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*** UPDATED x3 *** Harvard study: Illinois one of just 17 states conducting enough COVID-19 tests

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020

* The Hill

Only 17 states and Washington, D.C. are currently meeting minimum targets for doing enough coronavirus testing, according to a new analysis.

The Harvard Global Health Institute, in collaboration with NPR, finds that 14 states and Washington, D.C. are doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, meaning it won’t be eliminated but it will not spread out of control. An additional three states are meeting a higher threshold of doing enough tests to suppress the virus and prevent almost any new cases. […]

The 14 states along with Washington, D.C. doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to the analysis, are: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The three states meeting the higher goal of suppression-level testing are Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, with West Virginia, Montana, and New Jersey close behind, the analysis finds.

More here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** There is, however, a problem with Illinois prisons. Here’s Hannah Meisel

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has tested less than three percent of its prison population for coronavirus — a ratio that criminal justice reform group Restore Justice Illinois says is unacceptable, as Covid-19 cases in a northwest Illinois prison facility spike.

According to IDOC, 71 incarcerated men at the East Moline Correctional Center tested positive for Covid-19, along with five staff members. That number has steadily climbed since Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration first acknowledged the outbreak two weeks ago, when 26 inmates and three staff members had tested positive.

That rapid spread is a symptom of IDOC’s failure to formulate an adequate Covid-19 testing plan, according to a new report from Restore Justice published Tuesday. The group blasted IDOC for not reporting more data to the public, including how many prisoners are currently hospitalized with the virus and timely reports of Covid-19 deaths among incarcerated populations and prison staff.

“More than any other state, [Illinois has] embraced the most vigorous Covid-19 safety measures and protocols,” Restore Justice President Jobi Cates said Monday. “It baffles me how we could be in late June and still have only tested under three percent of prison population.”

More here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Jordan Abudayyeh…

The Department has been closely following the CDC guidelines and working with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) based infectious disease specialists to develop strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in Department facilities. The guidance we have received has not advised utilizing mass testing. However, the Department tests symptomatic offenders, uses focused prevalence testing, screens selected subpopulations, and screens offenders prior to inter-facility movement and medical furloughs. The Department also requires that staff be screened prior to entering facilities. The screenings include responding to a series of COVID related questions and having their temperatures taken. In the event that staff have any of the COVID-19 symptoms outlined in the screening document and/or have a temperature they must go home. The Office of Health Services constantly reviews the evidence and remains open to modifying current practices based on expert guidance.

*** UPDATE 3 *** From the University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs

The University of Illinois System’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) today released a report on COVID-19’s impact in the state’s prisons and jails. […]

The Policy Spotlight says testing should be prioritized in areas where there is a greater risk of the virus either being carried into the facility by staff from the region or spilling over into the community. The spotlight suggests that while the Illinois Department of Corrections has made progress on giving inmates some access to cleaning and hygiene supplies and COVID-19 testing, the conditions still need to be improved.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments »
  1. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    Testing, tracing, and treatment. Same as it ever was. And wear a mask for good measure. The solution to this problem hasn’t changed.


  2. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 11:22 am:

    Are we as a state, or any other state/nation, doing a COVID-19 test on all decedents? I would think this would be a valuable trace back tool regardless if the person died directly from COVID-19 or from possible complications of COVID-19. Might require a separation of data points, but IMO would be important to know. I just have a feeling some counties are having under-reports of COVID-19 infection and death rates especially if a co-morbidity is involved and cited as the cause of death on the death certificate.


  3. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    The fact that Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are doing enough testing indicates that a region’s self-image of “macho, rugged individualism” may not be an insurmountable barrier to taking this seriously.

    (Or maybe it’s simply a function of their very diffuse populations. Or Mormonism.)

    – MrJM


  4. - BC - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    Tom Dart did the right thing and aggressively tested Cook County Jail inmates. His reward? Several national news stories about the jail being the nation’s “top hot spot” for coronavirus — and several subsequent lawsuits. Meanwhile, IDOC and the federal prison system followed the Trumpian no-tests-equals-no-cases approach and avoided controversy.


  5. - ZC - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    We are going to really need more testing (which has to be voluntary, but social pressure, I’m talking like, “Excuse me, would you mind if I shove this swab up your nose?”) of “average Joe Illinoisan” as we continue with the Great Reopening of bars, theatres, etc. People with zero symptoms, to see if there’s a new wave of asymptomatic transmission building out there.

    I’m worried we are looking more at a four-week cycle: the first two weeks, the younger asymptomatics all infect each other in the bars, but it doesn’t show up in the testing as much, because they don’t get tested. Then in the two weeks after that, they start infecting more people, who develop symptoms and get tested, and you see the growth. But at that point, the train has sort of left the station.


  6. - ZC - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    Maybe - I’m half-serious, see 12:31 above - some kind of betterment incentive? Put a station in the bar, pay the establishment: “Hey, take a free test, get a free beer, courtesy of IL.” We need to know what’s going on out there - now, not two weeks from now.


  7. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    If I take a test for any reason, including because I just want one or the hospital requires it before a minor outpatient procedure…I can’t go to work until the results are received.

    So I won’t be taking one until I need one due to possible exposure etc.


  8. - AlfondoGonz - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    JB has rightfully earned high marks throughout this crisis.

    Can you imagine if Bruce Rauner were governor during these strange and trying times?


  9. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    On the issue of prisons Ohio has been doing good work on the testing front. As of 6/29 they have conducted 14,368 tests with 4997 positive results.

    Ohio reports 76 deaths in their prisons due to COVID-19.


  10. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    >

    Over 40% of Covid-19 deaths are coming out of nursing homes. Seniors and those who work for them? Might have a different opinion. Try visiting a nursing home resident these past three months? And only 3% tested in IDOC facilities? Will that flatten down the grading curve you are using here?


  11. - Drew Peterson - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    IDOC has done a excellent job with covid. Very low death rate. Very low hospitalization rate. These other states have been out of control and then started following the plan IDOC has had in place for months. These feel good group need to quit looking for problems where there isn’t one.


  12. - Drew Peterson - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 3:52 pm:

    Um
    “Ohio has been doing good work”!
    76 deaths?
    Guess that means Illinois is doing excellent work!!!!


  13. - Mama - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 11:42 pm:

    What is the percentage of nursing homes are conducting test on staff and patients?


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