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Counties at COVID-19 warning levels in orange

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Many southern Illinois counties are now in the warning level for COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Indicators such as positivity rate, case numbers, deaths, and available health care are telling state officials that more needs to be done to stop the spread of the virus. A county enters a warning level when two or more risk factors indicate an increase in coronavirus.

There are 20 counties in Illinois that have now triggered warnings. They are: Bureau, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, Whiteside, White, Will, and Williamson.

The warnings are used to help local leaders to make informed decisions about business, school, and public guidelines. They are also released to help everyone determine what their risk factor is in any location. Some counties are using this information to increase testing and launch promotional campaigns to encourage mask-wearing.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says that there are outbreaks associated with, “weddings, businesses, neighborhood gatherings, parties, long-term care facilities, travel, bars, sports camps, and spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home. Cases connected to schools are also beginning to be reported.”

Risk factors that trigger the warnings from the linois Department of Public Health:

  • 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.