Champaign County virus trends: death rate increases while test positivity slides


Jacob Wargo

Students sit on the Main Quad on Oct. 8. In January 2021, at least 16 COVID-related deaths occurred in Champaign County, the majority being 70 years old or older.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

When students went away for break, Champaign County was in the throes of a nationwide surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

Though far fewer people are testing positive for the virus than a month or two ago, the county is dealing with a prolonged uptick in deaths from COVID-19. 

In October of 2020, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District had confirmed just 28 county deaths from the virus. 

November brought 35 more deaths, while another 27 COVID-19 patients died in December. Through January of 2021, at least 16 county residents have passed away after battling COVID-19 complications. 

The vast majority of those who died from the virus are above 70 years old: 81 of the county’s 106 deaths have come from this demographic. 

Meanwhile, the test positivity rate of the county and the surrounding region have slid in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Region 6 of Illinois had a seven-day rolling test positivity rate of 8.9%, which warrants increased mitigations, while Champaign County’s was up to 7.3%. 

Just 10 days later, Region 6’s rolling positivity rate had dropped to 5.6%, along with 5.1% in the county. 

To date, 15,883 residents of Champaign County have tested positive for COVID-19 after more than 1.3 million tests. Of them, 15,102 are considered recovered, 106 have died and 675 are active for the virus, including 24 who are currently hospitalized. 

According to the most recent count, 70 COVID-19 patients from surrounding counties are receiving medical attention at Carle Foundation Hospital. 


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