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Local News

Will County's COVID-19 test positivity rate remains under 6%

Cases among 20-somethings remain a concern for health officials

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.

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Will County has seen marked improvement in slowing the spread of COVID-19 over the past week.

As of Friday, the county's rolling COVID-19 test positivity rate stood at 5.7%, well below the Illinois Department of Public Health's threshold of 8%.

The South Suburban region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, has recorded a test positivity rate below 6% over the past week.

It's a significant improvement from when the region recorded a positivity rate above 8% over multiple days in August, which triggered new mitigations. State officials lifted those additional restrictions Sept. 18 after the region's positivity rate fell below 6.5% for three consecutive days.

Still, Will County is recording 86 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, which exceeds the IDPH target of 50 new cases per 100,000. That mark is an improvement from recent weeks, however, when the rate climbed above 100 new cases per 100,000.

The county continues to meet IDPH targets for its number of tests performed, emergency department visits and hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness and intensive care unit bed availability.

"Things look to be going in the right direction, mostly. But again, we cannot get overconfident," said Steve Brandy, a spokesman for the Will County Health Department.

Brandy highlighted one particular problem area: the continued rise in COVID-19 cases among residents in their 20s. County health department data published this week showed residents aged 20 to 29 make up one-fifth of all COVID-19 cases in Will County.

While Brandy acknowledged it's rare for a young person to die after contracting COVID-19, he said the health department has been targeting messages on wearing masks and physical distancing to that age group to slow the spread.

Only one Will County resident in their 20s had died from COVID-19, according to county health department data.

"We hope to keep it that way," Brandy said.

For more COVID-19 information and resources, visit willcountyhealth.org.

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