COVID Update

The weekly COVID update from The Whiteside County Health Department reported on Friday, September 18th, 30 new cases and 1 recovery of COVID-19 in Whiteside County. (13)Under 20, (1)20s, (2)30s, (3)40s, (4)50s, (3)60s, (2)70s, (2)80+

There were around 100 fewer COVID-19 positives statewide last week compared to the week before. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 25,956 positive cases last week. The case positivity rate is also down to 4.1 percent last week from 4.5 percent the week before. ICU bed occupancy was also down from 549 the prior week to 502 last week.

With Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for educators in effect Sunday, it’s expected COVID-19 testing will increase and some are calling for additional oversight of the testing program and the money spent on it.

Pritzker’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, college students and educators from Pre-K through college, says those that can’t or won’t take the vaccine must submit to weekly testing. For K-12 schools, a $235 million program provides the U of I’s SHIELD tests at no cost to the district.

“In the five-week period since Aug. 15, SHIELD Illinois has conducted approximately 133,000 tests for public K-12 schools and 24,000 tests for non-public K-12 schools in Illinois,” said SHIELD Illinois marketing and communications lead Ben Taylor.

The tests cost $35 each. Up to $10 of that could go to a third-party contractor that collects and delivers the test from the school to a lab. The fees are invoiced by SHIELD Illinois to the Illinois Department of Public health based on the test count at no cost to the school.

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