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By Carmen Ensinger
The number of positive COVID cases in Greene County almost tripled over the Thanksgiving holiday according to the weekly report by the Greene County Health Department.
Since COVID cases slowed down, the Health Department started doing a weekly update instead of a daily update. For their Nov. 24 report, they reported 16 new positive cases in the county. The report released on Dec. 2 showed 49 new positive cases.
“There is definitely an increase happening, but remember, we are also only doing it one day a week now,” Public Health Administrator Molly Peters said. “There is a lot of exposure happening from the gatherings in general that happen during the holidays and there have been a lot of scenarios where there have been very large groups of people gathered that could potentially be a source.”
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Region 3 on Nov. 30 (data is typically a week behind) is showing a 7-day rolling average of 6.7 positivity for the entire region.
For this same date, Greene County had a 10 percent 7-day rolling average and a 10.8 percent daily positivity rate. Both well above the 8 percent threshold. Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the county’s rate was hovering between the 4 and 5 percent range.
Looking back even farther, on Nov. 1, the rolling average positivity rate was only 1.9 percent. By Nov. 11 it had jumped to 3.4 percent.
“What we really need to do is to slow the spread of the virus before the Christmas holiday otherwise it will expand even further after the holiday,” Peters said. “Therefore, if you are sick, even if you think it is only a cold, it is really important that you stay home and get tested.”
Peters also said that with the advent of the at-home COVID test that it is important to follow the guidelines.
“With some at-home testing now being conducted, it is important to follow the same COVID guidelines,” she said. “Because with the at-home test, they don’t necessarily report the case to the Health Department every time. Still, it is vital that they quarantine to keep from spreading the virus.”