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Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that state health officials have seen “troubling trends” in the Will County region due to its increasing level of COVID-19 spread.
During a news conference, the governor said many of the health regions in Illinois are going in the “wrong direction” in terms of their positivity rate for new COVID-19 cases.
Region 7, which included Will and Kankakee counties, has recorded five days of rolling test positivity increases, according to state data. The region’s rolling positivity rate has increased to 7.5% as of Monday.
If a region records three consecutive days averaging greater than or equal to an 8% rolling positivity rate, it would be subject to mitigation measures, including the reduction of capacity limits in bars and restaurants and limits on large gatherings.
The state has already imposed restrictions on Region 4, which includes the Illinois counties around the St. Louis area, as it’s seen a positivity rate above 9%.
“Local elected officials and health officials should pay close attention to the data for their communities and where necessary should step up and impose greater mitigations on a targeted basis to bring down the number of infections and positivity rate,” Pritzker said.
During a virtual meeting on Thursday, Will County Board Speaker Mimi Cowan, D-Naperville, asked her colleagues to remind their constituents to abide by the state’s safety guidelines like wearing masks in public and keeping 6 feet from others.
Cowan warned that the county’s increasing number of COVID-19 cases could lead to restrictions being placed on the region which could hurt residents and businesses.
“I do not want us to have to move back a phase and it seems that this increasing positivity rate is because we’re not quite taking this as seriously as a society as we did maybe back in April,” she said. “And I think we all know that’s true.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health last week placed Will County at “warning level” for its high rate of new COVID-19 cases and emergency room visits for COVID-19-like illness.
The Will County Health Department announced 138 new cases of COVID-19 in the county on Wednesday and 133 new cases on Thursday.
The health department has also reported one additional death due to COVID-19, a man in his 60s. In total, 355 people from Will County have died from COVID-19, as of Thursday.
The Will County Health Department provides more information and resources related to COVID-19 on its website at willcountyhealth.org.