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Region 7 reports above 10% as rapid testing begins integration in Kankakee

1,720 rapid test kits will find their way to organizations across Kankakee County, expected to impact positivity on Region 7

BOURBONNAIS – Region 7 has once again set a new record in positivity for the region.  The Illinois Department of Public Health reported a 10.1% positivity rating Thursday. It marks a new record for seven-day positivity ratings in the region and the 22nd straight day of positivity increases in Kankakee and Will counties. 

The last time Region 7 saw a decline in positivity was October 2nd.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,363 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a new single day record for the State.  IDPH has now reported 395,458 cases and 9,675 deaths since the pandemic began.

State officials reported COVID-19 related deaths up 82% since October 1st, with patients administered to local hospitals for the virus up by 73% during that time.

The Kankakee County Health Department reported 151 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including one new death, marking the County’s 77th fatality.  Since Monday, KCHD has reported 299 cases locally.  Thursday’s data includes Wednesday’s totals, which had been delayed due to a system outage.

During a meeting of the Executive Committee yesterday, Kankakee County Health Department Administrator John Bevis addressed the County Board.  The update was loaded with information, including newly acquired rapid testing kits.

“The first shipment approximately that we got was (1,720 kits), individual kits.  So between the four places we’re thinking of, we can very easily get those out.  They want them, they’re ready for them.  They just have to set up the mechanisms to be ready to go.” Bevis said of the rapid kits, adding agencies receiving tests will be required to report their independent findings. “There are reporting requirements that you would have to do, who you administered it to, and putting it into the system because we’re not going to be doing that for you.” 

Olivet Nazarene University and the Kankakee County Jerome Combs Detention Center are among many organizations expected to receive the rapid testing kits.  Afterward, local officials within a county are able to go within the new system and find out newly reported data from each organization.

The testing kits are Abbott’s BinaxNOW test

 “The BinaxNOW test is one of several rapid point-of-care antigen tests that are available and in use right now. This guidance is also applicable to other types of tests as described below.” The Illinois Department of Public Health explains on its website. The tests will be distributed to schools and other community settings including health-based clinics, onsite by trained healthcare workers, or in pharmacies or health care facilities.

The Health Administrator added the tests are expected to influence positivity rates in a region.

“There are a lot of concerns that it’s going to add to the positivity rate, obviously, within a particular community or region, such as what we may be experiencing now,” Bevis said during the update.  “(State of Illinois) are going to be giving us these kits and we have to give them out to the individuals that want them.  It’s an opportunity to increase the testing in our community, which can help.  Obviously the more tests they get done, the more negatives we can show.  It lowers the positivity rate, which helps us get unmitigated.”

The tests will be free, with results within 15 minutes and provided by each organization receiving them.

On Monday, Kankakee County tested 524 residents for 68 positive cases, a 13% daily positivity rating.  The seven-day in the County climbed to 8.1% Thursday.  Neighboring Will County tested 1,952 residents last Monday for 260 positive results, a 13.3% daily rating.  The seven-day in Will County climbed to 10.6% Thursday.

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