coronavirus illinois

20 Illinois Counties Now at ‘Warning Level' for Coronavirus, Health Dept. Says

Last week, 14 counties were at a "warning level," 11 of which remained on the list Friday

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Twenty counties in Illinois are now at a "warning level" for coronavirus, the state's health department said Friday.

The warning means each of the counties saw increases in two or more COVID-19 "risk indicators," the health department said.

The counties now under a warning include: Bureau, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will, and Williamson.

Last week, 14 counties were at a "warning level," 11 of which remained on the list Friday.

The counties each "saw outbreaks associated with weddings, businesses, neighborhood gatherings, parties, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, travel to neighboring states, bars, sports camps, and spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home," IDPH said in a release. Some cases were also connected to schools, health officials said,

"Public health officials are observing people not social distancing or using face coverings," IDPH's release read. "Additionally, there are reports of individuals who are ill attributing their symptoms to allergies or other illnesses, or not being forthcoming about their symptoms or close contacts."

Among the metrics evaluated to determine if a county has reached a "warning level" are:

• New cases per 100,000 people. If there are 50 or more new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.
• Number of deaths.  This metric indicates a warning when the number of deaths increases more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
• Weekly test positivity.  This metric indicates a warning when the 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.
• ICU availability.  If there are fewer than 20% of intensive care units available in the region, this triggers a warning.
• Weekly emergency department visits.  This metric indicates a warning when the weekly percent of COVID-19-like-illness emergency department visits increase by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
• Weekly hospital admissions.  A warning is triggered when the weekly number of hospital admissions for COVID-19-like-illness increases by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
• Tests perform. This metric is used to provide context and indicate if more testing is needed in the county.
• Clusters. This metric looks at the percent of COVID-19 cases associated with clusters or outbreaks and is used to understand large increase in cases.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said earlier this week that most of Illinois' 11 regions are seeing increases in positivity rates, but two in particular are reporting "troubling trends" as the state continues to see a rise in coronavirus metrics.

Already, the state's Region 4, the Metro East region, is under stricter mitigation requirements implemented by the state after the area rose above an 8 percent positivity rate for three days in a row. As of Tuesday, the region had a positivity rate of 9.4 percent and Pritzker warned additional restrictions like the full closure of indoor dining and drinking could soon be put in place.

In addition to Region 4, Pritzker said Regions 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 and 11 have also seen an increase in their seven-day rolling average positivity rate. Only three regions - Regions 1, 5 and 6 - have seen slight decreases.

Of those seeing increases in positivity rates, Pritzker said officials are "closely monitoring" what he called "troubling trends" in Region 7, which includes Kankakee and Will counties, as well as Region 5 in southern Illinois.

"I want to emphasize again that local elected officials and health officials should pay close attention to the data for their communities and, where necessary, step up and impose greater mitigations on a targeted basis to bring down the number of infections and the positivity rate," Pritzker said. "Otherwise, it may only be a matter of time before the state will be forced to step in on a regional basis in other areas and impose resurgence mitigations like closing bars, indoor dining, limiting all indoor gatherings to even smaller capacity and more to reduce the spread of the virus."

Health officials in Illinois reported more than 2,200 new cases of coronavirus Friday, along with a third straight testing record.

According to new data from the Illinois Department of Health, the total number of coronavirus cases during the pandemic so far now sits at 215,929.

Friday's 24 additional deaths bring the state’s death toll from the virus to 7,857 total fatalities.

According to officials, a total of 51,736 new tests were performed over the last 24 hours, marking yet another daily record and topping Thursday's 51,612.

Friday's results also drop the state’s 7-day rolling positivity rate to 4.3%, according to newly available data.

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