October 16, 2020 – The IDPH reported 34 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19. Macon County is one of the additions to the list after being removed from the list last week. The other 33 counties include Adams, Alexander, Boone, Cass, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Jasper, Jefferson, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Lee, McDonough, McHenry Mercer, Monroe, Pike, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Stephenson, Union, Vermilion, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Whiteside, Will, and Winnebago.
Although the reasons for counties reaching a warning level varies, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with gatherings in people’s homes, weddings and funerals, bars and clubs, university and college parties as well as college sports teams, family gatherings, long-term care facilities, correctional centers, schools, and cases among the community at large, especially people in their 20s.
A county is considered at the warning level when at least two of the following metrics triggers a warning.
• 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.