After 26 days of no new reported cases, a Rantoul Foods worker has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reported 3,421 cases since students began returning to campus on August 15 despite university researchers predicting only 700 Covid-19 cases on campus by Thanksgiving.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic is significantly limiting the ability for Clark Park community leaders to plan and host their staple events.
The 61821 zip code, which includes Clark Park, has had 549 confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to data from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
The highest number reported by the state was September 8, which indicated delayed reporting. The county’s highest number was 356 cases on Sept. 11. County public health officials said their case numbers lag behind the state and university because they take time to confirm positive cases.
Carle Foundation Hospital is routinely treating people in beds in the hallways of the emergency room at its Urbana facility on University Avenue, although the practice has come under criticism by health experts.
The practice is generally done because a hospital is at overcapacity and does not have room for patients and is known as “boarding.” Boarding has been criticized because negative effects can include death, preventable disability, prolonged hospital stays and general discomfort.
Previously confidential statewide data tracking coronavirus cases across Illinois shows that there have been at least 50 different outbreaks in Champaign County traced to restaurants, stores, churches, nursing homes, hospitals and in a county office.
The internal database kept by the Illinois Department of Public Health has tracked case counts for nearly 2,600 separate outbreaks across Illinois.
In Champaign County, the number of cases in individual outbreaks ranges from two at the Carle Clinic in Mahomet to 97 at Rantoul Foods in Rantoul, which CU-CitizenAccess has previously reported.
The database also listed cases at Cunningham Children’s Home (8) , Plastipak (14) and the Champaign County Jail in Urbana (4).
The data also includes the ‘unofficial prom party’ in Champaign County where there were 17 confirmed Covid-19 cases. That prom party has been reported as being in Mahomet.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s saliva-based COVID-19 test has never operated under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, despite prior claims that it did, an FDA spokesperson tells Illinois Newsroom.
So far, campus officials say the U of I has been contacted by 35 organizations, including other universities, expressing interest in adopting the campus’ Shield program, which involves testing, contact tracing and other mitigation measures.
Champaign County may get swept up into new restrictions; State cites rising rates of Covid-19 in nearby counties
State health officials may re-impose tighter Covid-19 restrictions on Champaign County because other counties in the region are reporting higher rates of the virus.
On Wednesday, health officials said the number of saliva tests conducted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has skewed the 7-day positivity rate in a 21 county region. The state uses the positivity rate to impose restrictions or lift mitigation efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
The number of University tests makes up 20% of all tests given in the state and officials said when its numbers are factored in, the region’s positivity rate is at 2%. Without including the university’s numbers, the positivity rate is 7.2% for other 20 counties in central Illinois area known as Region 6.
An 8% rate would trigger additional state restrictions. Seven counties in Region 6 already are above the 8% positivity rate.
University of Illinois officials reported 1,754 new cases from Aug. 15 when students started coming back to campus, through Sept. 8, although a team of researchers working directly for the university administration had projected only 500 to 700 cases by Thanksgiving.
The cities of Champaign and Urbana both issued emergency orders intended to prevent a possible surge in COVID-19 cases as students return to campus for the fall semester.
Illinois researchers Eric Jakobsson and Santiago Nunez-Corrales created a computer model that estimated that students will bring back nine times the viral load – or rate of disease – than of community members. In a letter to both city councils, they recommended the cities, all bars and restaurants return to having only curbside pick-up, delivery or drive through. They said without those measures there could be an additional 800 cases, 80 more hospitalizations and four more deaths.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign quietly announced on Tuesday an expansion of its Covid-19 testing by requiring students to be tested routinely even if they live in the community but do not plan to come to campus.
The decision comes during a week when two university epidemiologists recommended in a letter to city officials in Champaign and Urbana that they go back from current Phase 4 of the Illinois reopening plan to Phase 3 to limit the spread of the virus during the surge of returning students.