Reports on “recovered” Covid-19 cases inconsistent and incomplete. Numbers elusive and may mislead on real medical impact of virus

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.

COVID-19 testing data shows high recovery rate, weekly increase in testing

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).

C-U Health District focusing on prevention efforts, contact tracing in Phase Four

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.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District warns of foodborne outbreak

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.

Meat and shopping: One more impact of the coronavirus on ordinary life

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.

Virus outbreaks hit businesses throughout county

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.

Illinois nursing homes with ‘serious quality issues’ face coronavirus outbreaks

Four Illinois nursing homes already identified by federal medical authorities as having a history of serious quality issues have suffered outbreaks of the coronavirus in the past two months. Twenty-four nursing homes are listed under the federal Special Focus Facility program, which is overseen by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Four Illinois nursing homes are in the Special Focus program and another 20 are candidates for the program, as of February 26. One of the four nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks that is in the Special Focus Facility program, while the other three are on the candidate list. 

The four Illinois nursing homes associated with the program that have reported outbreaks are:

Aperion Care Bradley, which is in the special program located in Kankakee County, has two cases of outbreak reported. Bria of Belleville, a candidate for the SFF program located in St. Clair County, has 11 cases of outbreak reported and one death. Elevate Care Waukegan, a candidate for the SFF program located in Lake County, has four cases of outbreak reported and one death. Generations at Rock Island, a candidate for the SFF program located in Rock Island County, has 10 cases or outbreak reported and two deaths. 

Three of the  homes did not return calls for comment but a statement from Generations at Rock Island stated that the facility has implemented all best practices in infectious disease protocol in the nursing home, including screening all visitors and staff before entering the building, limiting building access to essential healthcare workers, screening residents twice per shift and modifying communal dining to comply with recommendations from health departments. 

They also said they had adequately stocked personal protective equipment and raised the staff’s hourly wages by four dollars. 

“We are working around the clock to protect residents and staff from this threat,” according to the statement.