COVID Hits School, Store, Public Health

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Four students in three schools in Montgomery County have tested positive for COVID-19 since Thursday, Oct. 8, a day in which the state announced the 14th coronavirus death in county, and cases were reported at a Hillsboro grocery and at the Montgomery County Health Department.

The death, a female in her 80s according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, was the first in Montgomery County since Sept. 19 and the 14th overall.

Since Thursday, positives have been reported at Litchfield Middle School, Beckemeyer School in Hillsboro, and two at Hillsboro High School.

The Hillsboro School District was notified at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, that a high school student had tested positive.  The district’s contact tracing investigation led to nine students sent home from school upon arriving on Thursday for a 14-day quarantine. The district was notified on Saturday of another positive test of a high school student, and contact tracing led to the quarantine of another eight students.

Then on Monday, a day in which school was out for Columbus Day, the district was notified about the elementary school positive test.  After contact tracing, 18 students, and possibly one staff member, will need to quarantine.

The Litchfield School District was also notified on Monday about a middle school student who tested positive.  “Those individual students or staff members who we believe were in close contact will be contacted by the Montgomery County Health Department and placed in quarantine,” a letter from Dr. Greggory Fuerstenau said.

According to Christian-Montgomery EMA Director Greg Nimmo, an employee at the health department who was involved in drive-through flu clinics on Oct. 5 at the Witt Lions Club and Irving Century House has tested positive.

“This employee was not directly involved with drive-through patients,” Nimmo said.  “Additional contact tracing has been completed by the Montgomery County Health Department. Any required quarantines have been established. If you were recently a patient at one of these drive-through clinics, your exposure time and distance, especially if you were following IDPH guidelines.”

“As always, however, you should monitor your health because COVID is a virus that is active throughout our communities. If you should begin to feel ill or have a concern, contact your physician for further guidance or you may contact the local health department.” 

Nimmo had the same advice for customers of Capri IGA in Hillsboro, where three employees have tested positive.  Contact tracing has been completed there and any additional people needing to quarantine have been notified.

“Each positive case involving an employee at a business requires a detailed case-by-case review by local public health,” Nimmo said.  “Every scenario involving a positive COVID virus case in a business has many variables that affect the outcome of each location individually such as building layout, ventilation, people being traced answering their phone or quickly calling the health department back when a message is left, and COVID protocols being followed by employees to name a few. Deep cleaning COVID protocols are completed every night at Capri IGA to ensure customer and employee safety. In this individual case, the store was not required to close due to their timely response and cooperation.”

Number-wise, the health department reported 52 new positive cases in Montgomery County over the past week for a positivity rate of 4.6 percent.  As of Monday, Oct. 12, the total number of cases here over the course of the pandemic is 449 with 15 test results pending.

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