Saturdays coronavirus updates: Paxton fourth-grader tests positive; Douglas man, Iroquois woman among 17 fatalities; UI massmail: We know how quickly things can change – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

A fourth-grader at Paxton’s Clara Peterson Elementary has tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Cliff McClure informed families and staff in a letter.

“We are coordinating our efforts with the Ford County Health Department to promptly identify and monitor individuals who have had recent contact with the COVID-19 positive individual to prevent further spread within our school and community,” McClure wrote.

Among the steps the district is taking, according to McClure:

— Identifying and notifying close contacts “i.e. persons who were within six feet of a COVID-positive individual for 15 minutes or longer).

— Placing staff members and students who are identified as having prolonged close contact in quarantine. Close contacts will also receive a separate notification from the Ford County Health Department.

— Ongoing monitoring of students and staff for signs and symptoms of illness and evaluation of illness reports to promptly identify possible outbreaks.

— Conducting a deep clean and disinfection of the areas impacted by potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Earlier this week, two students at Mahomet’s Middletown Prairie Elementary tested positive, Mahomet-Seymour Superintendent Lindsey Hall said, triggering similar steps.

Saturday cases

A look at the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Champaign County.

Of 7,405 new tests in Champaign County, 30 came back positive Saturday — a rate of 0.4 percent.

The county’s seven-day positivity rate remained low and unchanged for the third straight day — 0.3 percent.

The number of active cases grew by 24, to 164, while the number of people hospitalized in the county for COVID-19 shrunk by one from Friday, to three.

Totals to date: 149,943 tests; 1,879 confirmed cases, 1,695 of them classified as recovered; and 20 fatalities.

Here’s an updated rundown of county ZIP codes with active cases followed by their total number of cases, according to C-U Public Health District data:

  • 61820/Champaign: 68 active (up five from Friday), 364 total (up six)
  • 61801/Urbana: 32 active (up five from Friday), 142 total (up six)
  • 61822/Champaign: 19 active (up eight from Friday), 180 total (up 10)
  • 61802/Urbana: 11 active (up two from Friday), 253 total (up two)
  • 61821/Champaign: 10 active (up two from Friday), 318 total (up two)
  • 61866/Rantoul: 6 active (unchanged from Friday), 265 total (up one)
  • 61853/Mahomet: 6 active (unchanged from Friday), 102 total (up one)
  • 61874/Savoy: 6 active (up one from Friday), 68 total (up one)
  • 61845/Foosland: 2 active (unchanged from Friday), 9 total (unchanged)
  • 61880/Tolono: 1 active (unchanged from Friday), 36 total (unchanged)
  • 61873/St. Joseph: 1 active up one from Friday), 30 total (up one)
  • 61847/Gifford: 1 active (unchanged from Friday), 7 total (unchanged)
  • 61859/Ogden: 1 active (unchanged from Friday), 3 total (unchanged)
  • 61843/Fisher: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 30 total
  • 61877/Sidney: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 15 total
  • 61864/Philo: 0 active (down two from Friday), 11 total
  • 61875/Seymour: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 6 total
  • 61863/Pesotum: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 6 total
  • 61878/Thomasboro: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 6 total
  • 60949/Ludlow: 0 active unchanged from Friday), 6 total
  • 61840/Dewey: 0 active (down one from Friday), 5 total
  • 61849/Homer: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 5 total
  • 61871/Royal: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 5 total
  • 61872/Sadorus: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 3 total
  • 61816/Broadlands: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 1 total
  • 61851/Ivesdale: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 1 total
  • 61862/Penfield: 0 active (unchanged from Friday), 1 total

Saturday positivity

A look at the percentage of COVID-19 tests that have come back positive in Champaign County.

Here’s an updated breakdown of confirmed county cases by age group, according to CUPHD data:

  • 21 to 30: 475 cases (up five from Friday)
  • 11 to 20: 379 cases (up 14 from Friday)
  • 31 to 40: 330 cases (up five from Friday)
  • 41 to 50: 219 cases (up two from Friday)
  • 51 to 60: 173 cases (up one from Friday)
  • 10 and under: 130 cases (up two from Friday)
  • 61 to 70: 95 cases (up one from Friday)
  • 71 to 80: 40 cases (unchanged from Friday)
  • 81 to 90: 28 cases (unchanged from Friday)
  • 91 to 100: 10 cases (unchanged from Friday)

Saturday tests

A look at the number of newly processed COVID-19 tests in Champaign County.

A Douglas County man in his 80s was among 17 Illinoisans to die of COVID-19, state public health officials announced Saturday.

