If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
The Pike County Health Department (PCHD) was chosen by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to participate in a Rural Testing Pilot to provide free COVID-19 testing for community members.
As a result, PCHD staff members have been providing free drive-through COVID-19 testing at the Pike-Scott Farm Bureau building, located at 1301 E Washington St. in Pittsfield. Testing is offered Monday-Thursday, 9a.m. – 1p.m., until further notice.
According to PCHD Director of Nursing Sharon Bargmann, Pike County was chosen to host the IDPH-funded testing site because few testing sites are accessible to area residents.
“The reason we were chosen is because there is no free testing near us,” Bargmann said.
IDPH describes Pike County, and counties with a similar lack of accessible testing sites, as “rural testing deserts.”
Bargmann indicated that many individuals in need of a COVID-19 test have been going to local healthcare providers, such as Quincy Medical Group and Illini Express, however charges for the testing make it prohibitively expensive for many residents.
“I have heard some people are going to Illini Express, but the charge is $75,” Bargmann said.
According to an Illini Express representative, the $75 charge is incorporated into the charge for the patient visit. A representative from Quincy Medical Group in Quincy indicated that for an uninsured patient, a rapid COVID-19 test could cost as much as $180.
“There are a lot of people in our county that just can’t afford that, especially if there are multiple people in the household that need testing,” Bargmann said.
Bargmann said that PCHD’s testing was further necessitated by mandates on certain employees to get regular COVID-19 testing.
“A lot of people are required to test for their jobs,” Bargmann said. “But a lot of places won’t let you come in for testing if you’re asymptomatic.”
While COVID-19 has already pushed the capacity of PCHD staff, Bargmann said the need for testing in the area warranted the extra effort on the part of PCHD staff members.
“It’s a stretch on our already thin staff,” Bargmann said. “Our administrator felt there was a need in the community, so we are doing it anyway.”
Results of testing will be available online through the Midwest Coordination Center.
Participants will receive a link to register online at testedandprotected.org. Results will be available at that website in 24-48 hours. Please do not call PCHD for results. Participants without internet and/or email access will be contacted by the health department only if your test is positive.
Follow posted signage to enter the testing site. Testing will be drive-thru. Please stay in your car. PCHD staff will gather necessary information for testing and oversee self- collection of the COVID-19 test.
PCHD also provides free COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots. COVID vaccination clinics will be every Thursday in December, 1:30 – 4:30 pm at the health department. Please go to www.pikecountyil.org for more information.
The best way to prevent contracting COVID-19 continues to be socially distancing, washing your hands, masking, and getting a COVID-19 vaccination per CDC recommendation
PCHD reports jump in COVID-19 cases
By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Since its last report on Nov. 29, Pike County Health Department (PCHD) has been notified of 104 new Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Pike County.
■ 8 person(s) 0-9
■ 17 person(s) 10-19
■ 12 person(s) 20s
■ 20 person(s) 30s
■ 11 person(s) 40s
■ 13 person(s) 50s
■ 13 person(s) 60s
■ 2 person(s) 70s
■ 8 person(s) 80’s
PCHD has also been notified of 1 new COVID-19 related death in Pike County, which was a person in their 40s.
“COVID cases have really jumped,” PCHD Director of Nursing Sharon Bargmann said Monday. “This morning there were 21 new cases between Sunday and Monday.”
Bargmann cautioned residents to be wary of potential new threats from new variants of the COVID-19 virus, including the Omicron variant.
“It’s getting crazy, with the Omicron variant in St. Louis – that’s close,” Bargmann said. “We really don’t know a lot about it – whether it will take over like the Delta variant, or if it will fall by the wayside.”
Bargmann encouraged residents to take precautions, such as mask wearing, until the Omicron variant is better understood.
“We don’t know enough about Omicron to know if our vaccines work against it,” Bargmann said. “It’s best to stay masked.”
A total of 2,912 COVID-19, lab confirmed and probable cases in Pike County residents have been reported to PCHD. Of those, 132 cases are active, with 3 currently hospitalized and 66 COVID-19 related deaths reported.
A probable case is defined as a direct household contact of a lab confirmed positive case who is exhibiting the same symptoms.
COVID-19 vaccinations clinics: Thursday’s in December from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. For general questions about the COVID-19 virus, call 1-800-889-3931.