FAIRFIELD, Ill. (WEHT) — Some residents of Fairfield in Wayne County, Illinois say they aren’t concerned by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This despite an uptick in cases over recent weeks and an outbreak of COVID-19 at a local community college. The Frontier Community College baseball team reported up to 30 cases on Saturday.
Health department officials reported a spike in numbers over the past week – while the positivity rate last week alone in Wayne County was nearly 16 percent. Due to an increase in rates and positivity from Sept. 6-12, a COVID-19 warning level has been issued.
Some residents along Main Street in Fairfield say they aren’t concerned about the growing cases of COVID-19.
“I mean there are so many people who have passed away because of this, they are saying because of this, and that wasn’t really the reason,” said Fairfield resident Deneice Johnson. “I think they are blowing the numbers out of proportion and they are blowing everything out of proportion.”
A sign reading “don’t believe COVID numbers, believe God’s numbers,” was put up outside of Uniquely Rustique in downtown Fairfield. The owners didn’t want to go on camera but say they believe the pandemic has been overblown and that the community already knows their thoughts on the matter.
Just a few blocks over at the Barb Wire Grill – more cases also comes with a price: less business.
“Now it’s been slowing down the past few weeks, COVID has kind of hit here, we are at 200 and something cases and it’s really slowed business down,” said Owner Amanda Bell. “People are scared, they are getting scared to get out.”
Despite more cases – the owner says she isn’t enforcing some health requirements like wearing a mask.
“We don’t make them wear masks or anything,” said Bell. “It’s kind of pointless to wear a mask, go to the table wearing a mask, take the mask off, then eat and put the mask back on, it’s kind of pointless.”
Bell believes in the midst of an Election year – there’s more to the pandemic.
“I think it’s political, a lot of it’s political, I think it is a thing but a lot of it is political,” Bell said.
Even with an increase in cases in Wayne County – several residents remain skeptical.
“My life hasn’t changed at all,” Johnson said. “I’ve worked every day since then, sometimes overtime, I think they just need to get back into the routine, regular lifestyle and quit being scared.”
Wayne County Health Department Administrator Clark Griffith said the department is focused on contact tracing and ten nurses are working around the clock to conduct that tracing across the county.
(This story was originally published on Sept. 18, 2020)