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La Salle County is on Illinois' warning list for COVID-19 for the second time in four weeks.
A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.
Warning status indicates there are signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
La Salle County has continued to see a spike in the number of confirmed cases since early July.
To date, there have been more cases in August than there were in June and July combined.
There were 67 confirmed cases identified in June and 261 confirmed cases identified in July. As of Aug.14, the county has identified 430 confirmed cases this month.
Until La Salle County can get a handle on the number of new cases being identified each week and slow the community spread occurring, La Salle County will continue to be at risk for remaining at the warning level.
In addition, per the county-level risk metrics provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the seven-day test positivity rate has risen above 8%, as well as emergency room visits for COVID-like illness have increased by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
The La Salle County Health Department’s contact tracing efforts continue to show small clusters of cases among families and household contacts. Social and family gatherings, household sharing, workplace exposures, long-term care outbreaks and community spread have all contributed to the uptick in confirmed cases since the beginning of July.
“There are simple, preventative measures that will make a difference as we continue to try to make measurable steps forward against this virus," said Julie Kerestes, public health administrator of La Salle County Health Department, in a press statement. "Wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, washing our hands, and limiting our social gatherings and interactions are all things each one of us must do, every day. These everyday actions show we care for our family members, co-workers, and community,”
In addition, the La Salle County Health Department recommends anyone who has attended a large event or a social gathering where social distancing was not being practiced to monitor themselves for symptoms. Health officials advise anyone who has had exposure to these types of situations to consider being tested for COVID-19 five to seven days after the event or immediately if they begin to develop symptoms.
The county-level metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness for each county’s progress during Phase 4 and will help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions and promote healthy behaviors.
The risk factors include several indicators monitored by the Illinois Department of Public Heath in order to measure the health burden of COVID-19 in each county and aid in determining the county’s ability to respond to the virus. The measures are updated on a weekly basis and are based on the timeframe of Sunday to Saturday of the week prior.
The metrics are compared to a target value or expected trend. Each county is assessed to determine whether it is meeting or exceeding each indicator target. Using a color-coded system, counties will be able to determine whether they are meeting or not meeting set targets. Blue indicates that the county is experiencing overall stable COVID-19 metrics, while orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
The La Salle County Health Department encourages residents to stay informed on the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone interested in receiving the Health Department’s weekly coalition bulletin directly, may sign up to have the bulletin sent to their email. For questions, contact the Health Department at 815-433-3366 or to sign up for the bulletin go to the Health Department’s website at www.lasallecounty.org.