Health

Daily COVID Update

18 hours ago
COVID-19
WSIU / WSIU

(September 26) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,441 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, along with 25 additional deaths. The overall number of coronavirus cases is 286,326 since the pandemic began, and the death toll stands at 8,588.

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WSIU/Kevin boucher

Smoke from fires out west are making our skies hazy, and could cause some people to have issues.  Dr. Jeffrey Lehman, an allergist and immunologist with Southern Illinois Healthcare says while he has not seen any patients complaining of this, breathing in these extremely small pieces of un-burnt material can be a problem.

When the COVID shutdown hit, lots of people lost jobs and couldn’t pay their rent. States and cities responded by putting a moratorium on evictions, but those are ending. Housing advocates are now bracing for a flood of evictions — and a public health problem.

Teaching is already challenging enough without a pandemic shaking up how the classroom operates. As schools reopen, many districts are focused on keeping their staff and students safe from COVID-19. But the pandemic is also taking a toll on teachers’ mental health. 

Sierra is in a bind. She and her husband have two children — ages three and nine years old — and they live in Urbana, a college town in east-central Illinois. 

While the world fights the pandemic, health experts say there's a chronic epidemic that continues to hide in the shadows. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and in Illinois, one person takes his or her own life, on average, every six hours.

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Governor JB Pritzker updates the state's COVID-19 statistics and response.

You can watch the event by clicking here.

On a Friday evening in late June, Liliana Quintero received a call from one of the Spanish interpreters working at a COVID-19 testing site in Goshen, Indiana. The area has one of Indiana’s higher Latinx populations and higher rates of COVID-19 cases, according to state data.

“[He was] saying, ‘Liliana I need to inform you that the nurse who is in charge of this site just told me that each time that she sees Hispanics coming to this site, she's going to call the police,’” recalls Quintero, director of the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, an Elkhart-based health education and advocacy nonprofit.

The statewide COVID-19 test positivity rate hit its lowest point since July 26 on Wednesday as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,337 new cases of the virus among 48,029 test results reported over the previous 24 hours.

The rolling seven-day average positivity rate was driven downward to 3.7 percent after Wednesday saw a 2.8 percent one-day positivity rate. 

That came as Region 7 of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan saw its fourth straight day below an 8 percent positivity rate, the threshold at which the state increases economic restrictions in an effort to mitigate spread. The rate in Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee Counties, was 7.4 percent as of Sunday. That was still higher than the 6.5 percent rate at which the state would start to relax some of the added mitigations, which include closing bars and restaurants to indoor service.

Eighteen young people tested positive for COVID-19 in Sangamon County during the week of August 23.

The weekly number of new cases among those less than 20 years old in each county is one of four metrics the Illinois Department of Public Health began publishing late last month to assist local schools and health departments in making decisions about in-person learning.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported a new peak in new COVID-19 cases at 5,368. But department officials say the spike is due to a backlog of data.

A couple hundred students, staff and faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield waited more than 48 hours for results from their saliva-based COVID-19 tests taken last week. Initial university instructions said results should be sent within a day or two.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marci Moore-Connelley and CEO Rex Budde about how they're responding to COVID-19, with regional cases rising.

Treating COVID-19 With Plasma Therapy

Sep 2, 2020

The FDA has recently issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19. Southern Illinois Healthcare has been participating in an extended access program, treating southern Illinoians with plasma.

Clay County Public Health Department

Clay County health officials are putting out a COVID-19 alert for parents and students in the North Clay County School District.

COVID-19 exposures have forced the closure of two SIH facilities in Saline County on Monday (August 31).

The Southern's Molly Parker takes a closer look at a spike in COVID-19 cases at Menard Correctional Center in Randolph County.

Whether it’s the global pandemic or social unrest, nearly everyone has experienced some trauma in 2020.

It’s hard to grasp the long-term mental health implications of COVID-19. But many Americans have already seen their mental health suffer during the pandemic.

On Aug. 3, Zach Matheny’s blood thinning medication was filled at his pharmacy, and sent out for delivery via the U.S. Postal Service. It never arrived at his home in Columbus, Ohio.

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Illinois Department of Public Health

Illinois placed 20 counties on warning status today, as cases and positivity rates continue to climb. In the WSIU area, seven counties are on the warning list.

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SIU / SIU

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is updating its COVID-19 reporting, to include a website that tracks cases on- and off-campus.

As colleges across the country welcome students back to campus, incoming freshmen are starting college in the middle of a pandemic. And, many are struggling with a tough decision to start or defer college this fall.

CHAMPAIGN – A saliva-based COVID-19 test created by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA emergency use authorization was granted to the U of I’s test on the basis that it performs at least as well as a recently approved saliva-testing protocol developed at Yale University, setting a precedent that could allow other labs to follow suit. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28-year-old Mayra Ramirez was working as a paralegal for an immigration law firm in Chicago. She enjoyed walking her dogs and running 5K races. 

Ramirez has a condition requiring medication that could’ve suppressed her immune system but was otherwise healthy. When the Illinois governor issued a shelter-in-place order in March, she began working from home, hardly leaving the house. So she has no idea how she contracted COVID-19.

The state has placed tighter rules on a portion of southwest Illinois after seeing more community spread of the coronavirus disease.  But Gov. J.B. Pritzker admits it might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

Western Illinois University intends to hold in-person classes beginning August 24 in Macomb and the Quad Cities. But the union representing faculty members is fighting that plan.

The nation’s automakers are scrambling to keep assembly lines staffed during the COVID crisis. At a Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, that means calling on office workers to move to the line. And that has triggered anxiety among some workers.

State of Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker says region that includes the Metro East will have new restrictions this week - aimed at blunting the spread of coronavirus in the area.

More than 1,200 people in Missouri have died from COVID-19. As the toll rises each day, the human aspect can get obscured. Angela Kender is looking to change that.

After losing her mother to COVID-19 in June, Kender started a project to commemorate other victims. She’s collecting their photographs at missouricovidmemorial@gmail.com. She has already has dozens of photos, and plans to show them to lawmakers at the Missouri state capitol.

Tuskegee Next Donates 10,000 N95 Masks To SIH

Aug 13, 2020

Face masks are an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. But some healthcare organizations are still having trouble keeping them stocked.

The Tuskegee Next Foundation and The Will Group decided to lend a helping hand in our region. 

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