WHEATON, IL — The coronavirus positivity rate in Region 8, made up of Kane and DuPage counties, this week reached its highest level since state public health officials began publishing the data.
In the third week of October, positivity rates continued rising across all but one of the state’s 11 COVID-19 resurgence mitigation regions. As of Friday, four of the regions are subject to state-ordered mitigation measures restricting indoor dining and other activities, including DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties.
In Region 8 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mitigation plan, the positivity rate reached 9.4 percent Tuesday, the most recent day where the seven-day rolling average is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The two-county region had seen nine days of increases in the previous 10.
The average number of new daily hospitalizations in the region also continued to rise. The rounded, rolling seven-day average of admissions to hospitals with “COVID-like illnesses,” or CLI, rose to 23 people a day Tuesday, up from 18 a week earlier — and twice the region’s hospitalization rate from a month earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of counties considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19, meaning two or more county-level risk indicators show an increasing risk of the virus’ spread.
Half Illinois counties are now at the “orange” warning level: Adams, Bond, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, DeKalb, Douglas, Edwards, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Gallatin, Greene, Hamilton, Henderson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lee, Macon, Macoupin, McDonough, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rock Island, Saline, Shelby, Stephenson, Union, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Wayne, Whiteside, Will, Williamson and Winnebago.
RELATED: Coronavirus Mitigations In Region 8 Start Friday
Public health officials said some businesses continue to disregard social distancing and face covering requirements, noting in a statement that “mayors, local law enforcement, state’s attorneys, and other community leaders can be influential in ensuring citizens and businesses follow best practices.”
On Friday, the state public health agency reported and 3,874 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 31 deaths.
As of Thursday night, there were 2,498 people in Illinois reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19, up by 482 from a week earlier and 38 percent more people than were hospitalized with the virus two weeks ago.
Of those currently in the state’s hospitals, there were 511 patients in intensive care units, 111 more people in the ICU than a week earlier. There were 197 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, 46 more than a week earlier.
Less than 83,000 tests were reported in the previous 24 hours. The statewide preliminary seven-day average positivity rate, as a percentage of total tests, is 5.6 percent for the week ending Thursday, up by 0.5 percentage points from a week earlier.
Illinois Coronavirus Update Oct. 23: More Than Half Of Illinois Counties Now At ‘Warning Level’ — Don’t miss updates about precautions in the Chicago area as they are announced — Sign up for Patch news alerts and
MCHENRY AND LAKE COUNTIES, IL — A spike in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions could mean Lake and McHenry counties could see an end to indoor dining or restrictions placed on sports activities as early as next week, health officials said Friday. Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, is teetering on the edge of the state’s thresholds that could trigger additional mitigations — all set up as a way to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
McHenry County, in particular, has seen a steep spike in cases with the coronavirus positivity rate jumping nearly two percentage points in just one week. As of Oct. 14, the 7-day rolling average for COVID-19 positivity rate is 8.9 percent in McHenry County and 5.9 percent in Lake County, according to Illinois Department of Public Health stats.
Region 9 is currently at a 6.8 percent positivity rate — up from 5.6 percent a week ago.
Also on Friday, the state set a record for new coronavirus cases for a second day in a row totaling 4,554 new cases. Meanwhile, hospitalizations jumped more than 14 percent since the beginning of the week. And McHenry County was added to the state’s “watch list,” due to concerning trends in COVID-19 cases.
Similar health trends are cropping across the Chicago area and state health officials are urging mayors, police, state’s attorney’s office and other community leaders to take swift action to slow the spread of the virus as people, they say, are not abiding by rules set up to keep everyone safe and healthy.
“Public health officials are observing businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings,” according to a news release from the state health department Friday.
Meanwhile, at least one school district in Region 9, Woodstock Community District 200, has decided to delay its move to hybrid learning due to COVID-19 trends. The school district only planned switch from remote learning to its hybrid model if McHenry County was on track on four of its COVID-19 metrics.
“According to the COVID-19 metrics provided by the McHenry County Department of Health, the county does not meet the metric for weekly count or new case increase. This number has increased for the previous two weeks and in fact has increased 51% for all of McHenry County residents and increased 42% for school age children in the last week,” District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan wrote in a letter posted on the school district’s website. “These significant increases caused the metric to fall short of the goal to move to hybrid instruction.”
In addition, area business owners are starting to worry what another shutdown could mean for their bottom line.
Melissa Blach, owner of Smoothology Smoothie Cafe in Crystal Lake, says her business has been destroyed by the pandemic, according to the Northwest Herald. Another shutdown for her cafe at 67 E. Woodstock Street if more restrictions are put in place for businesses in the county.