
Southern Seven Health Department has already begun contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Contact tracing helps identify those who may be at risk after someone tests positive. This is done to let people know what symptoms to watch for, reduces their exposures to others and slows the spread of COVID-19. Should you be identified by S7HD as a possible contact, your cooperation is appreciated. Anyone with questions regarding possible exposure can call S7HD at 618-634-2297.
COVID-19 continues being spread by community transmission at alarming rates within the Southern 7 region. This virus can be spread up to 48 hours before a person has symptoms. Anyone who is unvaccinated and has been at gatherings where little to no safety measures were in place is at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you begin to show symptoms, isolate immediately and contact your healthcare provider about getting tested for COVID-19. For more information, call 618-634-2297 or visit southern7.org/coronavirus.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced on September 24 that all S7HD counties will remain at an Orange Warning Level status on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) risk metrics. Hardin County moved to a stable status last week and was taken out of the Orange Warning level but has since returned this week. The amount of New Cases Per 100,000 people, Test Positivity Percentage metrics, and falling ICU bed availability at area hospitals are causing the elevated risk levels. According to Illinois Department of Public Health, an orange designation indicates warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the community. Residents are asked to remain vigilant to slow spread of the virus.
A warning for New Case Rate indicates the rate is greater than 50 cases per 100,000 people. A warning for Test Positivity indicates that the percentage was above 8% from the previous seven day period. A warning for ICU Availability shows the number of ICU beds has dropped below a 20% availability threshold.
New Cases per 100,000 People Rate is a unit of measure calculated as a rate to compare the number of cases in large and small counties. The rate is calculated by dividing the county case count for 7 days by county population x 100,000. This describes the potential number of people who are currently ill and may be infectious in the county.
- Alexander County had 380 potential new cases (based on 23 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 6.8% out of 103 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
- Hardin County had 281 potential new cases (based on 11 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 7.0% out of 157 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
- Johnson County had 409 potential new cases (based on 51 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 4.6% out of 1141 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
- Massac County had 561 potential new cases (based on 79 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 13.5% out of 510 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
- Pope County had 522 potential new cases (based on 22 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 10.9% out of 138 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
- Pulaski County had 238 potential new cases (based on 13 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 5.9% out of 187 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
- Union County had 243 potential new cases (based on 41 positive cases) per 100,000 reported. The test positivity percentage for the county was 4.7% out of 844 tests. ICU availability was 0.6%.
A county is considered at the orange ‘Warning’ level when at least two of the main eight indicators are going in the wrong direction.
To view the IDPH county-level risk map, visit the County Level Covid-19 Risk Metrics website.
“This week’s report shows that 5 out of our 7 counties have test positivity percentages that are declining for the first time in several weeks,” said Nathan Ryder, COVID-19 Community Outreach Coordinator for S7HD in a statement released on S7HD’s Facebook page. “That means there are more COVID tests coming back negative than positive right now and that’s a good thing. However, we’re still struggling with the number of new cases we’re seeing in conjunction with the fact that we have less than 1% of ICU beds in the S7 region available. That equates to about two available ICU beds for our population of 60,000+ residents.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced last month that Southern Illinois’ Region 5, where all seven of the Southern 7 counties are located, moved to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois COVID-19 mitigation plan. This move fully reopened businesses across the state without restrictions.
S7HD continues to work with businesses and many other facets of the community to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. For the latest information on COVID-19 cases in the region or to find out how to get vaccinated against COVID-19, visit Southern7.org or call the Southern 7 office at (618) 634-2297.
For the time period of Sept. 17 through Sept. 23, S7HD reports a total of 39 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 out of 244 total, new COVID-19 cases across the S7 region. That means 84% of new COVID infections this past week were in unvaccinated individuals. A total of 0.2% of fully vaccinated individuals have a breakthrough case.
Per the Illinois Department of Public Health, a Breakthrough Case is defined as an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 at least 14 days after being fully vaccinated and did not test positive in the previous 45 days. Most people with a breakthrough case are experiencing or have experienced very mild COVID-19 symptoms. Fewer still have faced the need for hospitalization. A small number of breakthrough cases are observed amongst all age groups, genders, and vaccine makers.
COVID-19 vaccines will not prevent you from contracting the virus but will go a long way to lessening the severity of your illness, greatly reducing the possibility you’ll need hospitalization, and further reduce the possibility or death as a result of COVID-19, according to S7HD. These vaccines have been in use since mid-December and are still proving highly effective in slowing or stopping the spread of COVID amongst vaccinated individuals.