Public health officials say Champaign County is at a “critical juncture” in the pandemic

On Monday, Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department Administrator Julie Pryde, joined by officials from Carle Foundation Hospital and OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, warned that hospitals are approaching capacity.

The officials said that Region 6 — which covers 21 counties in east-central Illinois including Champaign County — has only 29% of its Intensive Care Unit capacity and 29% of its hospital bed capacity remaining as virus cases surged.

COVID-19 Testing Accessibility: Disparities, Barriers and Plans For Future

There has been concern nationally about the ability of people of color to get tested for COVID-19, especially because they have been identified as more vulnerable to the virus.

Melaney Arnold, public health information officer at the Illinois Department of Public Health, wrote in an email, “The data show Black and Hispanic populations are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

University of Illinois sees spike in faculty, staff, and grad student COVID-19 cases as county battles ‘uncontrolled spread’

Cases and deaths have been rising in Champaign County and the other 20 counties that make up what the state public health officials designate as Region 6, which covers East central Illinois.

The county is also on a state alert because of the rate of infection, 471 cases per 100,000, which nine times the target rate of 50 cases per 100,000.

Calculation of COVID-19 positivity rate by university produces lower numbers than state

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s revised calculation of the campus positivity rate of COVID-19 has potentially lowered the rate substantially by reducing the number of reported positive tests.

Epidemiologists say the more accurate way to calculate positivity would be to divide unique positive tests by unique total tests, but that information is not always available.