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West-Central Illinois Counties on State COVID-19 Warning List

Oct 19, 2020

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said 34 counties across the state are at a warning level for COVID-19.  They include McDonough, Warren, Adams, Pike, and Cass counties in west-central Illinois. 

The state said a county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators increase.  Those indicators include outbreaks associated with long-term care facilities, schools, and university and college parties. 

In McDonough County, the local health department reported the county exceeded several metrics for the week of October 4 - October 10:

  • New cases per 100,000 people. The state rate is 50 cases per 100,000. The county’s figure worked out to 184 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Weekly test positivity. The state considers it a risk factor if a week’s positivity rate exceeds 7%. McDonough County’s rate was 8.7%
  • Tests performed. The local health department said this indicator shows more testing is needed.

The IDHP and the McDonough County Health Department will host a free drive-thru COVID-19 test site Monday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 20. It will be open to the general public on the Western Illinois University campus in the far east section of Q lot. Testing will be done from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The two health departments are also collaborating to offer free coronavirus testing at Bushnell-Prairie City High School this Wednesday, October 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Outbreak at Bushnell Bar

The McDonough County Health Department is reporting a COVID-19 outbreak at Earls Place/Bowsers in Bushnell.

The department said the public was exposed to the virus at the bar on Thursday, October 8 and Saturday, October 10. The agency said anyone who was there on one or both nights should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and seek testing for the virus.

The health department said the bar’s owner is taking steps to slow the spread of the virus including cleaning and disinfecting the business, temporarily closing, and canceling their upcoming Halloween party.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Prevention

The McDonough County Health Department said an updated list of coronavirus symptoms includes:

  • Mild to severe respiratory illness with fevers or chills 
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of sense of taste and/or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The health department said you can help prevent germs from spreading by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands with soap and warm water, and staying home when sick.

This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.