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State: Four counties reach ‘warning level’ as COVID-19 spreads

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19.

(The Center Square) – State health officials on Friday reported that four Illinois counties reached a “warning level” for the spread of COVID-19 as risk indicators increased.

Adams, LaSalle, Peoria, and Randolph counties were reported at a warning level because of increases in two or more COVID-19 risk indicators, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently divided the state up into 11 regions and said that increases in key COVID-19 metrics could result in restrictions, such as closing bars and restaurants.

Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health officials on July 15 established three tiers of mitigation strategies to be used if a region meets the resurgence metrics. As of Friday, no region had reached resurgence level, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s regional data.

Mitigation strategies in higher-risk settings, such as indoor bars and restaurants, could be considered in regions that meet resurgence criteria, the governor’s office said earlier this month. State officials also outlined mitigation strategies relating to settings such as retail, fitness, and salons and personal care. Those could be put in place if testing and contact tracing data at the local level show they are needed, according to Illinois Department of Public Health.

In Adams County, the increase in risk indicators was linked to larger social events, health care exposure, travel to hot spots including Missouri and Iowa, places of worship, and youth sports, health officials said.

In LaSalle County, it was linked to large family and social gatherings, increases in cases among people younger than 29, younger people visiting bars and attending larger social events and inconsistencies with masking requirements, according to Illinois Department of Public Health.

In Peoria County, it was the result of increases in cases among those younger than 29, large gatherings including Independence Day parties and people traveling to Florida, Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin, according to Illinois Department of Public Health.

In Randolph County, it was linked to congregate settings, bars failing to comply with social distancing and face-covering requirements, and a party with more than 200 people and among households, according to Illinois Department of Public Health.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the metrics were intended to be used to help local leaders, businesses, health departments and people make decisions about personal and family gatherings and what activities they participate in.

A map and information regarding each county’s status is available on the department’s website.

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