*Article will be updated with latest statistics through July 31st.
Last updated: 7/30 5pm
Children are set to return to the classrooms in August at schools across Kankakee County and the state of Illinois.
Yet of the 360 cases announced in Kankakee since July 1st, 60 of those have been from ages school age and younger. The last time a child did not appear on the Kankakee County Health Department’s chart was on July 7th, over three weeks ago.
The news comes at a time when Kankakee/Will Region 7 rose to 6.2% locally. It’s the worst in the former Chicago Region of Illinois.
Two new studies involving a total of 75 children published last month in JAMA showed a pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome was linked to COVID-19 is novel (new) and different from Kawasaki disease (KD) and toxic shock syndrome (TSS). On local boy in Aurora has been hospitalized for the disease with others hospitalized across Chicago to date.
“Residents should hold your elected leaders responsible,” Governor Pritzker said Wednesday stressing they step up and take responsibility to put mitigations into place at a Regional level. “Demand that they take action because if they don’t, they could send the entire region back to closed bars and closed restaurants, stricter limits on gatherings, or even another stay at home order.”
Limited bars and restaurants and limiting indoor activities at gyms are a few of the early mitigation tactics Illinois is advising local leaders to use. “We’re asking all the communities to take a look at what they’re seeing.” Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “Please identify mitigation efforts you can implement to slow the spread.”
Kankakee County has seen 1,728 cases since March, of which pandemic of which 20% has so far come in July. So far, Kankakee leadership has worked as an ally with both small businesses and unintentionally, the pandemic. Numbers shot up exponentially since June. Kankakee County allowed bars and restaurants to open earlier than any others in the State of Illinois in late May with the Kankakee County Sheriff’s publically stating they will not enforce a statewide mask mandate among residents in the County.
Schools in Bradley and Bourbonnais have committed to opening for half-day residency in August. Bourbonnais officials have already promoted a “Remote Learning 2.0 Plan” which would go into effect should schools need to fall back out of the classrooms again. A full remote option for the fall semester is also available to concerned parents upon registration.
Additional public health variables added to the back-to-school equation include the return of over 5,000 students from across the world to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University on August 17th. Olivet announced the return of students to campus in late May. Kankakee Community College has already stated students will continue to learn remotely this semester.
By comparison, 29 children were confirmed infected for COVID-19 in all of June in Kankakee County. Cases nearly doubled in July. On Thursday, the State of Illinois announced 1,772 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest in over two months in Illinois, including the death of a Kankakee man in his 60s.