Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a dire warning to one Illinois county about its spread of the coronavirus on Monday, as state data shows that the positivity rates in some zip codes within the county exceed 20%.
Pritzker appeared in Quincy, Illinois, on Monday morning to caution residents of Adams County to more strictly adhere to health officials' guidance on slowing the spread of COVID-19.
"New cases on a per capita basis are going up and so are emergency room visits," Pritzker said.
"What's happening here in Adams County is alarming and if these trends continue in the negative direction, the state will need to take immediate action to impose additional mitigations to slow the spread and keep more people from getting sick," Pritzker added, repeating a warning he's issued several times before that officials "won't hesitate" to impose stricter restrictions on areas seeing coronavirus metrics increase.
Adams County was one of four counties that the Illinois Department of Public Health placed on a "warning level" for coronavirus spread last week. IDPH said Adams County had reached "two or more COVID-19 risk indicators" to earn that warning and attributed the rising metrics in the county in large part to "outbreaks associated with business and risky behavior."
Specifically, health officials said Adams County was seeing rising metrics tied to: larger social events, health care exposure, travel to hotspots including those in neighboring Missouri and Iowa, places of worship, and youth sports.
Adams County sits in Region 3, one of the 11 regions that divide the state to allow for a more targeted approach to the pandemic response and mitigating community spread. The positivity rate of Region 3 - which sits at the western border of Illinois, next to Missouri and Iowa - was 3.8%, Pritzker said Monday, slightly higher than the rest of the state.
But data on individual zip codes across the state, published by IDPH, shows that the positivity rate in specific areas within the county is more than five times that figure.
Five towns in Adams County have each reported at least five confirmed cases of coronavirus – the minimum number required for reporting by IDPH.
Those towns are: Coatsburg (9 cases), Fowler (9 cases), Mendon (10 cases), Ursa (13 cases), and the county seat of Quincy, which – as of Monday morning – had reported a total of 254 cases in the two zip codes that cover the town.
The eastern portion of Quincy – specifically, zip code 62305 – had 26 positive test results out of 100 people tested over the past week. That yields a case-positivity rate of 26%. In contrast, the western portion of Quincy – zip code 62301 – currently has a 7-day case-positivity rate of just 2.3%.
The other area with a high positivity rate is Fowler, Illinois, which is zip code 62338. That zip code has had two positive test results out of a total of nine residents tested over the past week, creating a 7-day case-positivity rate above 20%, though that rate may be skewed considering the particularly small sample size.
"I want to urge the residents of Quincy and all of Adams County to follow the mitigations more rigorously," Pritzker said Monday. "Wear a mask. Do not enter a bar or restaurant or any enclosed space if it looks crowded, and keep six feet of physical distance."
"We're counting on local residents to hold your elected leaders accountable. Demand that they take action because if they don't, they'll drive the entire region back to greater closures and job losses," he continued. "There are proactive things you can do to help. Wearing a mask is like wearing a seatbelt: it's required and it saves lives."
Information on coronavirus metrics for each zip code, including those mentioned, can be found in the searchable tracker below: