There are now 46 Jasper County residents infected with coronavirus and tests for the deadly virus total more than 2 percent of the county’s population, based on figures released Sunday by the Jasper County Health Department.

The virus has killed five elderly residents in the county with Newton Care Center the focal point of the positive cases. There have been residents and employees of the nursing home infected. The spread of the virus came from a resident’s contact in March with a person infected but not showing COVID-19 symptoms. The asymptomatic factor has made it difficult to slow the spread of the disease in Illinois and across the country.

This has led to 232 tests as of May 3 for COVID-19 and 180 have resulted in negative results for the virus. There were six cases pending Sunday and the Jasper Health Department reported 26 persons have recovered, while one patient is hospitalized.

Newton Care Center and the Health Department have both drawn support and prayers from the community during this very personal battle against pandemic. Jasper County has the second highest number of deaths and cases in this section of Illinois, only surpassed by Jefferson County with 86 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths. All counties adjacent to Jasper have reported coronavirus infections.

Statewide, the total COVID-19 cases and deaths from the disease have not slowed down in recent weeks despite some encouraging dips at times. As of Sunday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported there were 61,499 confirmed cases in Illinois and 2,618 residents had died – the fourth highest totals among the 50 states. More than 319,000 residents had been tested for COVID-19, IDPH reported.

Across the country, 1.19 million people (nearly one third of the confirmed cases worldwide) are infected and more than 68,565 have died (approximately one fourth of the global death toll), based on official figures released Sunday. Fortunately, 153,000 people have recovered from coronavirus in the United States as of the weekend.