DuPage County's health department released a message to residents as the area braces for new coronavirus restrictions taking effect Friday due to increased positivity rates.
“We need to act and take this virus seriously," Karen Ayala, executive director for the DuPage County Health Department, said in a statement. "Although some people may feel tired of COVID-19, this is not the time to let your guard down. Everyone must come together to slow the spread of this virus in our communities to prevent illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19. The actions we take today will directly influence what happens in our schools, businesses, and communities in the coming weeks."
DuPage is one of four suburban counties that will see enhanced coronavirus restrictions go into effect on Friday after their regions exceeded the 8% positivity rate threshold for three consecutive days.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday afternoon. The new restrictions include the closure of indoor service at restaurants and bars as well as increased limitations on gathering sizes and sports activities. All party buses will also be banned.
Region 8, which holds DuPage and Kane counties, has seen its positivity rate spike dramatically, rising from 5.6% on Oct. 8 to 9% on Oct. 17, the last date for which data is currently available.
Region 7, which is comprised of Will and Kankakee counties, will also see those stricter mitigations begin Friday and Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, will have the new rules go into effect on Thursday.
One other Illinois region is currently under the enhanced mitigation rules, including Region 1 in northwestern Illinois.
DuPage health officials urged residents to wear masks, social distance, wash hands, avoid large gatherings and get a flu shot. They also reminded early voters to "head to the polls with safety in mind."
"People can vote safely be practicing the three Ws through wearing their masks, watching their distance and washing their hands or using hand sanitizers," Ayala said.
The news comes as Illinois continues to see record gains in coronavirus cases. The state has reported more than 26,000 new cases of the virus in the last seven days, a new record during the pandemic. The state’s rolling seven-day positivity rate now stands at 5.5%, the highest it has been since early June.
Those gains in cases and positivity rates have led to more talk of restrictions being put into place in Chicago and in other locations, but it is unclear at this time whether any statewide mandates could be put into effect to address the issues.