University of Illinois officials have blamed an unpredicted surge in Covid-19 cases to some students partying and avoiding quarantining and contact tracing efforts. The university 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.
Most of the international students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s 2019-2020 academic year are from countries with lower daily Covid-19 infection rates than the United States, according to a CU-CitizenAccess analysis.
Last spring, 9,824 international students attended the University from more than 100 countries, according to university data.
ByDylan Tiger, Isaiah Baba, Daria Makhneva and Samantha Boyle / For Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
As Covid-19 surges again in the U.S., the high percentage of “recovered” cases might be cited as a sign that a vast majority of those infected quickly rid themselves of the virus.
But the “recovered” statistics are incomplete, inconsistent and call into question the accuracy of any total number of recovered cases, according to a review of 50 state public health sites by the Midwest Center for Investigative reporting.
By the end of June Champaign County had conducted more than 33,000 COVID-19 tests, according to data from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
A review of the data saw the number of daily tests increasing dramatically while showing that Champaign County has had a relatively low positive rate (2.5%) with 723 cases out of 29508 tests (May to June).
It also showed a high “recovered” rate, but the term “recovered’ can be misleading. In Illinois, the definition of recovered means that an infected person has not died within 42 days of being diagnosed. The rate was 93 percent (May to June).
Julie Pryde, administrator for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, said the state will continue in Phase Four now until the pandemic ends, meaning masks and six-feet social distancing are still recommended and required in public spaces.
The health district is in the process of hiring more contact tracers, for example. About 30 contact tracers work there now to track the persons with whom an infected person has had potential contact with.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) notified the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) of a “multi-state outbreak” of an intestinal illness known as cyclosporiasis. According to the press release, it is believed that the outbreak to be linked to packaged garden salad, and there are six cases of the illness in Champaign County as of July 1.
Fresh Express issued a recall for the products on June 27, 2020. The recalled food products were made in a production facility in Streamwood, Illinois. This factory was also linked to over 500 cases in 2018, and infections were traced to McDonald’s restaurants in several states.
ByJoey Birrittier/For Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
It began in mid-March when the new coronavirus became part of ordinary American life with shortages of household products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper and paper towels. Now, as May has turned to June, scarcity – and the fear of it — is all about the meat. As of June 6, there have been at least 20,400 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 216 plants in 33 states, and at least 74 reported worker deaths, according to a Midwest Center analysis.
Twenty-six outbreaks have been recorded across several facilities and businesses in the county as of June 8, according to Julie Pryde, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District administrator.
The health district has recorded 30 total outbreaks, including those at the Rantoul Foods meat processing plant, an outdoor equipment manufacturing plant and two nursing homes, University Rehabilitation Center and Meadowbrook Health Center.