CHAMPAIGN — Local health officials recorded the largest-ever daily increase in COVID-19 cases Tuesday, with 55 new positive tests in Champaign County.
At least some of the cases can be linked to failures to follow required safety measures in bars, lots of parties and gatherings, and “people acting like we are not in a pandemic,” said Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.
"Any time people gather and spend time with others, even in their extended families, and they don't remain masked and distanced six feet at least there will be cases," she said. "These can, and have led, to hospitalizations and deaths."
CUPHD has received many complaints about bars and has had many positive cases linked to being in bars, Pryde said.
“One solution being discussed is that bars should only be open if people must remain seated, and follow restaurant rules,” she said. “Clearly allowing standing and movement within the bars is not working. It is not safe. That, however, is still allowed at this time.”
Pryde said CUPHD will have teams of inspectors going out to bars from midnight to 2 a.m. to look for violations and will be relaying information to city and county liquor commissioners for action.
“We are working with the cities and the liquor commissioners to ensure that there are consequences for bars that do not follow the infection control guideline during COVID,” she said. “These will include fines and potential suspension of liquor license. The community can help by not patronizing bars that are not following the rules. They are not safe, and we have already seen multiple outbreaks in bars and many cases with links to bars.”
With Tuesday's news, active cases were up 32, to 209, while recovered cases increased by 23.
There are now 13 county residents hospitalized with COVID-19, up one from the three previous days. The county death toll remained 18.
Champaign County’s seven-day positivity rate now stands at 1.7 percent.
In the last two weeks, the county has posted three of its four largest 24-hour new case totals:
— Today: 55 cases
— July 17: 43 cases
— May 19: 37 cases
— July 21: 36 cases