Three Southern Illinois counties have been placed on the COVID-19 warning list from the Illinois Department of Public health — a jump from one county last week.
The list was released by IDPH Friday and includes the Southern Illinois counties of Massac, Pulaski, and Saline, along with 25 others. Hamilton County, which was the only Southern Illinois County on last week’s list, is no longer included.
The metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.
A Friday news release from IDPH states that although the reasons vary for why a county reaches the warning level, some of the common factors for an increase in cases and outbreaks are associated with university and college parties, college sports teams, large gatherings and events, bars and clubs, weddings and funerals, family gatherings, long-term care facilities, correctional centers, schools and cases among the community at large, especially among people in their 20s.
There are several metrics for determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. Some of these indicators, according to the IDPH, include 50 or more new cases per 100,000 people in the county, a more than 20% increase in weekly deaths for two consecutive weeks, or a seven-day test positivity rate above 8%.
A news release from Southern Seven Health Department shed some light on how Massac and Pulaski counties made the list. According to the release, Massac County had 128 potential new cases (based on 18 positive cases) per 100,000 reported, up from the previous week of 78 new potential cases based on 11 positive cases. The test positivity rate for Massac County was 9.9% out of 151 tests, up from 3.6% out of 224 tests the previous week.
COVID-19 numbers in Southern Illinois
|County||New Cases||Total Cases||New Deaths||Total Deaths||Recovered|
Pulaski County, the release states, had 439 potential new cases (based on 24 positive cases) per 100,000 reported, up from the previous week of eight positive cases. The test positivity rate for Pulaski County was 17.6% out of 108 tests, up from 7% out of 114 tests the previous week.
“Several counties in the Southern Seven region have experienced an increase in cases that can be attributed to large social gatherings and not following safety measures,” Southern Seven community outreach coordinator Shawnna Rhine said in the release. “We ask that all residents take warnings seriously and continue to wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, and stay home when sick to prevent further spread to our most vulnerable populations.”
The other counties on the list are Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fayette, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Monroe, Morgan, Putnam, Richland, St. Clair, Wabash, Washington, and Winnebago.
IDPH says it issues warning level metrics to provide local awareness and to help local leaders, businesses, health departments and the public make informed decisions.
A map and information of each county’s status can be found on the IDPH website at dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics.
On Twitter: @ismithreports
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