Editorial: Testing gaps remain
topical

Editorial: Testing gaps remain

{{featured_button_text}}

Over the past two weeks, we have been reminded just how unprepared in some ways we were for COVID-19. The week before last we learned two inmates at the federal prison in Thomson, Ill., tested positive for the coronavirus. And, on Monday, we learned that 23 prisoners and four staff at the East Moline Correctional Facility tested positive, too.

We already knew that prisons were especially vulnerable, so it’s not that big a surprise that there would be cases here. What is disappointing is that we still are hobbled in dealing with them because of limited testing capacity.

Consider this: The head of the union representing workers at the East Moline facility says that inmates living in the same cell with someone who has tested positive aren’t necessarily being tested themselves.

"Right now we are testing the inmates with symptoms only," said Cody Dornes, president of AFSCME 46.

However, as scientists have made clear, people have spread COVID-19 without exhibiting symptoms. So, why not test all those who have come in contact with a person with COVID-19?

With respect to Thomson, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., has been told there isn’t the capacity to test all the prisoners who are transferred from one federal facility to another. This was after prisoners had been sent from a federal facility in Chicago, where there were cases, to Thomson, where there were none. Two of those transferred prisoners have now been found to have COVID-19.

Ever since the beginning of this pandemic, there has been clear evidence of a lack of testing capacity, even as some have claimed otherwise.

Illinoisans are fortunate that the number of known infections statewide is falling steadily. In Iowa, the infection rate relative to population is lower than in Illinois, but there isn’t the same decline in the number of cases. The numbers are unfortunately holding steady. This tells us, as if we needed further evidence, that the coronavirus is going to be with us for some time.

In some states, there are spikes in cases, and there is concern about the potential for a second wave this fall.

We took unprecedented steps to buy time to deal with this. But if people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 aren’t even being tested for the virus, we have to wonder how prepared are we, really?

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Thumbs Up … to the decision in Scott County District Court this week that hopefully puts to rest the long-simmering controversy over who rightly sits on the Davenport Civil Rights Commission.

Thumbs Up ... to those who are working to keep an African-American literature course part of the curriculum in the Rock Island-Milan School District. For a half hour at Wednesday's board meeting, the public urged the district to reconsider its plans not to offer the course at Rock Island High School for the 2020-21 school year.

Last Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it would make public more information about businesses that received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, the $670 billion federal effort to help employers hurt by the coronavirus-damaged U.S. economy.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's attempt to end the DACA program, which provides legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News