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MORRIS – After coming off of the Illinois Department of Public Health's warning status last week, the Grundy County Health Department announced Friday in a news release that Grundy County has returned to a warning level, according to the IDPH. The health department said that the county has returned to “orange” status because of an increased positivity rate (8.3%) and the number of new cases (94 per 100,000). Orange is a reference to the color used to denote counties that are at a warning level on the IDPH's map.
The IDPH uses numerous indicators when determining whether a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
• New cases per 100,000 people. If there are more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning. In the past week, Grundy County had 94 new cases per 100,000 people, up from 63 the previous week.
• Number of deaths. This metric indicates a warning when the weekly number of deaths increases more than 20% for two consecutive weeks. Grundy County had zero deaths for the 11th consecutive week.
• Weekly test positivity. This metric indicates a warning when the seven-day test positivity rate rises above 8%. In the past week, Grundy County's test positivity rate was 8.3%, up from 7.3% the previous week.
• Tests performed. This metric is used to provide context and indicate if more testing is needed in the county. In the past week, Grundy County performed 640 tests, up from 424 the previous week.
• Weekly emergency department visits. This metric indicates a warning when the weekly percent of emergency department visits for COVID-19-like illness increases by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks. In the past week, the percent of emergency department visits for COVID-19-like illness in Grundy County was 2.8%, down from 3.3% the previous week.
• Weekly hospital admissions. A warning is triggered when the weekly number of hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness increases by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks. The weekly hospital admissions in Grundy County for COVID-19-like illness was less than five for the 10th straight week
• Clusters. This metric looks at the percent of COVID-19 cases associated with clusters or outbreaks and is used to understand large increases in cases. In the past week, 2% of Grundy County's cases were associated with clusters.
• ICU availability. If fewer than 20% of intensive care unit beds are available in the region, this triggers a warning. In the past week, 40.8% of Grundy County's ICU beds were available, down from 45.2% the previous week.
Residents may also consult the IDPH website for regional and county-specific data to monitor trends. Regional data is updated daily, and county-specific data is updated weekly. Previously reported data is subject to change as databases are reconciled.
The North-Central region, which includes Grundy County, continues to see a decline in the positivity rate. This data is through Sept. 22, showing a positivity rate of 5.3%. The rate on Sept. 15 was 5.9%, Sept. 8 was 7% and Sept. 1 was 7.4%. This rate is important because additional restrictions will be imposed upon a region that reaches a positivity rate of 8% for three consecutive days.
Testing is available throughout the county, and protocol at each location is subject to change based on availability of resources. Mobile testing units organized by the IDPH also are available throughout the region.
To date, the total number of positive cases in Grundy County is 647 persons, with five residents who have passed away as a result of COVID-19 complications: one male in his 70s, two females in their 80s and two males in their 90s – each lived with underlying health conditions.
Presently, the Grundy County Health Department is following 67 people who are currently ill and in isolation, and each of their close contacts. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, close contacts of positive cases should quarantine for 14 days since the last encounter with the sick individual. More information about isolation and quarantine can be found on the CDC website.