As southern Illinois prepares for Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, COVID-19 cases in Jackson County are on the rise.
Bart Hagston, administrator of the Jackson county health department, said most of the cases are connected to a local church that has been holding in-person services in defiance of public health orders.
“We have seen an uptick in the number of cases over the last several days. Most of those cases are tied to an outbreak associated with a church in Jackson County,” he said.
The name of the church is not being released to the public.
Hagston reminded people that it’s important to continue practicing social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing as the state reopens.
“The phase three guidance that’s been put out there really needs to be followed so that we can ensure we’re taking baby steps toward returning back to normal and that we’re not going to see giant spikes in the number of cases and potentially overwhelm local public health and healthcare systems,” Hagston said.
Hagston said his team is doing contact tracing for cases of COVID-19, identifying as many individuals as possible who may have been exposed to the virus. Those people will be contacted and given guidance on how to proceed. Hagston said the department is also monitoring people who have been asked to self-isolate or quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus.
Guidelines for phase 3 of re-opening can be found on the Jackson County Health Department website.