11 ILLI­NOIS COUN­TIES HIT ‘WARN­ING LEVEL’ FOR COVID-19

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MITCHELL ARMENTROUT, STAFF RE­PORTER mar­men­trout@sun­times.com | @mitchtrout

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s pub­lic health team on Fri­day put 11 coun­ties on no­tice across Illi­nois for hit­ting a “warn­ing level” as the state’s re­bound in coro­n­avirus cases hit an­other apex with 1,941 newly con­firmed cases.

That’s the state’s high­est sin­gle-day caseload since May 24 — eclips­ing the two-month high tally set just a day ear­lier.

The lat­est cases were con­firmed among a record 49,782 tests re­ceived by the state, but it was still enough to raise Illi­nois’ rolling pos­i­tiv­ity rate over the past week to 3.9%. That num­ber, which in­di­cates how quickly the virus is spread­ing, was 2.6% at the end of June.

The state hasn’t topped 2,000 daily cases since late May, when it suf­fered its peak COVID-19 im­pact with an av­er­age of al­most 2,200 new cases and 100 deaths re­ported per day. Illi­nois closed out the month of July av­er­ag­ing 1,150 new cases per day, com­pared with 764 in June when the state’s curve flat­tened.

The Illi­nois De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health on Fri­day also an­nounced an­other 21 deaths have been at­trib­uted to the virus, rais­ing Illi­nois’ pan­demic toll to 7,495.

And a day af­ter Pritzker warned that the steady rise in cases has the state “at a dan­ger point,” the Illi­nois De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health sounded the alarm on 11 coun­ties with out­breaks tied to risky ac­tiv­i­ties — mostly among young peo­ple — rang­ing from grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies and soc­cer tour­na­ments to crowded bars, churches and restau­rants.

Those 11 coun­ties are scat­tered from one end of the state to the other. But the largest clus­ter is in the state’s south­ern tip — in­clud­ing St. Clair, Ran­dolph, Jack­son and Perry in the Metro East re­gion near St. Louis, and Gal­latin, Sa­line and White near the south­east­ern edge.

“Res­i­dents of many com­mu­ni­ties are not wear­ing face cov­er­ings that have been proven to re­duce the spread of COVID-19,” the health de­part­ment said. “Pub­lic health of­fi­cials are find­ing that most con­tacts to cases are test­ing pos­i­tive as well.”

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