VIRGINIA, IL (HOI) - The Illinois Department of Public Health's county tracker shows only one county at an increased risk for COVID-19. However, Cass County is relatively small compared to most across the state.
Cass County is home to roughly 13,000 Illinoisans. 123 people have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic started, and 76 have recovered. 46 people are isolating at home. Local health officials announced the county's first death Thursday as IDPH released the risk metrics map. A warning label is assigned when the weekly rate of cases is higher than 50 cases per 100,000 people. According to IDPH, the county has 191 cases per 100,000 residents.
Cass County Public Health Administrator Teresa Armstrong reported an outbreak at a long term care facility last week, but she didn't want to name Walker Nursing Home until IDPH released statewide data Friday afternoon. The long term care facility is located at 530 E Beardstown Street in Virginia, Illinois.
COVID-19 in the community
"Overall since Illinois started reporting cases of Covid-19, Cass County is currently 9th out of 102 counties in Illinois with highest case rates per capita."
The county hasn't seen a spike of cases since an outbreak in April at the JBS meat processing plant in Beardstown. Still, Armstrong says residents should be cautious as businesses open in Phase 4 of Restore Illinois.
"This long term care facility outbreak only highlights and mirrors what has been happening in our communities. We all shop, get gas, and eat out at the same locations," Armstrong stated. "COVID-19 is present in our community regardless of where you work."
Several people the Capitol Bureau spoke with said they're not worried about the virus. A man who wished not to go on camera or give his name said "nobody gives a [expletive] here." His friend added "If we got it, we got it."
Cass County Public Health Department data show most of the people with COVID-19 are younger residents (20-29 years old). A woman said most of the young people "don't care if they're asymptomatic." She hopes residents will make smart decisions before going out over the next few weeks.
At least one establishment is taking precautions to keep their customers safe. The Capitol Bureau saw IDPH posters inside The Sazarac Pub in Beardstown. Employees are keeping extra face masks on hand for any customers who may not have their own. Following public health guidelines, they have also installed proper dividers between each of their video gaming machines which will go back online July 1. They hope the recent rise in cases won't push the entire Central region back into Phase 3.