Effingham County Health Department confirmed 21 positive tests in three days, raising the county’s total cases during the pandemic to 81 as of July 30, based on figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Several of the patients now in isolation are Effingham County teenagers or young adults – many are doing well. The number of infections has continued to rise in this county as more people report contact with those already testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, there have been many people claiming no possible contact with COVID-19 patients.

Across Illinois, the number of new cases has dropped since the peak during the spring. From July 24 to 30, the daily totals for new cases statewide dropped from 1,532 to 1,076 and then rose to 1,772. The last figure was part of a spike for infections and one of the higher daily totals in a month. The highest daily report of COVID cases was 4,014 in early May. For weeks, confirmed cases topped 2,000 almost daily from late April to mid-May.

Illinois recorded one COVID-19 death on July 26. The total number of deaths rose to 30 on July 28, but the most recent five-day total of cases was one of the lowest since late March. The recovery rate for COVID-19 patients is high, but more than 7,000 have died across the state since the pandemic spread to Illinois.

COVID-19 has claimed only one Effingham County resident during the duration of the pandemic. But Effingham County, like several Downstate counties, has seen its number of cases rising for weeks. If that pattern continues, this county could face new COVID-19 safety measures.

The Health Department reports a rate below 50 per 100,000 population is desirable for a seven-day period. For the first three days of the current seven-day period, Effingham County’s rate is already 62 per 100,000 population. This increase in activity should raise questions for persons in the community, such as, "Should I attend or host a large gathering? Are there additional precautions I should take given my personal or family health risks?"

The Health Department stated this means the county could face IDPH recommendations for restrictions on activities in the community. Without those restrictions and participation in precautionary measures, more persons will continue to suffer from COVID-19 and disease spread at a rapid pace.

The County Health Department and local health care providers urge the community to work together to combat the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering, washing hands thoroughly and staying home when you are ill. And keep informed on coronavirus by following trusted sources of information such as the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, IDPH and the Health Department websites.