MOUNT CARMEL — Illinois’ testing capacity continues to rise immensely in its battle with COVID-19, as the state reached a new single-day testing record with 19,417 tests being administered on Sunday, May 3.

These tallies resulted in 2,341 new cases and just 46 deaths, bringing the state’s tally to 61,499 cases and 2,618 deaths.

As for some silver lining in the news, the testing results indicate 88% of patients tested produced a negative result, while 12% tested positive — which are state bests to date. Furthermore, the single-day death toll was its lowest since April 19.

While it’s good to report positive developments, the reality seems to be this is a fluctuating situation with a number that surges and decreases at the drop of a hat. But two consecutive days under 100 deaths is still a good omen nonetheless.

All the while, some counties in Illinois have signaled their intention to not uphold Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order, citing the stress on its small businesses and the inability to manage such a task.

Communities and families are certainly distraught and struggling amid the current state of affairs, but such a premature action could drive further outbreaks in a state which is trending toward becoming the third hardest hit state in the country, trailing just New York and New Jersey.

On a more local basis, Wabash County and other Southern Illinois counties are going to be immersed into a unique situation once Indiana begins its slow reopening, which will likely cause Illinoisans to flock across the border for access to things such as salons, businesses, restaurants and more.

Thankfully Wabash County has just one case to date — and individual who has made a recovery — and Gibson County (across the Wabash River) has just seven cases (four have recovered), but there’s reason for concern once Indiana’s slow reopening begins this week while Illinois remains shuttered until May 30. For example, many Wabash County residents work for Toyota, who will be reopening its doors to its workers on May 11. Vanderburgh County, home to Evansville and a popular commute for many residents of Mount Carmel seeking food or entertainment, has 150 confirmed cases and one death.

Alas, it’d seem the only way to understand any potential causation with opening to spark an outbreak, is by opening, or in Illinois’ case, use nearby states as a case study.

How this delicate balance is met, and its correlation to future cases will be something to monitor over the next few weeks.

As for some local counties in Southern Illinois, Lawrence County has four cases of the virus, while Richland, White, Wayne and Hamilton each have two. Jasper County continues to be the primary cause for concern, with the county having confirmed 45 cases and 5 deaths. An 11% mortality rate in confirmed patients is a startling sight to see.

A reminder, if you believe you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself and call Wabash General Hospital’s Nurse Triage COVID-19 hotline number at 618-263-6233. Wabash General continues its COVID-19 testing through its respiratory clinic and drive-thru testing, which an appointment can be made for if deemed as necessary by a representative on the hotline call. And if you make a trip to the grocery store, please wear a face mask. Value protecting your own life above all else.

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