Digital Access

Digital Access
Access theherald-news.com and all Shaw Local content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, sports, business, classified and more! News you can use every day.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in the area.
Local News

COVID-19 positivity rate for Will, Kankakee counties falls below 8%

Will County still at 'warning level' for fourth straight week

Medical professionals can be seen administering COVID-19 tests to students an faculty of Lewis University on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Romeoville, Ill.
Medical professionals can be seen administering COVID-19 tests to students an faculty of Lewis University on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Romeoville, Ill.

As a public service, Shaw Media will provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here

Will and Kankakee counties have recorded a rolling COVID-19 test positivity rate average under 8% for three straight days as of Tuesday, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.

The latest health data appears to show improving signs in the South Suburban region after it saw increasing spread of COVID-19 last month which triggered new mitigations. The IDPH announced new restrictions two weeks ago after the region's rolling positivity rate eclipsed 8% for three straight days.

The new restrictions, which included a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants, went into effect on Aug. 26.

State health officials said they would track the region's positivity rate over a 14-day period to see if mitigations could be relaxed.

The IDPH didn't respond to questions Tuesday about what changes, if any, might be made to the mitigations this week. Will County Health Department spokesman Steve Brandy said he hadn't heard any updates as of midday Tuesday.

Business leaders have criticized the state for how it rolled out the new restrictions. A group of area chamber groups wrote to Gov. JB Pritzker arguing the restrictions were "unfair" to bars and restaurants in the two counties.

The county health department has said it's been receiving reports of bars and restaurants not abiding by public health rules. Last week, executive director Sue Olenek said much of the spread could be attributed to patrons congregating at bars and restaurants without face coverings.

In addition, Will County has continued to see other worsening COVID-19-related trends.

The IDPH listed Will County at warning level for COVID-19 spread last Friday, along with 28 other counties. It was the fourth straight week Will County was on the list.

Will County again exceeded the IDPH standard for new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. The county has been reporting 99 new cases per 100,000 people, far exceeding the target of 50 cases per 100,000 people.

The county's test positivity rate was at 9%, which also exceeds the target of 8%.

A county is put at "warning level" if it fails to meet the state target for two or more metrics measuring COVID-19 spread. The other metrics include the county's number of COVID-19 deaths, number of tests performed, emergency room visits for COVID-19-like illness, hospital admissions and intensive care unit availability.

The Will County Health Department provides more information and resources related to COVID-19 on its website at willcountyhealth.org.

Loading more