COVID per capita case rate continues to rise

  • COVID  per capita case rate continues to rise
    COVID per capita case rate continues to rise

Twenty-six new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Cass County in the past week.
With the local case count already on a steady climb, officials at the Cass County Health Department are preparing to see what could be another post-holiday jump.
Case count increases rose markedly after both the Memorial Day and July 4th weekends. Expectations are the Labor Day holiday weekend will be no different.
The local case count now stands at 337 tests confirmed positive with 293 recovered, 11 deceased and one hospitalized. Beardstown’s positive case count is now 209, while Virginia has 82 confirmed cases.  The positive case count in Chandlerville has climbed to 30, while the positive case count in Ashland is at 13, and Arenzville is at 12.
With mid to late October being considered the unofficial start of the flu season, (only 6 weeks away) a spike in COVID-19 cases now poses a concern  for health department officials.
“It’s a concern for a couple of reasons,” said Teresa Armstrong, Cass County Health Department Director.  “First, we don’t know yet whether someone can develop COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. The second reason is we don’t know if our area hospitals have the bed capacity to accept a large influx of COVID-19 and flu patients at the same time.”  
As for the current spread of COVID-19 across the county, Armstrong said it can’t be attributed to one employer or group of employers.  “The spread is all over the place,” she said. And while there was an expectation cases would rise when school resumed that has not turned out to be the case.  “We’ve only seen a few students and a few staff members from schools, who’ve tested positive,” Armstrong said.  
With regard to the outbreak reported at Heritage Manor in Beardstown, Armstrong said the facility has managed to hold the disease in check so far with only seven total positive cases reported among the residents and staff, and no new positive cases reported since Aug. 25.
The health department is ramping up plans to begin flu shot clinics.  Flu shots will be administered on a drive-up basis and more information will be forthcoming when the health department is fully prepared to begin the clinics.
In the meantime, Armstrong and the health department continue to advise the county’s residents to wear masks when out in public, and especially when social distancing is not possible. She urges people to continue exercising good health practices like frequent hand washing and remembering to cover their coughs and sneezes.  “The time to drive these numbers down is now, not after the flu season hits us, too,” she said.