The coronavirus has been confirmed in every Illinois county after a small county west of Springfield reported its first case, months after the outbreak began.
A 66-year-old woman last week tested positive for the virus in Scott County and was reported to be recovering at home, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“Well everybody was disappointed because we kind of liked being the only county that didn’t have a case, a confirmed case,” said Rex McIntire, mayor of Winchester, the county seat. “But we kind of also knew it was just a matter of time, so no shock or anything.”
Out of 102 counties in the state, Scott County was the only one left that did not have any cases after Edgar County had its first reported case in May.
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Many residents credit the low number of cases to the county's size — roughly 5,000 people — and distance from congested urban areas.
Some residents are concerned about the pandemic, but many think that not much has changed since officials announced its first case. Restaurant owners, however, say business is not how it used to be before the pandemic.
Jeff Pittman, owner of Pitt Stop in Winchester, credits slow business to coronavirus concerns and summer heat.
“I probably do about a fourth of what I usually do,” Pittman said. “Yeah, it’s not very good. But without the staff and stuff, I’m still making it, but it’s pretty tough.”
Steve Shireman, the health administrator for Scott County, said he doesn’t know why there hasn't been an outbreak in the county.
Even nearby counties have been hit hard by the virus. Cass County has reported 136 positive cases and seven deaths and Morgan County, where many Scott County residents work or get medical treatment, has reported 132 positive cases and three deaths from the virus. The number of infections is thought to be higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
“Bottom line is, we’ve been pretty lucky — so far — and I hope it continues,” Shireman said.