Vaccinations and testing for coronavirus continue in Montgomery County, but so do some new cases and fatalities.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported two more deaths last week, the 69th and 70th in Montgomery County, a week in which the Montgomery County Health Department reported 53 new cases. With a lower than usual number of tests, however, that resulted in a 4.3 percent positivity rate for the week of Feb. 27 through March 6.
The health department will continue to offer free COVID-19 rapid testing through Litchfield Family Practice Center during the month of March on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-3 p.m., or until 40 tests have been completed, whichever comes first. Testing is done either in a drive-through format or walk-in clinic, dependent upon the weather, and is first come, first served.
“We encourage people to use the free testing, even if they’re not symptomatic,” Jodi Perkins of the Montgomery County Health Department said. “If someone thinks they may have been exposed and would like to test just to have peace of mind, they are more than welcome to use the free testing site. If, by chance, they turn up positive then they can isolate and stop the spread. It could save a life.”
The health department reports 5,300 individuals on the vaccination call list as of Saturday, March 6.
“At this time, we only call individuals from the list who meet the State of Illinois’s current Phase 1A, 1B, and 1B+ qualifications,” the health department posted on its website. “Our weekly allocation from the State of Illinois for first dose vaccinations was at 300 this week. Our plan is still to use each week’s shipment within a week of its receipt. All 300 received this week were used for first dose shots at a drive-through clinic held Saturday, March 6.”
Those who would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should call the health department call 217-532-2001 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or email their name, age, phone number, and town to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list. Once a name is on the list, someone from MCHD will call with more information when it becomes available.
The local health department also echoed federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advice for those who have been vaccinated “to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic,” including covering the mouth and nose with a mask when around others, staying at least six feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, and washing hands often.