As some areas of the state are seeing new restrictions being imposed on businesses and gatherings due to increased cases of COVID-19, the Chicago suburbs, including Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside continue to flirt with danger.
Brookfield saw new cases of COVID-19 increase for the first time in a month, adding 20 more during the seven-day period ending on the morning of Aug. 25. That number marks the third-highest number of new cases in Brookfield during a one-week period since Cook County started gathering that data back in March.
The total number of Brookfield residents testing positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March is now 290, with four people dying from COVID-19.
North Riverside, meanwhile, has added enough cases in the past two weeks that the Cook County Department of Public Health has flagged the village as a hotspot on its online map displaying municipal “recent percent change” metric.
As of Tuesday morning, new cases in North Riverside during the most recent two-week period had increased 117 percent compared to the prior two weeks.
During the most recent seven-day period, five more North Riverside residents tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the village’s total to 106, including three deaths.
Riverside saw its rate of new COVID-19 cases fall for the second straight week, with seven new cases reported in the seven-day period ending the morning of Aug. 25. The village has had 151 residents test positive for the disease since the pandemic’s appearance locally in March. Two Riverside residents have died from COVID-19.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the test positivity rate for suburban Cook County – the area has been identified as Region 10 for the purposes of tracking COVID-19 data in the state – has hovered between 6 and 7 percent for the past month.
That is perilously close to the 8-percent positivity rate within any region for three straight days the state has set as a trigger for imposing new restrictions.
Until Monday, the only region affected by such restrictions was near St. Louis, but things moved closer to home on Aug. 24.
Will, Kankakee counties see new restrictions
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday announced increased restrictions for residents of Will and Kankakee Counties as the COVID-19 positivity rate there remained at or above 8 percent for three consecutive days.
Bars, restaurants and gatherings in those counties, demarcated as Region 7 in the Restore Illinois Plan, are facing similar rules to those implemented over the past five months by state officials trying to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The new restrictions, which will take effect Wednesday, are stricter than ones being enforced in Region 4, or the Metro East area of Illinois along the Missouri border. They do not apply to schools.
Establishments serving food and alcohol cannot serve customers indoors, and all outdoor consumption must end at 11 p.m. Patrons must be served at tables placed six feet apart, in observation of social distancing guidelines. Reservations will be required.
Employees cannot allow customers to assemble inside or outside while waiting for a table, alcoholic beverages or to leave. Bars must remove stools to discourage patrons from congregating.
Other rules include limiting social events to 25 people, or one quarter of a space’s capacity. Party buses will be banned and casinos and other gaming establishments must close at 11 p.m.
If, over a two-week period, the virus positivity rate drops to 6.5 percent or below, both regions 4 and 7 can reopen to the degree allowed under the Restore Illinois Plan.
Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.