Local Virus Cases Continue To Creep Up

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The number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Montgomery County has crept up to 32 as of Wednesday, May 6, but no new cases were reported when every resident and every staff member at a long term care facility was tested after one employee and one resident had previously tested positive.

That good news came a day after Gov. JB Pritzker announced on Tuesday a five-step, regional plan to reopen Illinois after months of restrictions.

After Hillsboro Area Hospital tested everyone at Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (MNRC)in Taylor Springs on Monday, Christian-Montgomery County EMA Director Greg Nimmo reported on Wednesday that test results were back with no positive results.

“We are thrilled to announce that all of our residents and employees tested negative for COVID-19,” MNRC administrator Carla Vonderhaar said.  “Our numbers remain unchanged at one employee (who is recovered) and one resident.  We realize that we all still have a very long road ahead of us, but we will all get through this together.”

The Montgomery County Health Department reported 32 positive cases in the county as of Wednesday, May 6, and 23 pending tests.  

Statewide, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 46 coronavirus deaths on Monday, 176 on Tuesday including a Macoupin County female in her 40s, and 136 on Wednesday for a statewide total of 2,974

The governor’s Restore Illinois plan announced on Tuesday comprises of five phases that health regions–the 11 districts the Illinois Department of Public Health breaks the state into, grouped into four separate regions–can move through as data proves they are meeting certain thresholds, according to Rebecca Anzel reporting for Capitol News Illinois.

When the novel coronavirus pandemic was beginning to affect the state, each region was in the first phase, called “rapid spread.” 

The number of residents testing positive for COVID-19, and being hospitalized for treatment, were increasing. Pritzker instituted stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions statewide.

Illinois is now in the second phase, called “flattening,” Pritzker said. 

The curve is leveling, the rate of infection is increasing more slowly and restrictions are being lifted. Each health region is observing this trend “to varying degrees,” the governor added.

“I know that we all have a passionate desire to return to the sense of normalcy that we felt before the world knew of COVID-19,” Pritzker said during his Tuesday update. “Here’s the truth, and I don’t like it any more than you: Until we have a vaccine or an effective treatment or enough widespread immunity that new cases fail to materialize, the option of returning to normalcy doesn’t exist.”

The next step regions are progressing toward is “recovery” — the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as the number of residents hospitalized would be stabilizing or declining. 

Once this criteria is met, offices, stores, hair salons and others could reopen with new capacity regulations implemented, and masks would still be mandated when out in public.

Gatherings of up to 50 people could resume and restaurants, bars and schools could reopen in the fourth phase. Called “revitalization,” it is signified by a continuing decrease in the number of confirmed cases.

The final, fifth phase would be reached when a vaccine or effective treatment is established, or when a region reports no new COVID-19 cases. At that point, regions could return to normal.

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