Two new COVID-related deaths in Monroe County

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The coronavirus continues to rage throughout Monroe County and many parts of the country. 

There have been 2,136 total coronavirus cases in Monroe County since the pandemic began, with more than 300 of them currently active. There are 16 local residents hospitalized with the virus as of Monday. 

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner reported 25 cases Tuesday, 12 cases Monday, 28 cases Sunday, 30 cases both Friday and Saturday, 42 cases Thursday, 34 cases Wednesday and 56 cases last Tuesday.

“It should be noted that the labs were closed on Thursday and some remain closed this weekend, so numbers will not be a true indication of spread until things return to normal on Monday,” Wagner stressed on Friday.

Wagner also reported two more deaths on Monday. One of the deceased individuals was a 93-year-old male from Reflections at Garden Place in Columbia, while the other was an 81-year-old female who was not associated with a long-term care facility.

That brings the county’s death toll to 46 by the Illinois Department of Public Health’s count, with eight of those deaths being among the general public.

Reflections at Garden Place, located at 710 S. Main Street in Columbia, is a memory care facility. While affiliated with Garden Place Senior Living at 480 DD Road, it is a separate site than the facility that endured an earlier COVID outbreak that resulted in 38 cases among residents and staff and 11 total deaths.

There have been 479 new cases in Monroe County since Nov. 17.

“We are seeing widespread community spread in Monroe County, much like what is going on in the rest of the state and Midwest,” Wagner said.

The county recorded its second-highest ever daily number of cases last Monday as Wagner announced 73 new cases. 

He said that was likely a result of positive test results coming in bulk, most likely from the state lab, but he was not sure. 

“There’s something where they’re batching them through at certain times,” Wagner said of the results. “A lot of this, from what we can tell, does not even include all of our tests from our testing site last week. We’re still waiting on some of those.”

Wagner reported there were 612 people tested over the two days the Illinois Department of Public Health had a mobile testing site at the Monroe County Annex in Waterloo. 

“That’s the most we’ve had as far as public testing,” Wagner noted. 

He said another free mobile testing site will be at the Monroe County Annex at 901 Illinois Avenue in Waterloo on Dec. 3-4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The largely unchecked spread of the virus has played a key role in Wagner now advising school districts to return to remote learning. 

The Waterloo, Columbia and Valmeyer school districts and Gibault Catholic High School are all heeding that recommendation in one form or another. 

For more on that, read the stories by clicking here and clicking here

Overall, the Waterloo zip code has had 1,081 cases (11,748 tests performed), the Columbia zip code has had 853 cases (4,954 tests) and the Valmeyer zip code has had 79 cases (516 tests), according to the IDPH.

As of Nov. 22, Monroe County had the highest COVID case fatality rate of the entire St. Louis metropolitan area at 2.4 percent.

All but five county’s made the IDPH’s list for being at the warning level for the spread of the virus this week.

For the week of Nov. 15, Monroe County had 693 cases per 100,000 people (the goal is 50 or fewer), a positivity rate of 14.8 percent (the goal is less than or equal to 8 percent) and performed enough 1,475 tests (the goal is to do enough tests to meet the positivity rate target). It met all other criteria.

In St. Clair County, there have been 15,207 total positive tests and 255 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 160,127 tests have been performed there.

Randolph County has had 2,257 confirmed cases, 239 of which are active. Twenty-seven people have died from the virus in that county. A total of 22,728 tests have been performed there.

The metro east region, including these counties and Monroe County, has seen its test positivity rate remain well over the level at which mitigations are imposed, though it has been dropping over the last two weeks.

The seven-day rolling average positivity rate was 14.3 percent on Nov. 28. It has been over the threshold for new mitigations of 8 percent for more than a month.

The region has only 15 percent of its medical or surgical beds available and just 18 percent of its ICU beds.

Illinois overall is up to 738,846 cases of coronavirus and 12,403 deaths after reporting its highest single-day cases and deaths ever or in months, respectively.

There are 5,835 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, including 1,195 people in ICU beds and 721 on ventilators.

Neighboring Missouri has recorded 302,691 confirmed cases and 4,006 deaths. That includes 47,110 cases in St. Louis County and 12,418 cases in St. Louis City, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

Nationally, more than 13.6 million people have contracted the virus, while at least 269,234 people have died.

Worldwide, there are over 63.5 million cases of coronavirus and over 1.4 million COVID-19-related deaths. 

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