30 Counties — Including DuPage, DeKalb — On IDPH COVID-19 Warning List

30 Counties — Including DuPage, DeKalb — On IDPH COVID-19 Warning List

A screenshot of DuPage County metrics from the county metrics page of the IDPH website.

The list of counties on the Illinois Department of Public Health has hovered around 30 for the past three weeks — but with different combination of counties in each iteration.

This week’s report, issued today (Friday, Sept. 11), shows two counties sharing a border with Kane County have made the warning list: DeKalb and DuPage.

As of today 30 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for novel coronavirus disease. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

DeKalb County has warnings in three categories.

The 30 counties are Bond, Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DuPage, Effingham, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jackson, Jasper, Jersey, Lawrence, Madison, McLean, Monroe, Morgan, Pulaski, Schuyler, Shelby, Stark, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington and Williamson.

According to the county metrics page of the IDPH website, DuPage is on the list for exceeding state guidelines for new cases per 100,000 and number of deaths. DuPage is showing 89 cases per 100,000 and just six deaths in one week.

DeKalb is missing the mark in three categories, showing 122 new cases per 100,000, a test positivity rate of 8.2% and 2,127 tests performed.

The benchmarks are 50 new cases per 100,000 people, a 20% increase in weekly number of deaths, a test positivity rate of 8% and the number of tests performed to determine if more testing is needed.

The counties are meeting IDPH guidelines in other categories.

According to the IDPH, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with college parties, weddings, large gatherings, bars and clubs, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, travel to neighboring states, and spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home.

Cases connected to schools are beginning to be reported. 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.  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, state health officials say some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information on close contacts or answering the phone. Individuals are also waiting to get tested believing their symptoms are allergies or some other cause.

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.

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.

Warning Triggers

  • 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 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.

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.

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

SOURCE: IDPH news release

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