County again at COVID-19 warning level
Southern Seven Health Department reported on Friday, Sept. 18, that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk level in Union County had changed from blue to orange on the Illinois Department of Public Health, IDPH, County Level Risk Metrics Map.
An orange designation indicates warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the community.
After a number of weeks at the warning level, Union County had been off of the list for a week. The county went back to the warning level as the result of increase in two COVID-19 risk metrics for the period of Sept. 6 to Sept. 12.
Southern Seven Health Department reported that 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.
The IDPH county-level risk map can be viewed on the County Level Covid-19 Risk Metrics website.
Union County showed an increase in two risk metrics from Sept. 6 to Sept. 12, which led to an orange “warning” designation for the county.
The two risk metrics are new cases per 100,000 people and test positivity percentage.
The health department explained that the 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.
There were 148 potential new cases (based on 25 positive cases) per 100,000 reported in Union County, which was up from the previous week of 131 new potential cases (based on 22 positive cases).
A warning indicates the new case rate is greater than 50 cases per 100,000 people.
The test positivity percentage for Union County was 8.2 percent out of 305 tests, up from 6.4 percent out of 405 tests the previous week.
A warning indicates that the test positivity rate was above 8 percent from the previous seven-day period.
“Union County has seen significant swings in positive cases over the past two months that can be attributed to large social gatherings, July 4th and Labor Day events,” Southern Seven Health Department community outreach coordinator Shawnna Rhine said in a news release.
“We all want to return to our normal activities, but we must do so safely. Please wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick. Those simple steps are your best prevention.”
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 the accessibility of local COVID-19 testing in Union, Johnson and Pulaski counties, 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 Sept. 16, 965 residents had tested positive for the disease. A total of 25 deaths had been reported.
For the latest information about COVID-19 cases in the region, visit https://www.southern7.org/coronavirus-covid-19.html.
There you will find a link to the department’s Facebook page, which is updated Monday through Friday with community guidance and resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.
The health department also can be contacted by email at https://www.southern7.org/contact-us.html or by calling 618-634-2297.