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IDPH implements new restriction in Region 4. Region 4, which includes East St. Louis and seven surrounding counties, has exceeded Illinois Department of Public Health criteria for COVID-19 spread, triggering additional mitigations in an effort to prevent uncontrollable spread of the virus. The region’s positivity rate averaged more than 8 percent for three consecutive days from Aug. 14 to Aug. 16. Starting Aug. 18 all bars in the region must close at 11 p.m. No ordering, seating or congregating at the bar.

Region 10, which includes Homewood and Flossmoor, was at four days of infection increases and three days of hospitalization increases as of Aug. 12. The region’s positivity rate was 6 percent.

Counties in trouble. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported on Friday that 14 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19 infections. Cook County was not among them, but neighboring Will County was.  A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

According to IDPH: “These counties saw ​cases or outbreaks associated with weddings, businesses, birthday parties, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, bars, sports camps, and spread among members of the same household.”

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IDPH uses numerous indicators when determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
A map and information of each county’s status can be found on the IDPH website

State numbers. As the above items indicate, COVID-19 infection numbers continue in the wrong direction statewide. For example, the average number of new cases per day for the first 14 days of August was 1,703. That’s nearly double the average in the first 14 days of July, 880. The numbers have not return to the May peak, when the first 14 days of the month averaged 2,500 new cases per day.

Two milestones this week: On Aug. 13 the state exceeded 200,000 total cases. And as national testing numbers are beginning to drop, Illinois set a new record of 49,541 testing specimens gathered on Aug. 14.

Local numbers. Homewood and Flossmoor have had no additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 since late July. Homewood had 14 new cases last week. Flossmoor had four. The rate comparison posted by the Cook County Department of Public health, which looks at the past 14 days rate versus the previous 14-day period, showed Homewood with a 41 percent increase and Flossmoor with a 26 percent decrease.

Grant assists with COVID-19 care: Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness, based in Olympia Fields, received a $50,000 grant helping offset a portion of the cost for work on an HVAC system at its Children’s Quarantine Center. The center offers services to foster children whose living situation is disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. It received the grant from Live Healthy Chicago. The funds are part of a $5 million donation from The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. 

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