KANE COUNTY, IL — Kane County public health officials are urging residents to recommit to wearing masks and limiting the spread of the coronavirus after the county was placed back on the state’s watch list for new restrictions Friday.
Kane County’s positivity rate hit 9.1 percent Friday, up a full percentage point from the day before. That’s the highest it’s been since officials started tracking the measure in June.
Though Illinois' West Suburban region — which includes Kane and DuPage counties — remains below the state's thresholds for new coronavirus mitigation efforts, Kane County has reached the "warning level" for two of six countywide risk metrics the state is looking at.
Based on cases reported in Kane County between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, the county is at the warning level for the number of new cases per 100,000 people. Statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health show there were 114 cases per 100,000 people during that period, more than twice the state's benchmark of 50 cases per 100,000 people.
Kane County is also at the warning level for the state's metric for coronavirus-related deaths. Seven deaths were reported between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, a large increase over the previous two weeks. Under the state's metric, a county is at the warning level unless deaths remain stable or decrease week to week.
Barbara Jeffers, director of the Kane County Health Department noted that Illinois posted its highest single-day increase in cases Thursday with more than 4,000. That record was broken Friday when more than 4,500 cases were recorded in Illinois.
Similar trends are bound to occur in Kane County if residents don’t act now, Jeffers said.
“Unless we change our behavior as a community, we can expect to see more illness, death and economic hardship,” Jeffers said. “This is avoidable, and by taking precautions, together we can improve the situation for our residents and our businesses.”
Some part of the recent spike in cases is being fueled by people disregarding public health guidelines, with the Kane County Health Department fielding numerous reports of small and large gatherings with little social distancing and mask-wearing, Jeffers said.
“We understand that people are comfortable getting together with friends and family, but unfortunately, that is leading to increased transmission and will continue to be a threat as we enter the holiday season,” Jeffers said. “Kane County residents take care of each other and now is an important time for us to come together to protect ourselves and those around us.”
Jeffers called on younger people to heed public health guidelines, noting people in their 20s accounted for the largest number of new cases, with 40 percent more than any other age group.
“Even though this group may frequently have less severe illness, we have seen around the country that increases in this group lead to increases among all age categories,” Jeffers said. “Younger people exposing their older, more vulnerable family members is a serious concern.”
The Kane County Health Department is encouraging residents to notify them about business that are not following guidelines by calling 630-208-3801 or emailings.