With the county’s per capita case rate, and its percentage of positive test results both continuing to climb, the Illinois Department of Public Health has identified Cass County as one of 13 counties outside the Chicago region where there is an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Twenty more Cass County residents have tested positive for the virus, bringing the county-wide total to 241 as of Wednesday morning.
Cass is currently the only county in Illinois Region 3 carrying an increased COVID risk warning. Region 3 includes Sangamon, Morgan, Adams and McDonough, all counties with significantly larger populations.
With a population of about 12,260 people, Cass County’s 241 confirmed case count is higher than the case counts of Schuyler, Brown, Pike, Scott, Mason, Menard and Fulton Counties combined (219).
Beardstown continues to be the county’s epicenter, reporting 142 cases to date, while Virginia’s case count currently stands at 70 and Chandlerville is reporting 17.
While the county is currently reporting 241 confirmed cases, 188 cases are now listed as recovered and 11 are deceased with the 41 remaining active cases in isolation, and 124 contacts quarantined.
Currently, 15 percent of the people tested in Cass County are testing positive for COVID-19. The state’s target for positive tests is under 8 percent, putting Cass County’s rate nearly twice the target percentage. Meanwhile, state-wide, the average is only about 4 percent, according to Teresa Armstrong, Cass County Health Department Administrator.
As has been previously reported, the increasing numbers are not linked to a single employer or community.
“The virus is very widespread across the county and people in our area have to start taking this more seriously,” Armstrong said. “We need more people to start wearing masks when they go out in public if we want to our schools to be able to open and restaurants and bars to be able to serve customers inside.”
Armstrong said she has reached out to the Beardstown Chamber of Commerce to ask its members to encourage the use of masks and social distancing in their respective businesses.
Armstrong said numbers are rising throughout our region and across the state and said if the trend doesn’t slow down, schools and businesses could be shut down again.
“Right now, our positive test rate is higher than it was when we had the nursing home outbreak in June,” Armstrong said.
The Health Department, in a statement released Monday, issued a strong call for public cooperation and action.
“The continued rise in new cases puts ourselves, our families, and our neighbors at risk. It also endangers the livelihood of our small businesses, and could impact the reopening of our schools. Let’s all work together, and work to slow the spread of this virus. Wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay home if you, or someone in your household, is sick,” the statement said.
Update 8-11-20: The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed one new cases of COVID-19 in Cass County Wednesday. The positive case is a female in her 40s who has been instructed to isolate at home. The county's overall count is now at 242. One person remains hospitalized.