- Editor’s Note: Kane County was removed from the IDPH warning list on Friday, Aug. 21. Click this link for an updated article.
Kane County’s Health Department director is urging residents to continue taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community today, as the Illinois Department of Public Health added Kane County to its watch list.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of positive cases over the past month,” Health Department Director Barb Jeffers said in a Friday news release. “We are seeing too many people disregarding recommendations, (and) that is leading to COVID-19-related increased illness and subsequent deaths.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health Watch List designation occurs when two of the eight metrics identified by the state reach the warning level.
For Kane County, the two measures that were above the set threshold include the new case rate and number of deaths.
The new case rate in Kane County reported by IDPH for the week ending Aug. 8 is 105 per 100,000; The goal is to be below 50 per 100,000.
There were seven deaths reported by IDPH during that week, up from five the previous week and four the week before that. The warning level for this measure occurs when there are two consecutive weeks with more than a 20% increase.
Kane County is meeting stated thresholds for other measures.
Jeffers reports that IDPH adding Kane County to the watch list is a reminder for the community that the pandemic is not over.
“We are all in this together,” Jeffers said. “By practicing proven measures today, we will reduce future cases, which in turn reduces disruptions in our business and school communities.”
Guidance includes wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet of social distance, washing hands frequently, avoiding large gatherings and staying home when you are ill.
The Health Department is announcing implementation of additional measures to enhance their response.
Starting Monday, an additional 90 full-time contact tracers will be conducting investigations and tracing activities, a fivefold capacity increase. The department’s goal is to respond to every case within 24 hours of identification so staff can quickly provide guidance to ill and potentially exposed residents.
“It is important for residents to answer the phone and participate in the investigation process,” Jeffers said. “In cooperating with the investigation; residents are potentially saving someone’s life by stopping the spread of the virus.”
The Health Department will also be augmenting its ability to respond to resident concerns about businesses that may not be taking steps to protect customers and employees. Residents can report their concerns by calling 630-208-3801 or e-mailing COVIDConcerns@co.kane.il.us.
The Health Department is working with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and State’s Attorney’s Office to investigate and enforce violations.
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.
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%.
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 percentage of COVID-19-like-illness emergency-room 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 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.
A map and information of each county’s status can be found on the IDPH website at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics.
SOURCE: Kane County Health Department news release