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Local News

Will County again on warning list for increasing rate of new COVID-19 cases

County's rolling test positivity rate increases to over 9%

A sign on the door of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 176 Union building in Joliet says visitors are required to wear a face mask when they enter.
A sign on the door of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 176 Union building in Joliet says visitors are required to wear a face mask when they enter.

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For the second straight week, Will County was listed at "warning level" by the state for worsening spread of the novel coronavirus.

Half of the counties in Illinois made the list this week, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The IDPH considers a county at warning level when it exceeds the target on two of a variety of factors that measure the spread of the virus in that county.

For the week of Oct. 11 through Oct. 17, Will County was reporting 179 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, more than three times the state's target rate of 50 new cases per 100,000. The mark is also higher than the previous week's, when Will County was reporting a little over 130 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Will County also saw a stark increase in its COVID-19 test positivity rate since early October. On Oct. 10, the county's average rolling positivity rate stood at 6.2%. By Tuesday, the positivity rate had increased to 9.5%.

The numbers that IDPH reports every day for COVID-19 tests represents the tests processed three day prior. The state's target for a county's test positivity rate is 8% or less.

Will County continued to hit the IDPH targets for emergency room visits and hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness and intensive care unit availability, according to the IDPH.

Still, state officials expressed concern this past week about hospital capacity in the South Suburban Region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties. As of Friday, the region's ICU bed availability stood at just 25%. The IDPH's threshold for ICU availability is 20%.

After the region's rolling test positivity rate eclipsed 8% for three straight days, state officials announced additional mitigations on the region starting Friday. The additional restrictions include a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars and a limit on social gatherings to 25 people, among others.

For more information and resources related to COVID-19 in Will County, visit willcountyhealth.org.

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