SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Rising indicators of the potentially deadly coronovirus have forced Illinois public health officials to place nearly one-fifth of the state’s counties on “warning level” status for the disease.
Two or more measurements for the spread of the highly contagious virus have exceeded allowable limits in each of the counties put on warning Friday. The process serves as notice that local officials should take action to mitigate the spread.
Twenty of the Prairie State’s 102 counties are on warning status: Bureau, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will, and Williamson.
Experts contend the most effective ways of slowing transmission are wearing face coverings over nose and mouth, keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet away from other people, and frequently washing hands. But the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a news release that health officials are seeing rampant disregard for wearing face coverings or observing social distance.
Contact tracing data show the spikes are fueled by people congregating at weddings, businesses, neighborhood gatherings, parties, bars, travel to other states and to sports camps.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 1,893 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Health department officials say they have confirmed six additional deaths due to the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 7,880.
The department reports 220,178 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state since the start of the pandemic. In the past 24 hours, laboratories around Illinois have conducted 54,351 tests, resulting in a preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate for the past week of 4.2%
Illinois health officials on Friday said 20 counties are now considered at a warning level for COVID-19, and that cases of the virus connected to schools are beginning to be reported.