COVID numbers in December ‘off the chart’
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By Carmen Ensinger
With the new year just around the corner and COVID still running rampant in Greene County and the rest of the state, despite the availability of a vaccine for more than a year now, it might be a good time to take a look at some numbers.
Greene County, because it had the highest death rate, per capita, in the state, was one of the first counties in the state to receive the vaccine. The first doses rolled out in the county on Dec. 16, and the Health Department was praised by the Governor for the efficiency in setting up clinics and the amount of residents being vaccinated in those first few months. However, Greene County is now one of the counties with the lowest vaccination rates in the state. Currently, only 37 percent of the residents have been fully vaccinated.
According to information from the Greene County Health Department’s website, cases in the county began to rise just after the Thanksgiving holiday. From Nov. 24 – Dec. 2, there were 49 new cases reported. That number jumped to 74 for the week of Dec. 2 to Dec. 9.
At this point, the Health Department began reporting cases twice a week, instead of just once a week, which they had started doing when the cases had dwindled during the summer months.
From Dec. 9-14, there were 79 new cases reported and one death. From Dec. 14-16, there were an additional 33, for a weekly total of 112.
From Dec. 16 to Dec. 21, an additional 52 cases were reported, with two of them being in long-term care. Dec. 21-23, another 23 were reported, with another one of those in long-term care for a total of 75 new cases for the week prior to Christmas.
Adding in the week before Christmas, along with December up to Dec. 23, there have been 289 new cases reported in the county. Keep in mind, these are only those cases that are reported to the Greene County Health Department. With the availability of home COVID tests now, it is possible that positive cases may go unreported.
An even more interesting statistic to delve into is the number of cases this holiday season compared to last year’s holiday season.
The Illinois Department of Public Health contains information on the amount of cases reported each day since the first cases of the virus was reported on March 10, 2020.
According to their information, the pandemic peaked in 2020 on Nov. 5 with a reported 17,608 cases on this day.
With the vaccine becoming available to the general public in the early part of 2021, cases began to fall until it reached an all time low of a mere 84 cases on July 4. However, after the July 4 holiday gatherings, the case number jumped up to 601 on July 6 and rose to 1,151 cases on July 18.
Cases continued to rise until they once again peaked on Sept. 3 at 5,983 cases per day. From here, cases once again began to decline to a low of 1551 on Sept. 17.
The Thanksgiving holiday caused a huge spike in positive cases in the state. In one day, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, the number of cases rose from 6,119 to 11,524. From that point, it was an up and down cycle with the number of cases per day in December averaging 8,830 cases per day from Dec. 3 to Dec. 21.
On Dec. 23, the number of positive cases for the next two days would be greater than the number of cases during the height of the pandemic on Nov. 5. On Dec. 23, there were 18,942 cases reported and on Dec. 24, 21,131. Doing the math, that is 1,334 and 3,523 more cases, respectively, than the single largest day of reported cases in 2020.
Santa brought a Christmas miracle on Dec. 25 with positive cases falling to just 13,963 and continuing to fall over the next two days to 9,848 on Dec. 27.
Information from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website includes information on school districts as well. According to data reported on Dec. 23, Greene County schools had a total positivity rate of almost 14 percent (13.95 percent).
According to this data 39.41 percent of Greene County youth are fully vaccinated at 41.55 percent have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
Jersey County schools were at almost half that rate at 7.41 percent with 53.31 percent of their students fully vaccinated and 56.76 percent with at least one dose of the vaccine. while Calhoun sits at 9.3 percent, with 41.30 percent fully vaccinated and 43.76 with at least one dose.
Pike County sits at an even 10 percent with 39.75 percent of their students fully vaccinated and 42.98 percent with at least one dose. Scott County’s rate is off the chart at 20.93 percent even though 41.13 percent of their students are fully vaccinated and 43.55 percent have had at least one dose.