24 student-athletes test positive after ‘college party’


Richard Bailey, Editor

Twenty-four Lincoln Land athletes may have become infected with COVID-19 in late August after attending an off-campus party, according to recently-released documents that track public coronavirus outbreaks. College officials said no outbreak has been traced to the campus.

The data came from the state health department and was obtained by a freedom of information act request as part of the Documenting COVID-19 project at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

In the data, it lists that the first symptoms occured on Aug. 28 after a “college party” at Deerwood Apartments attended by “many sports teams.”

An apartment complex named Deerwood Lake Commons Apartments is located off North Cotton Hill Road, about a mile from Lincoln Land’s campus.

The party left 24 students associated with a “local community college” in Springfield infected with COVID-19. This superspreader event was not announced by the college.

“As COVID-19 has had a profound impact across the world, LLCC students, faculty, and staff have not been immune to cases,” said Lynn Whalen, Chief Communications Officer for Lincoln Land, after being asked about the recent data being made public.

Continued Whalen: “To the best of our knowledge, these cases did not originate from exposure at LLCC. The college continues to follow all of the necessary safety protocols and works with impacted students, faculty, and staff as appropriate,”

The recently released documents that track public coronavirus outbreaks reveal other high numbers of infections in schools, correctional facilities, and meat packaging plants that have not previously been made public.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will disclose outbreaks that take place in assisted-living facilities and long-term care centers, but many locations where people become infected remain unknown to the public.

Other areas in Sangamon County that appeared on the list were:

  • Mill Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit, Springfield – 2
  • Timberlake Supportive Living, Springfield – 2
  • Concordia Village Senior, Springfield – 14
  • Heritage Health Springfield – 12
  • Auburn Rehab and Healthcare Center, Auburn – 34
  • Lewis Memorial Christian Village, Springfield – 5
  • Gaines Mill Place, Springfield – 12
  • Brother James Court, Springfield – 25
  • Chatham Tap Room, Chatham – 20
  • 183rd Wing Engine Shop, Springfield – 2
  • Sangamon County Community Resources – 3
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield, Springfield – 3
  • Villa East, Sherman – 221
  • Auto Zone Auto Parts, Springfield – 2
  • Centennial Pointe, Springfield – 44
  • Country Financial, Springfield – 5
  • Memorial Medical Center (ICU), Springfield – 15
  • Villa’s of Holly Brook and Reflections Memory Care, Springfield – 87
  • Heritage Health: Therapy & Senior Care, Springfield – 342
  • Cedarhurst Assisted Living and Memory Care, Springfield – 131
  • Win, Lose or Draught, Springfield – 14
  • Hillier Storage & Moving, Springfield – 2
  • Springfield Public Works, Springfield – 3
  • Kids Castle Learning Center, Springfield – 8
  • Children’s House of Central Baptist Church, Springfield – 2

The data from the health department is available here (Excel file). It includes information on dates, contact tracing efforts, etc.