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High COVID transmission in region is likely underreported

A graphic of a timer with germs
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More people are using home tests, which are not automatically reported.

The southern Illinois region is showing increased transmission of COVID -- and health officials say rates are likely even worse than reported.

Jackson County Health Department COVID Operations Chief Paula Clark said the amount of testing being done at home means the numbers are likely higher than reported. She said that while home testing is an important tool, it's important to remember that people may not test positive immediately and anyone with symptoms should be cautious.

"We need to remember that a test is just a snapshot in time, we need to follow those symptoms and make sure we're social distancing and masking and that if we do test and test positive, that we're isolating at home," Clark said.

Newer COVID variants are more able to evade immunity from the vaccine or previous infections. Clark said that while COVID mitigations may not be mandated anymore, vaccinating, masking and social distancing are still the best ways to protect against getting infected.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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