After three straight weeks of steady increases in the number of Riverside residents testing positive for COVID-19, the village’s president last Friday warned that the community was “letting our guard down” and that residents needed to recommit to safety measures such as social distancing.
“All of us have one responsibility during this time — to do no harm,” said Village President Ben Sells in a letter to residents emailed Aug. 14. “Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases are the major vectors for transmission, and none of us know at any given moment if we are sick and capable of transmitting the disease. The novel coronavirus is a potentially deadly virus that does not distinguish between political ideology, age, race, or gender. COVID-19 is an equal opportunity disease.”
The warning came after the Cook County Department of Public Health identified Riverside as a COVID-19 hot spot last week, with new cases increasing by more than 130 percent in the two-week period that ended on the morning of Aug. 11.
During the prior seven-day period, Riverside had added 14 new cases. It was the second-highest weekly total in Riverside since the county began tracking case data in March.
“We all know the drill; we just have to do it,” Sells wrote, ticking off a litany of prevention strategies, including staying home if you’re not feeling well, wearing a face covering, keeping physical distance and avoiding crowds, washing hands often and using hand sanitizer.
“Please do your part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Sells wrote. “Our lives, and the lives of people we love, depend on it.”
Whether or not that had any effect on Riverside’s numbers in the seven-day period ending the morning of Aug. 18, the village’s rate of new positive cases fell week over week.
Nine more residents tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the village’s total to 144. Riverside has suffered two fatalities as a result of the disease. No new fatal cases were reported in the past week.
Meanwhile, Brookfield saw its rate of new cases dip for the third straight week. For the seven-day period ending the morning of Aug. 18, the village added 11 new cases, bringing the total since March to 270.
Brookfield has experienced four deaths as a result of COVID-19, but not one since June 7.
Lyons, on the other hand has been identified as a hot spot by the Cook County Department of Public Health. With 274 total cases and nine deaths, the village’s rate of increase for new positive cases over the past two weeks was 147 percent as of Aug. 17. The last fatal case of COVID-19 in Lyons was reported June 15.
North Riverside as of Tuesday morning had its worst week in terms of new cases since May. The village saw eight new cases week over week, pushing North Riverside’s total since March to 101.
Three North Riverside residents have died from COVID-19, the last reported on July 19.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Monday that the state had recorded 1,773 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours. That brought the statewide total number of cases since the pandemic began to 207,854.
IDPH also reported 35 additional virus-related deaths since Friday afternoon, bringing the statewide total to 7,756.
Laboratories have processed just over 3.4 million COVID-19 tests. The single-day statewide positivity rate on Monday was 4.6 percent. The rolling seven-day average positivity rate was 4.2 percent.
Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.