COOK COUNTY, IL — After several weeks of declines in most parts of Illinois, coronavirus positivity rates crept up or remained stable across the state during the last week of September. Only one of the state's 11 COVID-19 resurgence mitigation regions, Region 5 in Southern Illinois, reported a decrease in positivity of more than 0.2 percentage points, according to state public health officials.
In suburban Cook County, or Region 10, the coronavirus positivity rate increased last week to 5.2 percent Tuesday, the most recent day for which data is available from the department. That marks a rise of 0.7 percentage points over the prior week.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Cook County suburbs also rose, as calculated by the rounded rolling seven-day average of new admissions. The average number of new hospitalizations rose by two to 23 people a day. At the same time, the availability of surgical beds and intensive care unit beds each declined by 2 points to 24 and 32 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, new restrictions go into effect Saturday in Northwest Illinois' Region 1, and more could be on the way in Region 6 in Central Illinois after the Illinois Department of Public Health this week announced it would exclude Champaign County from its metrics due to the high number of rapid saliva-based tests the University of Illinois is conducting.
The number of Illinois counties considered to be at a "warning level" for a surge in coronavirus cases increased by 11 this week to the highest number since early September, according to public health officials.
The 28 counties where two or more risk indicators show increasing coronavirus spread are, as of Friday: Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fayette, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Massac, Monroe, Morgan, Pulaski, Putnam, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Wabash, Washington and Winnebago.
Some of the common factors that had led counties to reach the warning level — meaning that two or more of eight county-level risk indicators show increasing danger — include college parties and sports, large gatherings, bars, clubs, weddings, funerals, nursing homes, prisons, jails and schools, the department announced.
"Public health officials are observing businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings," according to an IDPH statement. "Mayors, local law enforcement, state's attorneys, and other community leaders can be influential in ensuring citizens and businesses follow best practices."
If one of the state's 11 COVID-19 mitigation regions reports its positivity rate staying above 8 percent for three or more consecutive days, public health officials impose additional limitations on businesses and activities to slow the virus' spread.
This has led to increased restrictions in Region 4, which remain in place despite positivity falling below 8 percent since mid-September, and in Region 1, where new measures go in place over the weekend in Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties. Mitigation measures imposed on Region 7 were lifted last month after positivity rates declined.
Such restrictions may also be triggered by a seven-day trend of increasing coronavirus positivity rates coupled with a rapidly rising COVID-19 hospitalization rate — meaning hospital bed availability drops below 20 percent, or the rounded rolling average number of daily new hospital admissions with "COVID-like illnesses," or CLI, increases during seven or more days out of the previous 10. No region has yet come near approaching this alternate threshold.
As of Thursday night, there were 1,678 people hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, 41 more than a week earlier.
Of the people in the state's hospitals, there were 373 patients in intensive care units, up by two compared to a week earlier. The number of people on ventilators increased to 162, 13 more people than the prior week.
On Friday, state public health officials reported 2,206 new confirmed coronavirus cases from more than 72,000 specimens collected over the past 24 hours. The preliminary statewide seven-day positivity rate was 3.4 percent of cases out of all total tests conducted.
Illinois Coronavirus Update Oct. 2: More Than 2,000 Coronavirus Cases Reported For Second Day In A Row — Don't miss updates about precautions in the Chicago area as they are announced — Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.
Data through Tuesday was released Friday. Find the latest metrics from all regions below:
Region 1 (Rockford EMS region)
8.7 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, up by more than a full percentage point for the third week in a row amid new mitigations that take effect Saturday
Seven new daily hospital admissions of patients with CLI, up from four a week earlier
37 percent of surgical beds and 55 percent of ICU beds are available, compared to 38 percent and 50 percent last week, respectively
Region 2 (Peoria EMS region)
5.2 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, 0.1 percentage points lower than last week and down a full point since mid-September
11 new daily hospital admissions of people with COVID-19 symptoms, the same as a week earlier
39 percent of surgical beds and 39 percent of ICU beds are available, the same amount of surgical beds and 2 points fewer ICU beds than the prior week
Region 3 (Springfield EMS region)
5.7 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, up by 0.4 percentage points from a week earlier and by a full point from mid-September
Six new daily hospital admissions, up from four a week earlier
32 percent of surgical beds and 42 percent of ICU beds are available, the same percentage of surgical beds and 3 points more ICU beds than a week earlier
Region 4 (Edwardsville EMS region)
7.5 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, up from 7.1 percent a week earlier but remaining below the 8 percent threshold since Sept. 17. Additional restrictions placed by state officials on businesses and activities in the Metro East region remained in place as of Friday
Four new daily hospital admissions with COVID-19 symptoms, down from five a week earlier
30 percent of surgical beds and 38 percent of ICU beds are available, compared to 39 percent of surgical beds and 61 percent of ICU beds a week earlier
Region 5 (Marion EMS region)
5.6 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, down by 0.7 percentage points over the past week
Three new hospital admissions with CLI every day in the region, on average, the same as a week earlier
46 percent of surgical beds and 54 percent of ICU beds are available, the same percentage of surgical beds and 10 percentage points fewer ICU beds as compared to a week prior
Region 6 (Champaign EMS region)
2 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29 when including Champaign County, but 7.2 percent excluding the site of the University of Illinois' testing program. State public health officials this week announced Champaign County will still participate in any mitigation measures they impose if the rest of Region 6 qualifies for the restriction on its own
Eight people a day are being admitted to hospitals in the region with coronavirus symptoms, down from 10 a week earlier
35 percent of surgical beds and 41 percent of ICU beds are available, an increase of 3 percentage points in surgical beds and 8 points in ICU bed availability over the prior week
Region 7 (Will, Kankakee counties)
5.5 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, down by 0.2 percentage points during the past week
The rounded rolling average of the number of people newly admitted to hospitals with symptoms of COVID-19 fell from 11 to eight
25 percent of surgical beds and 32 percent of ICU beds are available at hospitals in the region, down from 28 percent of surgical beds and 33 percent of ICU beds a week earlier
Region 8 (Kane, DuPage counties)
5.5 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, up by 0.2 percentage points compared to a week earlier
12 people a day, on average, are being hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, up from 11 the prior week
29 percent of surgical beds and 44 percent of ICU beds remain available, 2 points fewer available surgical beds and 6 points more ICU bed availability a week ago
Region 9 (Lake, McHenry counties)
4.9 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, down by 0.1 percentage points over the prior week
Six new hospital admissions every day, the same as a week earlier
34 percent of surgical beds and 47 percent of ICU beds were available, 2 points fewer of each than the prior week
Region 10 (Suburban Cook County)
5.2 percent coronavirus positivity rate on Sept. 29, up by 0.7 points over the prior week
23 people a day admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms, on average, up from 21 a week earlier
24 percent of surgical beds were available and 32 percent of ICU beds were available in the region's hospitals, 2 points fewer of each available compared to a week earlier
Region 11 (Chicago)
4.6 percent positivity rate on Sept. 29, the same as a week earlier
The average number of people admitted to the city's hospitals with CLI rose from 20 to 24 — its highest level since Sept. 6
24 percent of surgical beds were available and 34 percent of ICU beds remained available, 1 point more surgical beds and 2 points more ICU beds than were available a week earlier