5 Illinois counties are at elevated COVID-19 community levels. Here’s the latest data

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated five Illinois counties at medium COVID-19 community levels in its Thursday update, down from 20 counties the previous week.

Hancock, Scott, Johnson, Massac and Wabash counties are at medium levels, along with St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

For the second consecutive week, the CDC rated no Illinois counties at high levels.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced in a Feb. 3 press release it recorded 10,137 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 76 deaths in Illinois for the week ending Jan. 29.

The CDC’s COVID-19 community levels are updated Thursdays and based on metrics from the past seven days, including new hospital admissions per 100,000 people, average percent of staffed, inpatient beds occupied by COVID patients and new cases per 100,000 people.

People in high community level areas are advised to wear a mask indoors and on public transportation, and the federal agency says people at a higher risk of severe illness should consider precautions in medium-level areas.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated five Illinois counties at medium COVID-19 community levels in the latest update.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated five Illinois counties at medium COVID-19 community levels in the latest update.

Illinois, U.S. public health emergencies to end

Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced Illinois’ public health emergency will end May 11, the same day the federal public health emergency is set to end.

IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in the department’s statement efforts will continue to focus on promoting vaccination and other precautions.

“It is welcome news that the White House and Governor Pritzker have announced that we are in a position to wind down the COVID-19 public health emergencies. This will give IDPH and our partners time to plan for the transition,” Vohra said. “However, we want the public to know that we will not let down our guard when it comes to protecting Illinoisans from COVID-19. The virus is still circulating and causing hospitalizations and deaths in the state. This is why we continue to focus our efforts on promoting vaccinations, testing and timely treatment, especially when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.”

Nonprofit health-focused organization Kaiser Family Foundation reported Feb. 3 the end of the national public health emergency may cause at-home COVID-19 tests to become more expensive for individuals with insurance.

The cost and availability of COVID-19 vaccines will not change as long as federally purchased vaccine supply lasts, KFF says.

COVID-19 in St. Clair County and statewide

As of Jan. 30, the most recent date for which data are available, IDPH reported Illinois’ weekly case rate at 79.6 per 100,000 individuals. The state’s seven-day rolling number of hospital admissions is 70, and 24% of Illinois’ intensive care unit beds are available.

The CDC reports St. Clair County’s weekly case rate was 69.31 per 100,000 people as of Feb. 1, down 2.17% from the previous week.

Test positivity is at 3.51% in St. Clair County as of Jan. 31, according to the CDC, and the rate of tests performed has declined by 7.16% as of Jan. 27.

The weekly average for new COVID-19 hospital admissions was 7.7 per 100,000 county residents as of Feb. 1, the CDC reports, and 3.9% of the county’s staffed inpatient beds were in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19.

The state agency reported one COVID-19 death in St. Clair County for the week.

As of Feb. 2, IDPH officials said 883 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois, including 121 ICU patients and 41 people on ventilators.

Information about vaccination and testing is available online in St. Clair County.

Note: Some CDC data, such as test positivity rates, the number of tests performed and weekly case rate, update on different days. IDPH data and CDC data may not update at the same time, so metrics may vary across agencies.