Will County warns residents of rising COVID-19 rate


Region 7 is headed toward rolling back from Tier 3 mitigations, put in place in November by Gov. JB Pritzker to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

But the Will County Health Department warns that while Region 7 — Will and Kankakee counties — is set to hit the metrics for that rollback, Will County alone has seen cases on the rise.

As of Jan. 9, the Region 7 test positivity seven day rolling average was 11%. But the average in Will County was higher, at 12.6%.

According to the Restore Illinois plan, in order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, it must experience less than 12% test positivity rate for three consecutive days and a greater than 20% available ICU and hospital bed availability and declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in seven out of the last 10 days.

Pritzker said all regions that were below the metrics as of Jan. 15 would be rolled back to Tier 2 mitigations.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Tier 2 mitigations include the following:

• All bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m. and may reopen no earlier than 6 a.m. the following day.

• No indoor service at bars and restaurants.

• Tables should outdoors and should be placed 6 feet apart.

• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting.

• No dancing or standing indoors.

• Meetings and gatherings are limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors.

• No party buses.

• Gaming and Casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25% capacity, and must follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable.

• Meetings, social events and gathering are limited to 10 guests in both indoor and outdoor settings.

• Organized group recreational activities, including sports, but excluding fitness centers, will be limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors.

• Groups are limited to 10 or fewer people.

The Will County Health Department issued a plea to all residents to stay vigilant.

“Please, we all need to continue do our part to help slow the spread of this virus,” the department posted to social media. “Wear your mask in public places and whenever spatial distancing is not possible, wash your hands often, and watch your distance, maintaining six feet of separation when possible. And please when possible, avoid crowded places and close contact with others who do not live in your household. Stay home if and when you can.”

The Will County Health Department has continued to ask the public to fill out an online survey to assist in planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Wilmington Police Chief Phil Arnold has urged all Will County residents to fill out that survey.

“It’s just to allow them to get a count of how many vaccines they may need, it’s pretty important to get that done,” Arnold told members of the Wilmington City Council last week.

“Right now, we’re still in phase 1a of the distribution, which is health care workers and long care facilities, The next step will be EMS workers, paramedics and EMTs, and then eventually we’ll get into firefighters and law enforcement and the other first responders. But, of everyone could please take that. It’s not just for government employees, it’s for everybody, every citizen in Will County, they’re asking them to take that survey just so they can get an idea of who is going to want a vaccine when they are available.”

The survey can be found on the department’s website, www.willcountyhealth.org

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 6,642 new cases of confirmed and probably COVID-19 infections, and 117 additional death, including eight in Will County.

Those Will County deaths include three people in their 90s, two people in their 80s, one person in their 60s, one person in their 50s, and one person in their 20s.

Also as of Tuesday, the total number of positive cases recorded in zip code 60481 since the start of the pandemic, which includes Wilmington, Shadow Lakes, Symerton, and surrounding areas, was 1,023.

The total number of cases recorded in 60408, Braidwood, is at 454.

The preliminary seven day statewide test positivity rate for Jan. 5 through Jan. 11 is 8.6%. As of the start of this week, 334,939 people in the state of Illinois had received COVID-19 vaccinations.