coronavirus illinois

30 Illinois Counties Now at ‘Warning Level' for Coronavirus, Health Officials Say

Last week, 20 counties were at a "warning level," 14 of which remained on the list Friday

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Thirty counties in Illinois, including Cook County, 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, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Cook,  Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Jasper, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Madison, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Sangamon, Shelby, St. Clair, Union, Warren, White, Will and Williamson.

Last week, 20 counties were at a "warning level," 14 of which remained on the list Friday.

"Public health officials are observing people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings," the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement. "In some counties, local law enforcement and states’ attorneys are not enforcing important mitigation measures like social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

Some of the common factors for increases in cases, health officials said, were "weddings, large gatherings, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, travel to neighboring states, bars, and spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home." Some cases were also connected to schools.

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.

Earlier this week, new restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus took effect in two suburban counties that make up one of 11 health care regions in Illinois. Those counties include Kankakee and Will counties in Region 7, which saw a rolling positivity rate of 8% or higher for more than three consecutive days, automatically triggering the new restrictions.

Those restrictions include halting indoor dining and service at bars, with all outdoor service at bars and restaurants required to close at 11 p.m. Gatherings are also now limited to the lesser of either 25 guests or 25% of a room's overall capacity, and party buses are shut down.

Similar restrictions were already put in place in earlier this month in Region 4, the Metro East region based on its high positivity rate in testing.

The state of Illinois reported more than 2,100 new cases of coronavirus and 20 additional fatalities in the last 24 hours, public health officials also announced Friday.

According to data from the IDPH, the 2,149 new cases reported Friday bring the total to 229,483 cases throughout Illinois since the pandemic began earlier this year. The 20 additional fatalities bring the state’s total number of deaths related to the virus to 7,997, data shows.

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