Liberty Village of Clinton is working with health officials to stem an outbreak at the long-term care facility, which has recorded more than 30 positive tests for COVID-19 since early September. A majority of those came last Thursday, when the local health department said 34 new cases of COVID were recorded in DeWitt County, a majority of those related to the outbreak.
DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Administrator David Remmert confirmed the outbreak was at Liberty Village. When two people tested positive there Sept. 3, it triggered weekly testing of all employees and residents.
It is not known how many of the cases, which Remmert believes number in at least the mid-30s, are among residents. A call to a Liberty Village spokesman on Tuesday morning has not been returned.
“I am very concerned when we see cases in vulnerable populations. Those worry me a great deal,” said Remmert.
He added the facility is doing all that it can to stem the spread, working closely with local and state health officials.
“They're doing everything they can do to get over this thing,” he added.
While Remmert said healthy populations should be able to recover if they contract coronavirus, others should be very careful.
“I think the biggest, most sound piece of advice is, if you are immunocompromised or over the age of 65, I think it is very important that you be very careful and shelter,” he said. “Younger people, people who don't have underlying health issues, I don't think there is evidence that they are at huge risk.”
In an update sent out Monday night, Remmert said the bi-county area had recorded the following number of positive cases of COVID-19 Wednesday through Sunday:
DeWitt County – 6 new cases (5 in Clinton, 1 in Wapella)
Piatt County – 3 new cases (2 in Cerro Gordo, 1 in Monticello)
DeWitt – 35 new cases (34 in Clinton, 1 in Weldon)
Piatt – 0 new cases
DeWitt – 3 new cases (all in Clinton)
Piatt – 4 new cases (2 in La Place, 1 each in Cerro Gordo and Monticello)
DeWitt – 4 new cases (all in Clinton)
Piatt – 5 new cases (3 in Monticello, 1 each in Bement and Hammond)
DeWitt – 11 new cases (all in Clinton)
Piatt – 4 new cases (3 in Monticello, 1 in Mansfield)
With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had 230 cases total of COVID-19, Piatt County has totaled 185. The mobile clinic held at the health department office in Clinton over the weekend performed 95 COVID-19 tests.
Back to the warning list?
DeWitt County was just removed from the state warning list for COVID-19 after positivity rates dropped. The uptick in cases may land it back on the Illinois Department of Public Health warning list again, but Remmert said positivity rates are dependent on the number of tests given, and who is being tested.
“It's not a very strong metric,” he said. “If you're testing a lot of people who are asymptomatic, of course your positivity rate is going to go down,” which was the case when people in DeWitt County started testing more after positivity rates rose.
“If you restrict testing to only symptomatic people your positivity rate is going to go up. That's why I have always said, from day one, the truest markers for this disease are hospitalizations and deaths,” said Remmert.
Those two metrics have been low in both counties, with two COVID-related deaths in DeWitt County and none in Piatt County since the start of the pandemic in the spring.