Champaign County

Some Health Officials Find Their Hands Tied On COVID-19 Restrictions

Oct 30, 2020
Connie Kuntz

Sandra Martell is in a tough spot. As public health administrator in northern Illinois’ Winnebago County, Martell was threatened with lawsuits from several area bar owners after she included them on a list of businesses allegedly defying the governor’s orders to halt indoor dining.

The county is part of a region that faced tougher restrictions this month after the rate of positive COVID-19 tests rose above 8%.

Midway Village Museum

Some Illinois counties have lower pandemic death tolls than others. Part of the differences come from demographics. And just like on the national scene, Illinois results depend a lot on prevention efforts.

Winnebago County and Champaign County both have a mix of urban and rural populations. Winnebago County has nearly a third more COVID-19 cases than Champaign County, and six times the number of deaths.

Health Officials Respond To Whooping Cough Outbreak

Nov 29, 2017

Public health officials want parents and students to be aware of a whooping cough outbreak in Champaign County. 

There are seven confirmed pertussis -- or whooping cough -- cases in Champaign County schools, with 27 since October. Most involve high school students.

Dr. Arwais Vaid, epidemiologist for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, explained pertussis vaccines tend to wear off in children around 12 years of age. "So a lot of times, boosters are required, and even with that booster, the vaccine does not provide 100% immunity," Vaid said. 

A school district superintendent in southeast Champaign County supports Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, the school funding bill. But Andy Larson with Unit Seven said he was frustrated that the issue has turned into a political game.

“It’s gets really frustrating when we are used as the biggest political pawn out there for everybody to get their own agendas taken care of," he said.