COVID-19 metrics continue to improve overall in Illinois, according to state health officials, but some counties are still listed as having high community levels of coronavirus, meaning masks are recommended.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its county-by-county community levels map Thursday, revealing metrics have improved in more than a dozen Illinois counties over the past week. A total of 21 counties were previously listed as showing high community levels, but that number has decreased to six.
According to CDC guidelines, in such areas, people are advised to wear masks in public indoor spaces, including schools, and take additional precautions if at risk for severe illness.
The following counties are listed in the high category:
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- Effingham County
- Fayette County
- Gallatin County
- Johnson County
- Perry County
- Saline County
According to the map, the COVID-19 situation has gotten worse in Effingham and Fayette counties, which were listed in the medium category last week. Gallatin, Johnson Perry and Saline counties were all listed as having high community levels the week prior as well.
As the CDC updated COVID metrics Thursday, the agency revealed more than 90% of Americans can safely remove face masks indoors, an increase from last week's 70%.
The CDC last week announced a shift in metrics that leans less heavily on COVID-19 cases and instead gives more weight to hospitalizations and hospital capacity. The guidance is broken into three color-coded levels.
People in green and yellow counties, with low and medium COVID levels, respectively, do not need to wear masks. However, people in yellow counties who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID should consult with their physician about whether they should wear a mask or take other precautions.
In the Chicago area, all counties are listed as having low community levels with the exception of Kenosha County, Wisconsin, which remains in the high category.
To learn more information about the situation in your community, you can find the CDC's map of community levels by county here.