WILL COUNTY, IL — Five weeks after being dropped from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of state counties at the warning level, and four weeks after additional mitigations were dropped for Region 7, Will County again finds itself listed as one of Illinois’ “warning level” counties.
Will County Health Department Executive Director Sue Olenek said in a release the top priority right now is for Will County residents to follow all COVID-19 precautions, with the immediate goal being no return of additional restrictions
“We all know what happened the last time we went orange,” Olenek said in a release. “We ended up with restrictions, and I don’t think anyone wants to go back to that. We must remember to follow the three Ws: Wash (our hands frequently), Watch (our social distancing), and Wear (your masks properly over the nose and mouth). Also, avoid the 3 Cs: Closed spaces, close contacts, and crowded places. When we relent on these principles, we see a surge in positive cases!”
Counties appear on the IDPH Warning Level list when they have hit two of a variety of factors showing signs of increased Coronavirus activity. One is a rate of new COVID-19 cases that is over 50 per 100,000 residents. For Will County, the week of Oct. 4-10 showed 133 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents (the previous week’s level was 87). The second factor Will County hit was a substantial increase in the amount of COVID-19 deaths, a release from the health department states.
Will County had 13 deaths for the week of Oct. 4-10, after a very slow period of COVID-19 deaths in late September.
Other factors include positivity rate; Will County’s was 6.2 percent Oct 4-10 and 5.5 percent the week before, the warning level is 8 percent, hospital admissions with coronavirus-like illnesses (CLI), and emergency room visits with CLI.
When Patch spoke to Silver Cross Hospital on Tuesday the hospital said hospitalizations had doubled over the course of a week. The hospital also stressed the importance of washing your hands, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
Counties designated as “warning levels” are asked to implement measures for increased testing and contact tracing, a release states.
The county health department said it continues to be active in doing both. 40 contact tracers, with more planned to be hired, are now working remotely to contact and collect information from those who have tested positive, and then contact residents who may have been exposed by someone who tested positive.
WCHD asks that residents be cooperative and forthcoming with contact tracers, as the information you provide could save yours or someone else’s life. When you are called by a contact tracer, your caller ID should read “COVID CONTACT” with the phone number 312-777-1999.
The helath department also continues to offer walk-in testing at its mobile medical unit at a variety of locations.
This article originally appeared on the New Lenox Patch