Though the 14 new cases reported in the last week show a significant decline from the 35 new cases reported in the week before, the continuing rise in its positive case count has put Cass County on the state’s watch list for the fifth straight week.
Over all, the county’s confirmed case count now stands at 311, with 273 listed as recovered and 11 deceased. Two patients are currently hospitalized.
“Our continued presence on the list of counties that are identified as having increased COVID risk should be concerning to all of us,” said Teresa Armstrong, Cass County Health Department administrator. “This status means that Cass County residents should remain careful when choosing to host or attend social gatherings or events that could potentially expose them to COVID-19.”
Armstrong said she was somewhat surprised by this week’s downturn in reported case numbers, given the reopening of area schools, but is hopeful the numbers will continue to decline.
The health department, according to Armstrong, is working closely with area food license holders to provide guidance on the recently imposed mask orders for restaurants and bars. “We want to make sure they have the correct information that will help them stay open for business,” Armstrong said.
She went on to say the health department staff is also working closely with the school districts in the county to help better determine which students should be allowed to stay at school and which ones need to go home.
When mathematically compared to other counties in the state on a per-capita basis, Cass County’s positive test rate ranks it third out of the state’s 102 counties.
Across the 18 counties in Region 3, which includes Sangamon, Morgan, Adams and McDonough Counties (all counties with significantly higher populations than Cass) Cass County’s per capita infection rate of 2,445 per 100,000 people is nearly three times that of Sangamon County (899 per 100,000) four times that of McDonough County (660) twice that of Adams County (1,175) and nearly 1.75 times that of Morgan County (1,429).
Beardstown continues to be the county’s epicenter with 189 confirmed positive cases followed by Virginia with 77, Chandlerville with 20, Arenzville with 11 and Ashland with nine. The numbers are those reported by zip code to the Illinois Department of Public Health and show a minor discrepancy with the county health department’s figures. The differences may be a result of zip codes that cross county lines. For example, a person with an Arenzville or Ashland zip code could actually reside in Morgan County, but because the zip code is registered to Cass County, the count can be skewed.
Currently, about eight percent of those people tested in Cass County are testing positive for COVID-19 as compared to a state-wide positive test rate of about six percent.