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42 new COVID-19 cases in DeKalb County; health officials urge compliance as positivity rates rise

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The DeKalb County Health Department on Thursday announced 42 new cases of COVID-19, issuing an additional warning for residents to take precautions as the health region slides back into potential warning zones per Illinois Department of Public Health criteria.

New cases of the viral respiratory disease were identified in every age bracket in the county Thursday, with 28 out of the 42 cases in their 20s or younger.

In a statement issued by the Northern Illinois Rockford Region, DeKalb County Public Health officials urged compliance with health and safety regulations related to social distancing, washing your hands, crowd control and wearing a face covering or mask.

"The local health departments want our communities to move forward toward recovery and not have to return to stricter measures to prevent further rise in community spread of COVID-19 that is driving the increase in positivity rate," according to the release. "The LHDs cannot do this on our own. Each of us has a role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

The total number of cases as of Thursday rose to 1,586, and no new deaths were announced. No new cases were linked to long-term care facilities Thursday, and Northern Illinois University reported just four more cases, one day after the university reported its largest single-day total of cases identified in a 24-hour period.

Some NIU cases may not count towards the DeKalb County total, as cases reportedly linked to campus could be among those who live outside the county. The DeKalb County Health Department only reports cases linked to county residents, likewise, NIU reports cases linked to campus regardless of residence.

Extra precautions

Officials are urging residents to take three additional measures in preventing spread of the viral respiratory disease: get a COVID-19 test, limit contact with others or identify a close group of contacts and keep to that limited group. If you have children in school, officials urge parents or guardians to keep playdates limited to classmates.

"Be intentional about your action and activities," according to the release. "Leave a place where guidelines are not being following, people are not masking or social distancing, or the gathering is too large."

DeKalb County is designated Region 1, which also includes Rockford and northwest Illinois counties that border Wisconsin and Iowa, both states seeing surges in COVID-19 cases currently.

Region 1 turned in a 7.5% positivity rate on Wednesday, and Gov. JB Pritzker warned that the region that includes DeKalb County has a positivity rate growing “at a concerning rate," a sentiment echoed by the health department Thursday.

The state has a threshold of 8% for three consecutive days before it steps in for mitigations. It has done so on two occasions in the past two months, putting restrictions on Region 4 (Metro East) and Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties).

Region 1 was placed in a warning category per the IDPH Sept. 11, and taken out of it the following week. Rising cases and positivity rates could bring that category back this week, officials said in a news release.

Restrictions for those regions included limiting indoor dining, no indoor service for bars and no seating of multiple parties at one table in restaurants, among other efforts aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus.

By the numbers

New cases Thursday included 13 in residents 19 or younger, 15 in their 20s, five in their 30s, two in their 40s, one in their 50s, two in their 60s, three in their 70s and one in their 80s.

To date, long-term care facility cases include seven at Oak Crest-DeKalb Area Retirement Center in DeKalb. Willow Crest Nursing Pavilion in Sandwich remained at 66 total cases of the viral respiratory disease, with 13 deaths in residents. DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center remained at seven cases.

The death toll remained at 38 in the county (the latest reported Friday was an infant, younger than 1 year old).

In total, 262 cases have been reported among residents younger than 20, 480 in their 20s, 214 in their 30s, 194 in their 40s, 172 in their 50s, 104 in their 60s, 74 in their 70s and 86 in their 80s or older.

According to county data, the city of DeKalb reports between 836 to 840 cases (up from 805 Wednesday). There are 206 to 210 cases in Sycamore (up from Wednesday); 166 to 170 in Sandwich (up from Wednesday); 126 to 130 cases in Genoa; 71 to 75 cases in Cortland; 31 to 35 in Hinckley; 26 to 30 in Kingston and Kirkland; 21 to 25 cases in Malta and Somonauk; 11 to 15 in Waterman and Shabbona; and six to 10 in Maple Park. Esmond, Leland and Earlville each report one to five cases.

Cases listed on the county site are for those only occurring within the county; for instance the Earlville numbers only count Earlville residents who reside in DeKalb County.

The Illinois Department of Public Health lists cases and tests performed by ZIP code, while the county health department lists cases by municipality. Numbers vary between state and health departments because of data lags.

The 60115 ZIP code, including DeKalb, had 784 cases reported and 13,487 tests administered (a positivity rate of 5.7%); the 60178 ZIP code, including Sycamore, had 208 cases and 5,371 tests (3.9%); the 60548 ZIP code, including Sandwich, had 3,911 tests and 235 cases (6.0%); the 60112 ZIP code, including Cortland, had 75 cases and 1,224 tests (6.2%); the 60135 ZIP code, including Genoa, had 121 cases and 1,836 tests (6.5%); the 60145 ZIP code, including Kingston, had 27 cases and 465 tests (5.6%); the 60146 ZIP code, including Kirkland, had 32 cases and 652 tests (5.0%); the 60520 ZIP code, including Hinckley, had 30 cases and 659 tests (4.6%); the 60550 ZIP code, including Shabbona, had 12 cases and 582 tests (2.1%); the 60151 ZIP code, including parts of Maple Park in both DeKalb and Kane counties, had 41 cases and 919 tests (4.5%); and the 60556 ZIP code, including Waterman, had 12 cases and 391 tests (3.4%).

As of Thursday, IDPH reported 281,371 people in Illinois have tested positive for COVID-19, while 8,538 people have died statewide. The number of tests performed rose to 5,231,607. The site also lists statewide recovery rates, calculated by recovered cases divided by the sum of recovered cases and dead cases. The statewide recovery remained at 96%.

As of Sept. 18, there were 1,037 recoveries among the 1,463 confirmed cases, and 32,186 COVID-19 tests run on DeKalb County residents. Testing and recovery data is expected to be updated Friday.

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