A statewide trend of new COVID-19 cases increasing appears to be playing out locally, with Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside as of the morning of July 21 collectively seeing their highest one-week total since the week following Memorial Day.
In addition, one more local resident has died as a result of COVID-19. The Cook County Medical Examiner reported that the 68-year-old man died on July 19.
The medical examiner’s online dashboard lists the man as a Riverside resident, but information listed in a more detailed online database of medical examiner’s records lists the man’s address as one in North Riverside.
The man becomes the third North Riverside resident to have died as a result of contracting COVID-19 and the first fatality reported in that village since April 15.
Week over week, five more people tested positive in North Riverside for COVID-19, the highest one-week total since the seven-day period ending June 9. North Riverside recorded just five new cases in the five weeks following that period.
Since the state of Illinois moved to Phase 4 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan on June 26, at least eight North Riverside residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the village’s total number of positives to 86.
Brookfield, meanwhile, saw the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19 rise by 12 in the seven-day period ending the morning of July 21, pushing the village’s total number of cases to 201.
The past week’s total was Brookfield highest number of new cases since the seven-day period ending June 2. No new fatalities were reported from COVID-19 in Brookfield, which has seen two die from the disease, according to the medical examiner.
Three more Riverside residents tested positive for COVID-19 during the most recent seven-day period, with fatalities remaining unchanged at two. Riverside’s rate of new positives was slightly lower than the previous week, when five new cases surfaced.
Since data started being collected by the county in March, 106 residents of Riverside have tested positive for COVID-19.
Governor voices concern
On Monday, state officials announced another 1,173 confirmed cases of the coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, as well as six more virus-related deaths. That brought the total since the pandemic first reached Illinois to 162,748 cases, including 7,301 virus-related deaths.
Laboratories reported 34,598 test results the previous 24 hours, making for a one-day positivity rate of 3.4 percent, which brought the rolling seven-day rate back to 3 percent after two days at 2.9 percent.
Hospitalizations remained stable near their pandemic lows at the end of Sunday as well, with 1,410 people in Illinois in the hospital with COVID-19, including 308 in intensive care unit beds and 133 on ventilators.
In a pair of public appearances on July 20, Gov. J.B. Pritzker touted Illinois as “the best of all of our neighbors” in suppressing the positivity rate. Aside from Michigan’s 2.7 percent rolling positivity rate, Illinois’ is the lowest in the Midwest.
But he said there’s still room for improvement as the positivity rate and hospitalizations for the virus have leveled, instead of seeing continued decreases.
“I worry about that because our numbers should be going down when actually they’re about steady,” he said when asked about a rise in cases potentially moving the state backward in its reopening plan. “And that’s not a good development – steady is better than up, I mean, let’s face it. But what should be happening is, we should continue the downward slide.”
He once again touted the importance of wearing face coverings, saying “above almost everything else it is what will keep you healthy and safe.”
“You don’t have to belittle people who aren’t wearing a mask, but they should get the idea when everybody else is wearing a mask,” he said. “If I told you that you could take a pill that would reduce your likelihood of getting COVID-19 by 80 percent, wouldn’t you do it? Well that’s what masks do.”
He said there was a “crisis of leadership” in the national response to COVID-19, once again calling out President Donald Trump.
“Having a president who does not wear a mask and does not encourage everybody to wear a mask is a problem. Not to mention denying science,” he said.
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.