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By BETH ZUMWALT
The Pike County Health Department is reporting 120 new cases of COVID from the evening of Jan. 14 through Jan. 18. Not only is the number rising, but, the severity of those sick is worsening.
The surge is causing lots of problems.
According to Sharon Bargeman of the Pike County Health Department, none of the testing they are doing has indicated the Omicron variant.
“We haven’t seen any Omicron yet,” Bargmann said. “That doesn’t mean it’s not here. Almost everything is Delta, Esilon and Alpha.”
That translates into some serious problems.
“We are seeing some really sick people,” Kathy Hull, CEO at Illini Hospital. “We did away with our true ICU 15 years ago, thinking we’d never need it again. Now there are no ICU beds anywhere around, here, Iowa or Missouri.”
Hull said Illini is trying to utilize the staff and tools they have to accommodate patients who need intensive care.
“We have an intensivist (a board-certified physician who provides special care for critically ill patients) from Blessing on board,” Hull said. “The longer the COVID lingers, the longer the bed shortage will continue. Some of these folks are really sick.”
Hull said many of the critically ill patients will require rehabilitation or therapy of some sort once they recover.
“That will probably cause shortages and longer wait times in that area,” Hull said.
Meanwhile, business and schools try to cope with the ever changing rules and regulations.
Griggsville-Perry boys basketball team withdrew from the Winchester Tournament due to COVID numbers and did not play Routt last night as scheduled.
“We expect to be able to play our Friday, Jan.21 game,” Kent Hawley, superintendent of the district, said.
The Tornadoes will host Liberty Friday night.
Both the Griggsville facility and the Perry facilities were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, not because of COVID, but due to a hack to the district’s computer system.
“We have our tech people working on it,” Hawley said. “It’s a ransomware thing. The files they hacked are crucial to our day-to-day operations.”
Both the Stagecoach Inn in Pleasant Hill and the Bainbridge Street Cafe in Barry were closed for a few days, with so many staff members out sick. Bainbridge Cafe is operating with a skelton staff.
The Pike County Health Department continues to test individuals over the age of five, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Please note that this testing is NOT a rapid test,” Bargeman said.”Tests results will be available in three to four days. Participants will receive instructions via email on how to retrieve their results. If the participant does not have an email address, PCHD will call with results.”
PCHD also provides free COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots. Clinics will be every Thursday in January and February, 1:30 – 4:30 pm at the health department. Please go to www.pikecountyil.org for more information.