CHICAGO (CBS) — Thirty of Illinois’ 102 counties are now designated at “warning level” for recent increases in new cases of COVID-19, including suburban Cook County, which has been added to the list for the first time since the state started sounding the alarm for individual counties in late July.
Counties are added to the warning list after surpassing two or more designated risk factors for the pandemic, such as having more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people; a 20% or larger weekly increase in deaths for two weeks; a 7-day positivity rate of more than 8%; a 20% or larger weekly increase in emergency department visits or hospital admissions for two weeks; or ICU bed availability of less than 20%.
The counties at warning level as of Friday 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. Although suburban Cook is included among the warning levels, the city of Chicago is not, because the state counts it as a separate area for the purposes of COVID data.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said the reasons for the increases in each county vary, but some common factors for recent increases in cases include weddings, large gatherings, outbreaks at 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. The state said cases connected to schools also are being reported, and general spread of the virus in the community also is increasing.
Suburban Cook County currently has 112 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. It’s the third week the county has been above 90 cases per 100,000 people. There also were 25 deaths in suburban Cook County last week; up from 15 deaths the week before.
Meantime, IDPH on Friday announced 2,149 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 20 additional confirmed deaths. IDPH has reported more than 2,000 daily cases eight times in August, after not reaching that mark at any point in June or July. In May, IDPH reported more than 2,000 daily cases 19 times.
The new cases come as IDPH reported 48,383 virus tests in the past 24 hours, for a one-day positivity rate of 4.4%. The seven-day statewide positive test rate for the past week stands at 4.1%, compared to 3.8% a month ago, and 2.5% in early July.
Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 229,483 cases of COVID-19, including 7,997 deaths.
As of Thursday night, 1,546 coronavirus patients in Illinois were being treated in hospitals, including 352 in intensive care, and 132 on ventilators. The state’s coronavirus hospitalization figures have been relatively flat this summer, even as overall cases have steadily risen since late June.
So far, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients have recovered from the disease, with a 95% statewide recovery rate as of Monday. The state’s recovery rate calculates the number of people who have tested positive for the virus, and have survived at least 42 days after their test.