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Salem Grade School District goes on remote learning until after Winter Break  

Salem Grade School Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe announced Tuesday afternoon the district would remain on full remote learning until after the Winter Holiday break.  Students are now scheduled to return to in-person class on January 4th.

Students had been scheduled to return to in-person class on Monday of next week, but Foppe says there were several reasons for the extension.   While the number of students and staff on quarantine continues to come down, she reports seven staff would still be out on Monday.    Foppe worries with the increasing numbers in the community and Thanksgiving gatherings, it is safer to remain in full remote.

Foppe notes the numbers of students and staff on quarantine have been coming down since they first went on remote learning.  She feels being on full remote is part of the reason.   As of last Friday, there were 15 staff and 33 students on quarantine.   That compares to 21 staff and 74 students a week earlier.

Even though school will be on full remote, Foppe says they are still asking families to contact the schools when they have kids either exposed and quarantined or have tested positive so they can keep accurate numbers.


No new deaths in region, Marion County Health Department reports 46 new COVID-19 cases  

The Marion County Health Department reported 46 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

Health Department Administrator Melissa Mallow says 19 of the new cases are from a long-term care facility and four are students.  They are doing contact tracing on three of them.  The fourth was not in school during their infectious period.  The health department reports 32 of the cases are considered community spread while the other 14 are the result of household and close contacts.

There are now 392 active cases, including 24 who are in the hospital.  Three of those are on ventilators.   There were no new recoveries on Tuesday, with 1,426 recovering since the beginning of the pandemic.    There were no new deaths reported in the county on Tuesday, with 45 since the pandemic began.

The Clinton County Health Department reported 51 new positive cases on Tuesday.  A total of 654 are on home isolation and 11 are hospitalized.

The Jefferson County Health Department is reporting 38 new cases with a total of 238 currently active cases in isolation.

The Fayette County Health Department is reporting 19 new cases on Tuesday.

The Clay County Health Department is reporting 14 new cases on Monday.

The Wayne County Health Department is reporting 23 new lab-confirmed cases on Tuesday.  111 are currently in isolation.   None are hospitalized.

Dr Ezike on4-4-20 briefing

State Public Health Officials making last plea against Thanksgiving get-togethers 

Public Health officials are making a last-minute plea to get together with family virtually this Thanksgiving.

State Public Health Chief Dr. Ngozi Ezike strongly urges people not to get together with friends and relatives outside your household over the Holidays.  But if you decide to ignore the advice and risk spreading the virus.

“Really commit that you will separate households within that space, commit that if you are not actively eating or drinking you will have a mask on in the house, commit that if the weather allows you will move everything outdoors.”

Ezike says they fear if people ignore these warnings, there will be a big spike in COVID cases in the coming weeks, putting a major strain on Illinois Hospitals and possibly triggering more restrictions.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 9,469 new cases of coronavirus disease and 125 additional deaths.  The deaths include three reported Monday by the Marion County Health Department and one earlier reported in Jefferson County.  There were also two deaths reported in Effingham County and six in Madison County.

The state’s positivity rate dropped a tenth of a percent to 10.4-percent.    The Southern Illinois Region’s seven-day positivity up until November 21st is 12.5-percent.  The Marion County rate is 16.5-percent.   The Metro East Region is at 14.2-percent.  The East Central Illinois seven day positivity rate is 13.4-percent.

covid 19 testing

Drive Through COVID-19 testing to be available in Salem next week   

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Marion County Health Department has announced a community drive-through testing site will be available at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Salem next week.

The IDPH mobile test team will do the testing from nine am to four pm each day from Monday, November 30th, through Sunday, December 6th.

The testing is open to anyone if you have symptoms or no symptoms.  A simple nasal swab will be used.  There is no cost for the testing.  Please bring your insurance card, but you can still be tested if you do not have insurance.

No appointment is needed.   You must have a valid phone number because you will be called with the results within 4 to 7 days.   Face masks are required.

If you have any questions, you may contact the Marion County Health Department at 548-3878.

Salem Township Hospital

Salem Township Hospital implements no visitors policy 

Salem Township Hospital is implementing a NO VISITORS policy effective Wednesday.

In addition to visitors to hospitalized patients, this includes no support person for Emergency, Rural Health Clinic and Surgery patients and anyone utilizing other services provided at the hospital.

Patients under the age of 18 will be allowed one support person.

Exceptions may be made for patients requiring essential care or for end-of-life circumstances.  As a reminder, visitors who meet the exceptions must be healthy and will be screened upon entry.

The main front lobby entrance will remain open Monday through Friday from six am to 6:30 pm but will be closed on weekends and holidays.  Outside of those hours, the emergency room entrance, on the hospital’s north side, will be the only entrance to the hospital.

All individuals entering the building through either entrance will be required to wear a mask and will be screened for fever and symptoms upon entry.

The hospital reports the move is being made to make every effort to protect patients, staff, and the community.  They appreciate everyone’s help and understanding with the temporary requests.   The hospital also encourages the community to follow the Center for Disease Control and Illinois Department of Public Health recommendations.


Illinois: Fraudulent jobless claims soar during pandemic

CHICAGO (AP) — State officials say fraudulent unemployment claims have soared in Illinois as scammers direct jobless benefits to their own accounts at a time when record numbers of residents have sought relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting director Kristin Richards said Monday that the Illinois Department of Employment Security “is experiencing fraud in an order of magnitude we’ve never seen before.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that the agency says more than 212,000 fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits have been filed with the state since March 1.

About 169,000 of those claims were filed under a federal program tied to coronavirus relief.

National News

Coronavirus live updates: US reports over 172,000 new cases

Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, IVAN PEREIRA and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 59.8 million people and killed over 1.4 million worldwide.Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern: Nov 25, 8:03 amFauci’s ‘final plea’ before Thanksgiving: ‘A sacrifice now could save…read more »

Large weather system in Central US moves East bringing strong storms

ABC NewsBy DANIEL MANZO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A large storm system brought severe weather to parts of the southern U.S. on Tuesday.There were at least 41 reports of severe weather from Kansas to Louisiana with wind gusts of up to 65 mph reported in Denton, Texas.In the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, significant damage was…read more »