Scott County COVID-19 cases continue to mount
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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Much like many other communities in Illinois and across the country, Scott County has seen a steep increase in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks.
The trend only accelerated over the last week, Scott County Health Department (SCHD), reported. According to data released Monday by the department there are 40 active COVID-19 cases in the county – a steep increase over last week’s 22 cases.
SCHD RN Meghan VanDeVelde reported that SCHD and Scott County Nursing Center (SCNC) staff are working to control the spread of the virus in the county.
“It has been busy over the last couple of weeks to say the least,” VanDeVelde said. “We continue to have several cases daily.”
VanDeVelde reported that a silver lining is that many of those infected are experiencing relatively mild symptoms.
“Thankfully, a majority of them have been doing well and are able to recover at home,” VanDeVelde said.
Alarmingly, VanDeVelde said one resident, who had been fully vaccinated is hospitalized with COVID-19. In addition, several more of the current cases in the county are so-called “breakthrough” infections of fully vaccinated individuals.
“We do currently have one resident in critical condition at a local hospital,” VanDeVelde said. “They were vaccinated. Thus far, we have had 28 breakthrough infections. Currently, 13 of our active cases are fully vaccinated.”
According to VanDeVelde, vaccinated individuals may get over the virus’s affects more quickly that those who are unvaccinated.
“In terms of symptom severity in vaccinated versus unvaccinated within Scott County, we are seeing some of the same symptoms being experienced,” VanDeVelde said. “ However, some of the fully vaccinated individuals have had a shortened period of symptoms.”
VanDeVelde said that cases have begun to appear among SCNC residents this month, as well. VanDeVelde was quick to credit SCNC staff for working quickly to control the further spread of the virus within the facility.
“So far, at our long-term care facility, we have had a total of 12 Scott County Nursing Center residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 since August 7,” VanDeVelde said. “The staff has been working diligently and effortlessly to stay on top of this. They have been able to get the residents scheduled to receive the monoclonal antibody infusions, and that has seemed to have been very beneficial. The residents are all doing well at this time with mild symptoms. I really cannot speak highly enough of the staff there.”
The increase in COVID-19 cases statewide has led the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to reinstate mask requirements inside schools and school busses across the state, including Bluffs and Winchester. VanDeVelde expressed optimism that the protocols would effectively control the spread of COVID-19 among school children and staff.
“The school is moving forward with the recommendations set forth by IDPH and State Board of Education,” VanDeVelde said. “This includes social distancing in classrooms between desks and masks for both students and staff. We are hopeful and optimistic that the efforts being put in place will limit the occurrence of school associated close contacts and will help keep our kids and staff in the classroom and their activities. Bus transportation will also include masks for students and drivers.”
In response to the increase in cases locally, SCHD has requested more doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the state.
“We have put in to receive more doses of the Moderna vaccine, so we will continue to offer those vaccinations,” VanDeVelde said Monday. “We have had a pretty consistent interest in the vaccine recently, so we were able to order more vials today.”
VanDeVelde reported that all vaccination clinics at SCHD moving forward would be held on Fridays only. The move comes in an effort to be more efficient and organized.
“We will only be doing COVID-19 vaccinations on Friday’s now – every Friday,” VanDeVelde said. “This is to not only help keep dates and clinics organized, but to help minimize vaccination dose wastes.”
The move to Friday only vaccination clinics, VanDeVelde said, also affects residents who may already have a second vaccination currently previously scheduled for another day of the week. VanDeVelde said residents will be updated with their new appointment times by SCHD staff.
“This includes upcoming second doses,” VanDeVelde said. “So, if somebody is due for a second dose on a Monday or Wednesday, we will push that vaccination date to the Friday of that week. We will continue to call people to schedule their 2nd doses when it is nearing time.”