Cook County is among the 30 counties the Illinois Department of Public Health sounded the alarm about Friday for a resurgence in coronavirus cases.
That’s the largest number of counties that had reached “warning level” since the agency began issuing those weekly reports earlier this summer, and the first time Cook County has been on it. State public health officials said Friday “general transmission of the virus in the community” was on the rise.
Suburban Cook County’s addition to the state’s weekly warning list was triggered by 112 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, well above the state-set target of staying under 50 new cases per 100,000 people. An increase in the number of deaths, 25 compared with 15 the prior week, was the other factor. The state’s goal is that the number of deaths declines or remains level from week to week.
County officials said the regulations that are in place now for bars and restaurants, fitness centers and other activities will remain consistent, but warned that if the county continues to see a backslide, additional rules may be imposed.
“The guidance will remain the same for now,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “But we are at a crossroads. We need everyone to wear a mask, watch their distance and wash their hands consistently to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we don’t lose the gains we have made.”
The warning level applies to suburban Cook County and does not apply to the city of Chicago.
As of Friday, 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 counties were on the state’s warning list.
A county reaches that level when it surpasses at least two state-defined benchmarks for tracking the presence and spread of COVID-19 through a given community including weekly emergency room and hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illnesses, seeing 50 new cases per 100,000 people, and coronavirus clusters and deaths.
Last week, state public health officials considered 20 counties to be at a warning level, and 12 of the counties on this week’s warning list were on it for the second week in a row.
Will County is among the 12 holdovers from last week and earlier this week saw stricter rules put in place by the state for bars, restaurants and gathering sizes, aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The region, which includes Kankakee County in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan, surpassed a state threshold for test positivity rate that triggered more stringent regulations.
The state public health agency on Friday reported a seven-day statewide rolling positivity rate of 4.1% and 48,383 COVID-19 tests conducted during the prior 24 hours. The state also saw 2,149 newly confirmed cases and 20 deaths of people with COVID-19 on Friday, raising statewide tallies to 229,483 known coronavirus cases and 7,997 related deaths throughout the course of the pandemic.
The state Department of Public Health attributed some of the cases and outbreaks in those 30 counties to weddings and other gatherings, long-term care facilities, schools and out-of-state travel, and said in some areas law enforcement is not enforcing state-set face mask and social distancing rules.
©2020 the Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.