More COVID cases in Monroe County; new death reported

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Monroe County saw more people contract the coronavirus in recent days, bringing the overall county total to 126 cases since the pandemic began. 

Forty-four of those cases are active, Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner said.

Wagner said Monday that most of the new positives were from family members of known positives, while one is from a place of business in the county.

He declined to name that business until it did so itself.

He also said his department recently learned that some coronavirus test results may not be as accurate as previously thought.

“Any test site that ask you to swab your own nose has a high probability of being an inaccurate test and may provide a false negative,” he explained. “A proper test must consist of a nasopharyngeal swap  and not nasal swap. It would be very difficult for an individual to do the swab themselves as it must be inserted extremely deep in the nose and not just be a nasal swab. If you have been tested using a self administered nasal swab the Monroe County Health Department suggest getting a properly administered test to rule out any false negative.”  

Wagner said Thursday that one of the newest positive cases is an employee of Walmart in Waterloo. He said the person works in the automotive area of the store and had “very low risk or contact with the public.”

Three new cases were reported Friday, the same day the region advanced to Phase 4 of Restore Illinois. Three more cases were reported Saturday and four more were reported on Monday. Another case was reported Tuesday morning.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported a 13th death for Monroe County on Thursday, but Wagner said that will be reviewed at a later date.

Wagner said the deceased, a woman in her 80s, initially tested positive as part of the outbreak at Garden Place in Columbia, was hospitalized and recovered. She was retested due to interest in returning to Garden Place, Wagner explained, but died a day after this test was performed. Her secondary COVID-19 test came back negative. 

“She did not have coronavirus when she died,” Wagner told the Republic-Times. “Could she have died of complications from when she had it? She possibly could have. Or it may have been something different.”

One of the cases reported recently was an employee of the Waterloo Dairy Queen, which closed for cleaning after that person tested positive for the virus. Dairy Queen was still closed as of Friday.

Two of the newest cases are family members of a known positive case, two live with someone who has tested positive and the others involve someone who had contact with a known positive and someone associated with an outbreak at a St. Louis medical facility.

Seven people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, while 67 individuals have fully recovered. 

According to the IDPH, the Waterloo zip code has had 63 confirmed cases (1,238 tests), the Columbia zip code has had 53 cases (432 tests) and the Valmeyer zip code has had 13 cases (74 tests).

To the north, St. Clair County has 2,086 confirmed cases, including 138 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 17,060 people have been tested there.

To the south, Randolph County has had 288 confirmed cases, nine of which are active. Seven people have died from the virus, 272 have recovered and none are hospitalized with it in that county. That county had no active cases for several days before adding three on Monday and six on Tuesday.

The virus appears to still be slowing across the region, joined the rest of Illinois in moving to Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan on Friday.

In the southern region of the state, there is a positivity rate of 4 percent, a 2 percent increase in positivity rates and a 56 percent drop in hospital admissions for coronavirus-like illnesses in the last 14-28 days.

The region also has a 44 percent medical and surgical bed capacity, 54 percent ICU bed availability and 78 percent ventilator availability.

The IDPH also debuted a county-specific tool on its website to help individuals determine what activities they choose to do. The risk metrics measured are new cases per 100,000, number of deaths, test postivity percentage, number of test performed, emergency department visits for COVID-19-like illnesses, hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illnesses, cluster percentage of cases and percentage of ICU beds available.

For all of the metrics save cluster percentage of cases, the state lists a target number and shows whether a county meets that target or exceeds. Monroe County meets all targets as of Tuesday.

There are 143,185 cases of coronavirus and 6,923 deaths in all of Illinois, according to the IDPH.

The IDPH announced 724 more cases and 23 more deaths on Tuesday. 738 new cases and 14 new deaths on Monday. There ere 646 more cases and 15 more deaths on Sunday. There were 786 more cases and 26 more deaths on Saturday. There were 857 additional cases and 39 additional deaths on Friday. There were 894 more cases and 41 more deaths on Thursday. There were 715 new cases and 64 new deaths on Wednesday.

In Missouri, there were 21,551 confirmed cases and 1,015 deaths as of Tuesday. That includes 6,286 cases in St. Louis County and 2,414 cases in St. Louis City, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

Nationally, more than 2,604,915 people have contracted the virus, while 126,161 people have died.

Worldwide, there are over 10.3 million cases of coronavirus and at least 505,734 COVID-19-related deaths.

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