Coronavirus

IDPH: 24 counties under warning for COVID-19 outbreak

Number of counties under warning decreases by six in one week

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 24 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 24 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 24 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

The 24 counties currently reported at a warning level are Bond, Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Edwards, Effingham, Greene, Jasper, Jo Daviess, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Rock Island, St. Clair, Shelby, Washington, Wayne, Williamson, Wabash and Union.

"Although the reasons for counties reaching a warning level varies, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with university and college parties, as well as college sports teams, large gatherings and events, bars and clubs, weddings and funerals, long-term care facilities, correctional centers, manufacturing plants, schools and cases among the community at large," according to a news release from the IDPH. "General transmission of the virus in the community is also increasing.

"Public health officials are observing people not social distancing, gathering in large groups and not using face coverings. Some communities lack access to convenient testing before people become symptomatic. In some counties, local law enforcement and states’ attorneys are not enforcing important mitigation measures like social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Additionally, some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information on close contacts or answering the phone."

IDPH uses numerous indicators when determining whether a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity or there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.

A county is considered at warning level when at least two of the following metrics triggers a warning:

• New cases per 100,000 people. If there are more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.

• Number of deaths. This metric indicates a warning when the weekly number of deaths increases more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.

• Weekly test positivity. This metric indicates a warning when the seven-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.

• Intensive care unit availability. If there are fewer than 20% of ICUs 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 performed. This metric is used to provide context and indicate whether 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.

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