SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 13 counties in the state are now considered to be at a warning level.
Last week, there were 11 counties at the warning level including St. Clair, Randolph, and Perry Counties. Randolph County is no longer on the list.
Map of counties at warning level
The state health department says the 13 counties saw cases or outbreaks associated with businesses, long-term care facilities, large social gatherings, and out-of-state travel.
Officials say students returning to universities and colleges are also driving the recent increase in cases in several communities. The state’s press release says many students are not wearing face coverings or social distancing and they are also gathering in large groups or at bars.
Jackson County, Illinois is home to Carbondale where SIU-Carbondale is located.
The state says a county enters a warning level when two more or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increases.
The state has a County Level COVID Risks Metric page it uses to determine what areas are at a warning level. The data is based on metrics ending on Aug. 1.
The state is also divided into 11 regions to help track COVID resurgence. The data there was updated on Aug. 7 and shows for the region including St. Clair and Monroe County shows the positivity rate is falling there.
Here are the indicators IDPH uses to determine 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 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.