COVID Spike Impacting Schools, Nursing Homes


One Montgomery County school district went to all-remote learning for at least a week, and outbreaks began in two long-term care facilities as COVID-19 coronavirus cases continue to climb.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Montgomery County Health Department announced 96 new cases so far this week for a positivity rate of 6.1 percent since Sunday; 49 test results remain pending.

Of course, Montgomery County is not alone in the pandemic surge.  The Illinois Department of Public Health IDPH reported Wednesday that 145 people in the state had died of COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, the highest single-day death toll since the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in May. IDPH also reported 12,657 new cases of the disease had been confirmed since Tuesday out of 93,464 tests performed, for a single-day statewide positivity rate of 13.5 percent. The preliminary rolling seven-day average positivity rate stood at 12.5 percent.

On Monday, Nov. 9, Panhandle Superintendent Aaron Hopper announced that after more individuals on the junior and senior high campus tested positive, district-wide remote learning began the following day, on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

“The first day for a possible return to in-person instruction will be Tuesday, Nov. 17,” Hopper said.  “Should conditions warrant a continued closure, based on recommendations from the Montgomery County Health Department, we will extend the closure until such time as we feel it will be safe for our students to return to the classroom.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Christian-Montgomery EMA Director Greg Nimmo announced outbreaks at Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (MNRC) in Taylor Springs and Nokomis Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Nokomis.  Six residents and one staff member have tested positive at MNRC, and six residents and two staff members have tested positive at the Nokomis facility.

“The facilities, public health and EMA are working together to mitigate COVID within the facilities,” Nimmo said.

The Hillsboro School District announced on Monday that an employee who works as both a bus aide and in the food service at the junior high tested positive over the weekend, leading to the quarantine of kitchen staff at the junior high.  Three students on the bus routes were quarantined, and after the kitchen was sanitized substitutes and other food service staff were assigned to continue operation.

The Nokomis School District announced on Monday a positive COVID test from a North Elementary staff member.


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