Nearly two months into a pandemic that has resulted in wide-scale interruptions to commerce and life in general, the most recent data published by the Cook County Department of Public Health appeared to show the rate of COVID-19’s spread slowing in Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside.
As of the morning of April 28, the county was reporting that 66 Brookfield residents had tested positive for COVID-19 and that the village still had not seen a fatality from the disease which results from infection by the novel coronavirus.
Tuesday’s number of new positive cases was a 24.5 percent increase in cases from a week earlier, but it marked the third straight week in Brookfield where the rate of new cases had declined.
The village saw a dramatic spike in the number of COVID-19 cases – a 300-percent jump – on April 7 from the prior week. That rate tapered off to 76 percent on April 14 and to 43 percent on April 21.
However, the number of cases continues to rise in Cook County and statewide, causing Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week to modify and extend his stay-at-home order until May 31.
Local governments that already had declared states of emergency in response to the pandemic, including Brookfield and North Riverside, followed suit by extending their own emergency declarations, which have included closing parks and playgrounds and, in North Riverside and LaGrange Park, requiring face coverings of everyone working or shopping in local businesses.
Local officials, like Riverside Fire Chief Matthew Buckley, said he hopes people don’t take the latest numbers as a sign they can start relaxing their guard against the spread of COVID-19.
“It just concerns me that if people don’t continue to do what we’re doing, the numbers will go rapidly up,” Buckley said. “Our residents have been doing a good job of doing what they’re supposed to do. The numbers show people are doing their part.”
In North Riverside and Riverside as of April 28, the rate of new cases reported by the county had increased by just about 13 percent week over week in each of those villages.
The county was reporting 34 cases and zero deaths in Riverside, although Riverside does have at least one known fatality as a result of COVID-19, a 58-year-old man who died on April 11.
North Riverside had 33 cases and two fatalities as of Tuesday morning, according to Cook County. The deaths were reported on March 31 and April 15.
Unlike in Brookfield, where the rate of new cases has trended downward for three straight weeks, numbers in Riverside and North Riverside have been unpredictable.
Riverside saw its largest spike in cases as of April 14, when the numbers jumped 120 percent over the prior week. In the past two weeks, the rate slowed to 36 percent week over week on April 21 and to 13 percent April 28.
But in North Riverside, numbers have ping-ponged weekly for the past month. On April 7, the village saw a 150 percent spike in new cases from the prior week, before seeing that rate drop to 30 percent on April 14.
But on April 21, the rate weekly rate of new cases had jumped again to 123 percent before falling on April 28 to a little less than 14 percent week over week on April 28.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that as of the morning of April 28, a total of 13,271 people has tested positive for COVID-19 in Cook County, with 525 people dying of the disease.
Statewide there have been almost 2,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and nearly 46,000 cases reported.