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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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The Pandemic Pulse: Cottage Hospital Closure


A weekly update on Covid numbers across campus and the surrounding area


Hello Knox, 

Happy two weeks left in the term!

As a reminder, Knox data comes from the Knox Together Page, and these numbers include both staff and students. Data for the State of Illinois and Knox Country comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). 

When analyzing test positivity, I use the same language as the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Minimal: Test positivity is less than 5%

Moderate: Test positivity is in between 5% and 8%

Substantial: Test positivity is over 8%

Feb. 7 – Feb. 13

141 tests were done on campus last week, though testing was closed on Thursday, Feb. 10 due to the snow. Of these, 7 were positive.

The week of Feb. 7 – 13 had a 4.9% test positivity. This is a minimal test positivity. This is slightly higher than the week before, and bordering on a moderate test positivity. But, test positivity is not a perfect representation of the presence of Covid-19 on campus, as it only shows the percentage of people who got tested that are positive. If all 1,200 of us got tested and only 7 were positive, it would be much lower.

As of Friday, Feb. 13, 4 Knox students are in isolation on campus.

Galesburg (zip code 61401) had a 4.5% test positivity last week, which is a minimal test positivity and is down from 5.5% the previous week.

Knox County had 72 new Covid-19 cases last week, resulting in a 3.7% test positivity. This is also a minimal test positivity. Knox County performed significantly fewer tests last week than usual.

The State of Illinois had a test positivity rate of 3.1% last week. This is the first minimal test positivity for the state this year!

Topic of The Week: Cottage Hospital Closure

The Cottage Hospital closed earlier this year; an article for the TriStates Public Radio by Jane Carlson explains that it was a long time coming. Cottage Hospital opened in 1893, before St. Mary’s Hospital. Carlson explains how there has been an influx of patients to OSF St. Mary Medical Center as the services and staff at Cottage Hospital have diminished.

Cottage Hospital has had a tumultuous twenty years, going through several owners and filing for bankruptcy in 2020. The hospital also lost several board members and physicians in 2021. Carlson reports on an investigation done at the hospital in November of 2021, which led to Cottage’s Medicare program being terminated. The hospital filed for bankruptcy again in January, before several staff members were terminated.

OSF St. Mary Medical Center is doing its best to support the Galesburg community at large as the sole hospital in the area. The President of OSF St. Mary Medical Center Lisa Dekezel told Carlson that one of her top priorities was “to build infrastructure and add services to be prepared.” Dekezel also asks residents of Galesburg (this includes Knox students) to follow all Covid-19 protocols and only use emergency services when necessary, so as not to overtax the hospital.

I asked Director of Health Services Abby Putnam how this closure might impact the Knox community and if they were expecting it. She reported, “Although we were saddened, we were not overly surprised,” citing the decline of services and providers at the hospital over the past few years.

The biggest concern Putnam has about the closure is that students may be unable to access medical records and will therefore be unable to get medications or prescriptions. She encourages any student in this position to reach out to Health Services for support.

Putnam explained that, while many students saw specialists at Cottage, many of those same specialists have been hired at OSF St. Mary Medical Center. She believes that St. Mary’s “provides quality care for our community and will continue to grow to fill the needs.” She went on to explain that Health Services has a “very solid working relationship,” with St. Mary’s, and the closure of Cottage will not impact the care students receive at Health Services.

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About the Contributor
Eleanor Lindenmayer
Eleanor Lindenmayer, Editor-In-Chief
Eleanor Lindenmayer '25 (she/her) is a journalism major. She started working for TKS as a staff writer when she was in her first year. She has also worked as the discourse editor and is now the Editor-in-Chief. Eleanor has also been published at Tri States Public Radio, where she was an intern and a freelancer. Eleanor was born and raised in the pacific northwest and will argue that there is no better place on this earth. Awards Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 1st Place In Depth Reporting
  • 1st Place News
  • 1st Place Feature
Illinois College Press Association 2023
  • 2nd Place Columns
  • Honorable Mention Columns
Knox College 2023 Ida M. Tarbell Memorial Prize For Investigative Reporting    

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