As of Saturday afternoon, Douglas health officials hadn’t announced the news of the county’s fourth coronavirus-related death, all coming in the past 30 days.

Saturday’s newly reported deaths spanned seven counties:

  • Cook County: 1 female 20s, 1 male 30s, 1 male 40s, 2 females 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90
  • Douglas County: 1 male 80s
  • Iroquois County: 1 female 80s
  • Kane County: 1 male 50s
  • Madison County: 1 male 60s
  • Sangamon County: 1 female 80s
  • Winnebago County: 1 male 90s

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported Saturday that 2,356 newly confirmed cases emerged from 56,766 tests, a rate of 4.1 percent.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate stands at 4.3 percent.

Saturday Vermilion

The number of confirmed cases in Vermilion County grew by five Saturday, to 273.

The new cases involve one teenager and residents in their 20s, 30s, 60s and 70s.

Of the 273 cases, 256 have recovered, 15 are isolating at home and none are hospitalized, county health Administrator Doug Toole said Saturday.

Saturday masks

In Sunday’s News-Gazette: 60 Illini show off their masks.

In a Saturday massmail, UI administrators noted that “we’ve got an opportunity many others in the country do not” and called on students to exercise “the very best judgment” in the critical first few weeks of the school year.

Here’s the letter in full, signed by Provost Andreas Cangellaris, Graduate College Dean Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Danita Young:

As you know by now, when we start the semester on Monday, we will be one of an increasingly small number of universities to be doing so with any significant amount of in-person instruction. At the end of this message you’ll find a final list of some important actions and preparations you’ll need to be sure you’ve completed.

Our ability to come together this way is built on the foundation of our innovative on-campus COVID-19 saliva-based testing program. What will determine if we stay together in-person through the semester is whether we all can make the right personal choices and exercise the very best judgment in these critical first few weeks of the semester.

Our testing can quickly detect the virus. This comprehensive testing allows for quick quarantine, public health contact tracing and rapid delivery of any necessary medical care. But the only way we can prevent it from spreading in the first place is by wearing face coverings, washing our hands, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds and situations that we know put many people at risk of exposure and put all of us at risk of having to return to fully remote operations as we did in the spring.

If we ALL commit to this very hard work, our chances of remaining together throughout the semester get better. In the last week alone, we’ve seen several institutions revert quickly away from on-campus operations. Although we believe our testing capability better positions us, we know how quickly things can change.

We have invented a new kind of test, we’ve launched what is to our knowledge the most comprehensive COVID-19 testing program in the country, we’ve built the Safer Illinois app specifically for this cause and we’ve reimagined and redesigned almost every course, classroom and meeting space.

In short, we’ve given ourselves the chance to succeed at something that has never been attempted before.

We’ve got an opportunity many others in the country do not. It is up to all of us — together — to make it a reality.

These next two or three weeks will define how we move forward from here.

We have said this before and we say it again now.

We believe in you. We believe in your strength of character, your values and in your commitment to the community that surrounds us.

And we believe the choices you make in these next days will show the world what is possible when Illinois students come together when it matters most.

Important Information and Final Preparations for Monday

— Make sure you have completed your required on-campus COVID-19 test and have your results in time before you try to attend an in-person class or enter any university building.

— You can find a list of testing sites and hours here. Several are open Saturday and Sunday.

— Please refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, gum chewing and tobacco use for one hour before your test.

— You will not be able to access classrooms or university buildings this semester if you are not completing two tests each week, and you could face action through the student discipline process. If you have not received information about a testing schedule yet, you should plan to test every four days.

— Make sure you are ready to show your building entry status. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got a current version of the Safer Illinois app or bookmark the COVID-19 Boarding Pass page on your phone. The COVID-19 Boarding Pass will not be active for use until Monday, Aug. 24.

— Make sure your technology and Internet access are going to meet your needs this fall. This Technology Services guide is a great place to start. Whether you are studying remotely or coming to campus, if you do not have access to a functional computer or reliable Internet connectivity in your location, please contact the Student Assistance Center at 217-333-0050 or

— Update your fall address information in Self-Service. You are required to do this no matter where you will be studying this semester. Instructions are here if you need them.

— Pick up your PPE kit at the Illini Union in the I-Rooms if you haven’t done so already.

— Complete your required Division of Research Safety COVID-19 online training.

— Join the thousands who have taken the Illinois Community Pledge.

— Make sure you are aware of the special new COVID-19 ordinances and rules Champaign and Urbana have put in place. These include limits on gathering sizes, requires all campus area bars and restaurants to serve customers in outdoor areas only through Labor Day (9/7), prohibits anyone under 21 from entering bars after 9 p.m. and public face-covering requirements.

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