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KANE COUNTY – An increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 is triggering warnings from Kane and DuPage county officials.
The two counties make up the West Suburban Region (Region 8) in the Restore Illinois plan. The two counties’ health departments are working together to track and reduce case counts.
The Illinois Department of Public Health uses several indicators to determine if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. A warning is triggered if there are 50 or more new cases per 100,000 people in a county in a one-week period.
Both counties currently exceed this level and are in the warning category for this trigger. Kane is currently at 66 cases per 100,000 and DuPage County stands at 73 new cases per 100,000.
According to the state’s plan, any region that sustains a positivity rate of 8% for three consecutive days or sees an increase in positivity rates along with a decrease in hospital capacity will need to implement additional community mitigation interventions. Interventions in the region will be chosen from a tiered ‘menu’ of options based on the severity and potential cause of the resurgence.
County health leaders could restrict the size of social gatherings, reduce capacity at businesses, or scale back operations in businesses that pose a higher risk of transmission, such as indoor dining, bars, salons and personal care services. Barbara Jeffers, executive director for the Kane County Health Department, stated that the science "tells us that COVID-19 is highly transmissible and can be spread by those who don’t know they have the disease."
"Our current defense for stopping the spread is to follow the current guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and IDPH," Jeffers said in a news release from the Kane County Health Department.
Region 8 currently meets the majority of state targets; however, health department leaders are concerned about the recent increases in key metrics and are proactively evaluating future actions.
Leaders from Kane and DuPage counties say they will take action that is consistent with the State of Illinois guidelines to limit the spread of disease if the metrics continue to indicate an increase of COVID-19 cases in the region.
“Working with our colleagues in DuPage County, we will take the prescribed actions by the Illinois Department of Public Health to maintain the public’s health, which is our mutual and top priority," Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said in the release. "This pandemic is far from over and we must maintain our vigilance and self discipline, following safety protocols to keep our residents safe from infection."
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin reiterated those comments
“We need everyone to work together to help us stop the spread of the virus,” Cronin said in the release. “Both DuPage and Kane counties were successful in reducing case counts through adherence to public health guidance in the spring and early summer. However, as these case counts creep up, we need to remind the public that their actions will impact the decisions health leaders make to protect our communities. We each play an important role in this fight.”
DuPage County Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala reminded all residents that in order to support our communities, businesses and schools, they need to all take action.
"Wear a face mask, watch your distance and wash your hands frequently," she said. "These actions help protect your neighbors, friends and community.”
Go to dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics?regionID=8 to view the Region 8 metrics on the IDPH website.