For the third time in recent weeks, Sangamon County set a record of new COVID-19 cases recorded in a single day. On Thursday, the county reported 105 new cases and two additional deaths.
The recent deaths were residents in their 70s and 80s of St. Joseph’s Home – an assisted living center in Springfield. Meanwhile, 27 residents are hospitalized with the disease – a jump from 16 reported Wednesday.
“We need the community to take this seriously and we have to do something to turn around these numbers,” said Gail O’Neill – director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.
The county has reported 3,682 cases since the pandemic began. Of those, 2,184 have recovered and 64 have died.
O’Neill said while there are a handful of outbreaks at care facilities, most of the recent spread is out in the community – at social gatherings or bars and restaurants or within households of people who are sick with COVID-19.
Restrictions have been put in place in other areas of the state seeing a surge in infections – such as closing or limiting indoor service at restaurants. O’Neill said she hasn’t heard from the state health department if it plans to impose more restrictions on Region 3, which includes Sangamon County and west-central Illinois. But she said it could soon happen here without a reversal of recent trends.
The Illinois Department of Public Health released contact tracing data this week to explain new restrictions. The report shows that bars and restaurants were the second most frequently cited location people had been in the two weeks before they tested positive for the disease.
“We know that bars and restaurants are full. In some places, you can drive by and see that there are quite a bit of people in there. And that is still one of the top ranking places people say they have been,” O’Neill said of local contact tracing efforts.