COVID-19 Cases By Potential Exposure: Schools Are No. 1 Location Mentioned in Contact Tracing

COVID-19 Cases By Potential Exposure: Schools Are No. 1 Location Mentioned in Contact Tracing

  • Editor’s Note: This article was updated with more precise language regarding the data, the process of collecting data and the areas of exposure.

Data posted on the Illinois Department of Public Health website shows that school is the location most frequently named by infected people who participate in COVID-19 contact tracing — and the frequency of possible exposure at school is higher in Kane-DuPage Region 8 than it is for the state as a whole.

According to the data on COVID-19 Cases By Potential Exposure Location page, Region 8 is by far the area of the state that had the most instances in which a person identified as positive recently had visited a school.

Michael Isaacson

That said, Assistant Director of Community Health Michael Isaacson emphasized that schools, for the most part, “do pretty well” in following protocols like social distancing, wearing of masks, frequency of testing and monitoring of symptoms.

“Contact tracing identifies where a person who has contracted COVID-19 has been,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that location is where a person contracted the virus.”

The data posted on the IDPH page represent information collected through contract tracing. Location information is gathered by asking cases to recall locations visited in the 14 days preceding symptom onset or specimen collection if symptoms are not present.

The location name and type of location are entered into a centralized database called Salesforce®. For example, if a case visited a restaurant, the name of the restaurant and its address would be entered under the Location Type “Restaurants/Bars.” An individual case may have more than one location attributed to them because that individual visited several locations in the 14-day exposure period.

Locations provided by cases should be interpreted as locations where COVID-19 exposure may have occurred, not that these are definitive exposure or outbreak locations.

Statewide, the number of respondents exposed to COVID-19 visited schools more than four times more often than any other location.

After schools, the categories with the highest numbers of possible exposures were “Other”, Hospitals or Clinics, Restaurants or Bars, Business or Retail and Office Settings. See the chart below for details.

In Region 8, which is comprised by Kane County and DuPage County, 3,724 respondents said they had visited schools. That’s higher than any of the other 10 regions in the state.

State Data

Data from both confirmed and probable cases are included.

This list should not be interpreted as a complete list of locations where COVID-19 exposure has occurred within the state and is reflective of exposure information submitted to IDPH by local health departments.

As local health departments continue to implement new technology and build up their contact tracing efforts additional data will be collected. Data completeness is also affected by several factors, including ability to reach cases, willingness of cases to report location information, completeness of the location information provided, and differentiation in how contact tracers interpret and enter information provided.

These data are subject to change as contact tracers enter new information.

Data includes information elicited from cases opened within the previous 30 days from date of update.

For additional Data for Chicago (Region 11) click here.

Data will be updated weekly. Data Last updated: Jan. 7, 2022.

Definitions of Categories

  • Independent/Senior/Supportive Living refers to apartment complexes or housing groups that in which seniors live independently.
  • Daycare refers to childcare facilities, not adult daycare
  • Personal Services include hair and nail salons, tanning salons, massage services and similar
  • Schools includes both public and private schools.
  • Business or Retail includes auto dealerships, banks, clothing, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware & other retail locations without their own category (e.g. grocery stores)
  • Examples of locations included in Other include travel, vacations, entries pending category assignment and those which are not adequately captured by the above-mentioned categories

State of Illinois Regions

The state has 11 COVID-19 resurgence regions comprised of the following counties:

  • Region 1: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside & Winnebago counties
  • Region 2: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren & Woodford counties
  • Region 3: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler & Scott counties
  • Region 4: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair & Washington counties
  • Region 5: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White & Williamson counties
  • Region 6: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby & Vermilion counties
  • Region 7: Kankakee & Will county
  • Region 8: DuPage & Kane county
  • Region 9: McHenry & Lake county
  • Region 10: Suburban Cook county (including Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie & Stickney Township jurisdictions)
  • Region 11: City of Chicago