Marion and Wayne Counties have both been added to the COVID-19 warning list after their positivity rate jumped above eight percent. Clinton, Effingham, and Washington County are repeating for another week.
Marion County Health Department Administrator Melissa Mallow says making the weekly warning list does not result in any new sanctions, but is a signal to the department to pick up education efforts and work with residents to ‘do the right thing’ to protect themselves and others.
Marion County’s positivity rate is now at 8.5-percent. Clinton County is at 17.6-percent. Washington County’s positivity is 11-percent. The Wayne County rate is 15.7-percent. Effingham County’s rate is 11.4-percent.
There are 24 counties on this week’s warning list. Most are in a belt across the South Central part of the state from Missouri to Indiana. Others in the region to make the list are Bond County, Cumberland County, Edwards County, Jasper County, Lawrence County, Madison County, St. Clair County, Shelby County, Williamson County, Wabash County, and Union County. The county metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.
Area counties not on the warning list are Jefferson County which has a 5.9-percent rate. Fayette County is at 6.9-percent. Clay County’s rate is 4.2-percent.
State Public Health Officials say while reasons for counties reaching a warning level varies, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks associated with university and college parties as well as college sports teams, large gatherings and events, bars and clubs, weddings and funerals, long-term care facilities, correctional centers, manufacturing plants, schools, and cases among the community at large. General transmission of the virus in the community is also increasing.
Public health officials are observing people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings. Some communities lack access to convenient testing before people become symptomatic. In some counties, local law enforcement and states’ attorneys are not enforcing important mitigation measures like social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Additionally, some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information on close contacts or answering the phone.