Union County again at COVID-19 warning level
Southern Seven Health Department reported on Friday, Oct. 9, that the coronavirus disease/COVID-19 risk level in Union and Johnson counties had changed from blue to orange on the Illinois Department of Public Health, IDPH, County Level Risk Metrics Map.
Southern Seven Health Department also reported that Massac and Pulaski counties remained orange for another week.
An orange designation indicates warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the community.
The health advised that residents are asked to remain vigilant to slow spread of the virus.
Eight different indicators are used to determine a county’s designation.
A county is considered at the orange “Warning” level when at least two of the main indicators are going in the wrong direction.
The health department said that individuals, families and community groups should use this information to help inform their choices about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do.
Both Union and Johnson counties showed an increase in two risk metrics from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, which led to an orange “Warning” designation for the counties for two categories: new cases per 100,000 and Test Positivity Percentage.
A warning for new case rate indicates the rate is greater than 50 cases per 100,000 people.
A warning for test positivity indicates that the percentage was above 8 percent from the previous seven-day period.
New cases per 100,000 people rate is a unit of measure calculated as a rate to compare the number of cases in large and small counties.
The rate is calculated by dividing the county case count for seven days by county population times 100,000. This describes the potential number of people who are currently ill and may be infectious in the county.
Union County had 196 potential new cases (based on 33 positive cases) per 100,000 reported, up from the previous week of 113 new potential cases (based on 19 positive cases).
The test positivity percentage for Union County was 9.1 percent out of 362 tests, up from 4.9 percent out of 347 tests the previous week.
Johnson County had 233 potential new cases (based on 29 positive cases) per 100,000 reported, up from the previous week of 96 new potential cases (based on 12 positive cases).
The test positivity percentage for Johnson County was 12.4 percent out of 193 tests, up from 3.3 percent out of 215 tests the previous week.
Although Massac and Pulaski counties both reccorded a decrease in the number of new cases and test positivity, the rates weren’t enough of a drop to remove the warning designation.
Massac County had 114 potential new cases (based on 16 positive cases) per 100,000 reported, down from the previous week of 128 new potential cases (based on 18 positive cases).
The test positivity percentage for Massac County was 9.4 percent out of 128 tests, down from 9.9 percent out of 151 tests the previous week.
Pulaski County had 256 potential new cases (based on 14 positive cases) per 100,000 reported, down from the previous week of 439 new potential cases (based on 24 positive cases).
The test positivity percentage for Pulaski County was 13.2 percent out of 91 tests, down from 17.6 percent out of 108 tests the previous week.
“As a nation, we realized this past week that this virus can affect any of us,” Southern Seven community outreach coordinator Shawnna Rhine said in a news release.
“These warnings for our region must be taken seriously, and safety measures must be followed to slow the spread of this relentless disease.”
The health department continues to work with businesses and many other facets of the community to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
These efforts have included increasing mobile COVID-19 testing in the region, building the Southern Seven contact tracing workforce, coordinating with law enforcement officials and county state’s attorneys to address executive order violations at businesses, and assisting schools, childcare providers, long-term care facilities and other industries with public health education and guidance.
Southern Seven Health Department reported the Southern Seven Region’s first COVID-19 case on April 1.
As of Oct. 8, 1,347 residents had tested positive for the disease. Twenty-five deaths had been reported.