Sangamon County Department of Public Health

A surge in COVID-19 cases in central Illinois is causing concern for some local hospital leaders.

For now, there are enough hospital beds to accommodate those with serious COVID-19 infections. But as the number of confirmed cases and local test positivity rate rises, hospital leaders worry their emergency rooms and intensive care units could become overwhelmed – a threat that led to the statewide stay-at-home order in the spring.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O'Neill talks about the importance of flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Two residents of Brother James Court – a care facility for men with disabilities – and one resident of Mill Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center died due to COVID-19 this week, bringing the total deaths related to the disease to 50 in Sangamon County.

Dr. Vidya Sundareshan talks about the importance of getting a flu shot. She's joined by representatives from Memorial Health System, HSHS Illinois and Springfield Clinic.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County health officials are urging people to get a flu shot, as they continue to battle the spread of COVID-19.

School desks
Flickr user: dcJohn www.flickr.com/photos/dcjohn/

This fall, if a student has a fever, cough or other symptom that is commonly linked to COVID-19, they cannot enter a school building.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County came off the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of counties at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

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HM Treasury / Flickr

The Illinois Department of Public Health will test people for COVID-19 at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesdays, beginning today.

Orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
Illinois Department of Public Health

Sangamon County is one of several counties that are now at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

The county has had 70 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, surpassing the Illinois Department of Public Health’s target number of 50 cases. The number of emergency room visits of people with COVID-19 symptoms is also rising.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Bandy would post photos on social media of patrons packing his bars in Springfield.

“That was my proudest moments, when you see a lot of people in your business having a good time,” Bandy said. “Now, it's bad to do that. It's wrong to have a packed business. And rightfully so.”

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

A month ago, Sangamon County confirmed a dozen COVID-19 cases in one week. So far this week, more than 50 people have tested positive.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County is looking to expand its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, and prevent outbreaks at long-term care facilities. The local health department is asking the Illinois Department of Public Health for $2.86 million to fight the new coronavirus over the next year.

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

More than two months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared testing would be key to Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus testing is still limited in Sangamon County.

Meanwhile, state officials report more than 13,600 tests done in the county. Local officials, however, estimate that with repeat tests and people from outside the county limits screened here, only 5,600 individual Sangamon County residents have been tested.

A look at the numbers from one recent week provides a window into the complexities underlying the stats published by health authorities.

COVID-19 Updates In Springfield And Central Illinois

May 26, 2020
A sign asks customers to wear face coverings, which is required by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's most recent stay-at-home order.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

This post is for news on the local response to the coronavirus in Springfield and Central Illinois. For last week's updates, go to this post.

You can send tips, questions or announcements to engage@nprillinois.org.

There is an outbreak of the coronavirus at The Villas in Sherman.
Google Maps

Two more residents of The Villas East in Sherman, both women in their 80s, died from COVID-19 at HSHS St. John’s Hospital Wednesday, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health reported.

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Heather Kadyk’s job is like trying to solve a big puzzle. She's an infectious disease nurse with the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, piecing together the spread of COVID-19, in an effort to slow it down.

Medical and health officials answer questions about the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Springfield
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

There are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sangamon County, including one new case reported Wednesday, according to a news release from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health and Springfield’s four major healthcare organizations. 

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health is asking residents to call its hotline if they think they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. But because testing is still limited by lack of supply, calling the line is no guarantee of finding out whether you actually have the disease.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

This post has been updated with a new statement from Lisa Badger.

Lisa Badger, a member of the Springfield Park District Board, confirmed she tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in a statement released to NPR Illinois Sunday.

She released a separate statement Monday asking for privacy and that people stop contacting her. She said she has received calls, emails, Facebook messages, including threats to sue her and comments aimed at her daughter.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Testing for the novel coronavirus is still restricted in Sangamon County on Sunday, despite the first two confirmed cases being announced Saturday evening.

The two private hospitals in Springfield — Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s — have contracted with private companies to get test kits for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

But they have not begun using the tests, as the Illinois Department of Public Health still determines who should be tested, according to a St. John’s spokesperson.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County health officials are limiting the number of participants at large public gatherings, hours after the St. Patrick's Day parade was canceled.

Beginning Saturday and for the next 30 days, all indoor events will be limited to 250 people and outdoor events will be limited to 500. The order will be reassessed in early April as the coronavirus situation develops, health officials said.

Dr. Brian Miller, president of the Sangamon County Board of Health, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon the measures are precautionary and meant to protect residents.

Government of Prince Edward Island via Creative Commons / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Flu season has begun once again in Illinois, and public health officials are urging residents to practice good hygiene and vaccinate against the virus.