Will County Health Dept. asks for indoor masking

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STAFF REPORT

The Will County Health Department (WCHD) has joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to recommend that all residents should wear masks indoors in public settings, due to the county now being designated as a COVID-19 substantial transmission county by the CDC. The recommendation is for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.

“In the last few weeks we have seen positive COVID case numbers more than triple,” said WCHD Executive Director Sue Olenek. “It is mostly due to the Delta variant, but it is still COVID-19, and those who are unvaccinated are at risk. Please get your vaccination, and therefore limit the transmission of the virus. As the number of vaccinated individuals increases, the virus has less people to infect, and therefore less of an opportunity to continue mutating.”

Substantial transmission counties are described by the CDC as having 50 to 99 new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

In the last two weeks of July, Will County recorded 61 cases per 100,000 residents, and a test positivity rate of 3.8% with zero deaths reported.

However, during just the last few days of July, the test positivity seven day rolling average has increased in Will County. As of July 31, that number had grown to 5.5%.
According to the WCHD, much of the increase in cases in Will County has been traced to the current Delta variant, which CDC data has shown to travel from one person to another more than twice as easily compared to other COVID-19 strains.

Meanwhile, Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant announced new protocols around face coverings at Will County Buildings.

Masks or face coverings are now required of everyone entering a county building and throughout their entire visit to those buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

“We are listening to our public health experts and are health experts are saying that Will County is experiencing a rapid rise in infections amongst the unvaccinated and we know masking can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and its variants,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We will continue to follow IDPH and CDC recommendations to help protect our employees and the public. We encourage all individuals to vaccinate to protect themselves, their loved ones and your fellow neighbors.”

For more information on COVID-19 and vaccination and testing opportunities, please go to willcountyhealth.org/covid-

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