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Multiple counties in the TV6 viewing area at warning level for COVID-19

Six of the counties are in the TV6 viewing area.
Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 12:55 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Ill. (KWQC) - 30 Illinois counties are at ’warning level’ for COVID-19, according to state health officials.

On Friday, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) reported ten additional counties, which enter a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators measure the amount of a COVID-19 increase.

Officials said the reasoning behind the counties reaching a warning level can vary on multiple things. Some of the common factors for an increase comes from outbreaks associated with large gathers such as wedding, traveling out of state, going to bars or from long-term care facilities.

“Public health officials are observing people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings,” health officials said in a release, “In some counties, local law enforcement and states’ attorneys are not enforcing important mitigation measures like social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Several counties are taking swift action and implementing mitigation measures to help slow spread of the virus, including increasing testing opportunities, working with schools, meeting with local leaders, and educating businesses and large venues about the importance of mitigation measures.”

The 30 counties that are currently reported at a warning level are listed below. Those counties with a “*” after them are in the TV6 viewing area:

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, Williamson.

IDPH uses numerous indicators when determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. A county is considered at the 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 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.

• ICU availability. If there are fewer than 20% of intensive care units 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 perform. This metric is used to provide context and indicate if 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.

These metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness to help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do. The metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.

Henry County and Bureau Count are both in warning level. Henry was newly added. Both health departments are urging the public to continue taking advice from health officials seriously.

“We see so many businesses fighting for their survival. When phase four opened up and we said yes you have your chance, but you have to abide by some simple rules. Is masking fun? Not necessarily. But if it keeps your business open, compliance is the thing that you want to do,” RaeAnn Tucker, Director of Health Promotion for both Henry & Stark County Health Depts. said, “This next wave seems to be very much in rural areas that perhaps did not learn their lesson in previous wave when it hit metropolitan areas, such as Chicago.”

Hector Gomez, Public Health Administrator for the Bureau County Health Dept., said one of the reasons for increased cases in Bureau County is from traveling and not adhering to social distancing.

“The problem is you only need one person to be infected to be around several people and pass the virus,” he said.

The Bureau County Health Dept. is offering additional free COVID-19 testing. More information is on there their Facebook page, here.

A map and information of each county’s status can be found on the IDPH website at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics.

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