As expected, last week’s numbers have gotten us off the state’s warning list for this coming week. The main contributor was the fact that the rate of positive tests dropped below the 8% threshold. Cases per 100,000 people was still above 50 but that’s typically the case here. Based off of this week, it looks like we’ll get to stay off the list for next week as well. Fingers crossed that there isn’t a post labor day spike and puts us, or our region, back on watch.
The regional picture looked a bit better this week as well. After weeks of a steady increase, there was an overall drop in the positive test rate this past week. In the midst of that good news are some spikes at the larger universities in the region, WIU in Macomb and ISU in Bloomington, and the fact that our state recovery region continue to hang just under the 8% cut off.
This week was a nice change of pace. There were 11 new cases (65 per 100k) and a positive test rate of 3.8%. Only two days reported a positive rate above 8%. It’s been nearly a month since we’ve seen a week with these kinds of numbers. As I said above, we can expect to stay off the state’s county warning list for another week.
On Sunday the state offered free drive-up and walk-up testing in Monmouth. The results of those tests look to have come out on Tuesday where we saw 125 tests with only a single positive test in the batch. A less than 1% positive rate is something to be happy about for sure. The health department did not confirm that the Tuesday batch included some or all of the tests administered on Sunday, but I’ve heard from people that got tested that their results came back to them on Tuesday. You’ll clearly see the spike in tests on that day.
The other obvious outlier in this week’s data is the larger number of resolved cases reported today. According to the health department’s report, nearly 100 additional cases have had their symptoms resolve. It’s not clear who or how they follow up on known cases. A massive jump like this could just be a sign that someone had the time to do a follow up with known cases.
There’s nothing new with the graphics this week. Below you can explore the last three weeks of health department data in their usual form: test results, positive test rate, demographics, and the status of known cases.
Our state recovery region has seen a dip in new cases and is keeping the positive test rate just under 8%. That downward trend holds when we add in some neighboring counties in Iowa. For the past few weeks we’ve seen an increase in new cases in the region while the national trend has been going the other way. Maybe we’ve caught up with that trend.
Just a few highlights to look for as you explore the regional data. You’ll notice a large spike in cases on September 4. Apparently that’s from a backlog of tests at the state level that were released on that day. It’s bureaucracy and not some exceptional viral spread event. However, When you look at the map showing cases per 100,000 people you’ll see McDonough county and McLean county pushing the red zone. These counties are home to Western Illinois University and Illinois State University respectively. Both of these universities reported spikes in cases this past week. So it does seems we’re starting to see some of the viral spread that people predicted would happen when college students got back to campus. Monmouth College, where I work, has seen only a few cases so far. We’re a college of less than 1000 students, so it might not be apples to apples if we compare our 4-5 student cases with places like WIU and ISU. A fare comparison would look at something like cases per 1000 students. I’ll have to look into that.
Without further ado, the graphics. As usual, you get total cases for the region, cases per county, , cases per 100,000 people by county, and an animation of the seven day rolling average of cases per 100,000 people for each county.