Chicago-Area Counties Approach ‘High Community Levels' of COVID as Cases, Hospitalizations Rise

Chicago-Area Counties Approach ‘High Community Levels’ of COVID as Cases, Hospitalizations Rise

Every Illinois county within the NBC 5 viewing area is now at a “medium community level” of COVID-19 according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, with several potentially jumping to the “high” level as soon as next week.

According to the latest data released by the CDC on Thursday, a total of eight Illinois counties are now at that “high community level” of COVID-19. That includes a cluster of counties along the Wisconsin border, with Boone, Stephenson and Winnebago counties all jumping into that category this week.

Lee County, which is next door to DeKalb County, is also in that “high” category, as are Peoria and Tazewell counties. Ford and Champaign counties are in the “high community level” classification as well, officials said.

According to the CDC, a county will be considered at a “high community level” of COVID-19 if it is seeing more than 200 new weekly COVID cases per 100,000 residents, and if it is seeing either 10 or more new COVID admissions per 100,000 residents per week, or if it is seeing 10% or greater hospital bed use by COVID patients.

Under those metrics, several counties within the NBC 5 viewing area are rapidly approaching the “high community level,” including Cook County. There, 367.34 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents are being reported, and 9.8 new COVID admissions per 100,000 residents per week are also being reported.

Also included in that hospitalization cluster (a group of counties that the CDC categorizes together because of health care service patterns and proximity) are DuPage, Lake and McHenry counties.

Kankakee County, which just this week moved into the “medium” range as it reported 222.1 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents, could soon follow suit and jump into the “high” range, as its hospital admissions are now up to 8.8 per week per 100,000 residents.

CDC officials say that DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties are seeing 8.1 new admissions per 100,000 residents, meaning that those three counties could also find themselves in the “high community level” range by next week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending travelers get tested for COVID-19 as close to the time of departure as possible.

In the event that a county reaches a “high community level” of COVID, residents are advised to wear masks indoors regardless of COVID vaccination status.

Those residents who are immunocompromised, or who live in a household with those residents, are urged to consider avoiding “non-essential indoor activities,” and to consult with their physicians on additional steps that may need to be taken.

While city and county health officials have not definitively said that a move to the “high community level” could trigger a new mask mandate, some have indicated that such a strategy could be implemented in the event of strain put on medical facilities.

Here are the latest data points from every Illinois county in the NBC 5 viewing area:

Cook County: 367.34 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 337.87)

DeKalb County: 406.11 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 360.35)

DuPage County: 439.91 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (down from 454.64)

Grundy County: 217.42 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 215.46)

Kane County: 322.12 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 308.41)

Kankakee County: 222.1 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 160)

Kendall County: 446.55 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 401.58)

Lake County: 424.53 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 398.4)

LaSalle County: 315.64 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 269.63)

McHenry County: 359.03 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 320.69)

Will County: 366.71 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents (up from 305.76)

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, warned Wednesday the U.S. will face a challenging fall and winter without additional congressional funding for testing and treatment.

Hospitalization Data:

CDC Region That Includes DeKalb, Kane and Kendall Counties

New Weekly COVID Admissions Per 100,000 Residents: 8.1

Percentage of Staffed Beds in Use by COVID Patients: 2.7%

CDC Region That Includes Cook, DuPage, Lake and McHenry Counties

New Weekly COVID Admissions Per 100,000 Residents: 9.8

Percentage of Staffed Beds in Use by COVID Patients: 3%

CDC Region That Includes Grundy and Will Counties

New Weekly COVID Admissions Per 100,000 Residents: 7.8

Percentage of Staffed Beds in Use by COVID Patients: 3.5%

CDC Region That Includes Kankakee County

New Weekly COVID Admissions Per 100,000 Residents: 8.8

Percentage of Staffed Beds in Use by COVID Patients: 2.9%

CDC Region That Includes LaSalle County

New Weekly COVID Admissions Per 100,000 Residents: 7.1

Percentage of Staffed Beds in Use by COVID Patients: 2.8%

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