COVID-19 virus finds Cass County


  After reporting no positive cases for more than a month, the Cass County Health Department issued a statement on Friday, April 17, confirming the COVID-19 virus had made its way to Cass County.
  The first case to have a link to Cass County involved  an out-of-county resident who worked locally.
  By Tuesday morning, the numbers had changed significantly. According to Teresa Armstrong, Director of the Cass County Health Department, six Cass residents have tested positive for the virus.  
  The Star-Gazette has independently learned those six, along with three other people with positive test results who reside outside the county, are all JBS employees.
  “It has taken a while for the virus to spread into the rural areas, and even though we were among the last 10 counties in the state to report a positive test, we believe it’s likely been here for a while. We just haven’t done enough testing to find it until now,” Armstrong said.
  The health department is now coordinating its efforts with the Morgan and Sangamon County Health Departments in order to conduct the necessary contact tracing and limit the virus spread.
  Even though the health department has a limited staff, some in-house reassignments have taken place to help with contact tracing.
  “We’re fortunate we have people on staff with the language skills that let us deal with many of the language barriers that exist,” Armstrong said.
  The local health department has received 200 test kits from the Illinois Department of Public Health and will be conducting “drive-up” testing at both the Beardstown and Virginia locations.  Testing is being done by appointment only.  
  Those wanting to be checked must be symptomatic in order to receive the tests according to protocols established by the Illinois Department of Public Health.