Local COVID-19 positivity rates are trending higher and Riverside saw its highest one-week total of new cases as the area began to feel the first breaths of winter approach, mirroring trends seen both statewide and nationally.
On Oct. 19, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that the statewide rolling positivity rate had increased to 5.4 percent, marking 15 straight days of increases.
That came as the state reported an average of 3,662 new cases each day from Saturday through Monday. Another 71 COVID-19 positive people died over the three-day period, bringing the Illinois death toll since the pandemic began to 9,236 among 347,161 confirmed cases with more than 6.8 million test results reported.
Hospitalizations, intensive care bed usage and ventilator usage for COVID-19 all spiked in the state as of Sunday evening as well.
In northeast Illinois, generally, positivity rates are even higher, according to regional data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The positivity rate in Region 9, which includes north suburban Lake and McHenry counties, increased to 7.3 percent, while Region 10 — suburban Cook County including the Landmark coverage area — increased to 6.8 percent. Chicago, which makes up Region 11, increased to 6.2 percent.
No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported for the seven-day period ending on the morning of Oct. 20 in Brookfield, Riverside or North Riverside. Deaths per day from COVID-19 statewide are also still down from the high average of 117 in May, but they are higher than the low daily average the state saw in August.
“While we continue to see a safer pandemic landscape than back in April and May, in terms of positivity, hospital capacity and community spread … things have changed,” Pritzker said while noting Illinois’ positivity rates are still generally lower than its Midwest neighbors. “Every region of the state has started to move in the wrong direction.”
Riverside posts weekly high
The village of Riverside experienced its highest number of new cases of COVID-19 during the seven-day period ending on the morning of Oct. 20. A total of 18 Riverside residents tested positive for the disease during that time frame, after posting consecutive weeks of 14 and 10 each.
While those kinds of numbers seem small, Riverside reported just 10 total cases of COVID-19 in the five weeks between June 2 and July 7. The highest one-week total for Riverside prior to this week was 15 from May 5-12.
According to the Cook County Department of Public Health, Riverside’s “recent percent change,” which compares case counts from the past 14 days to the preceding 14 days, Riverside’s caseload increased 25 percent over prior two weeks.
In all, since the pandemic began in March, Riverside has recorded 234 cases of COVID-19. Two residents have died.
That rate of increase is even more pronounced in North Riverside, where cases in the past two weeks increased 150 percent compared to the previous two-week period.
In the past two weeks, North Riverside has reported 14 new cases of COVID-19. That matches the total the village saw added during the five-week period between Sept. 1 and Oct. 6.
North Riverside’s total number of cases now stands at 141, with three residents dying from the disease.
And while Brookfield did not match its one-week high number of new cases, the village saw its new case rate increase by 27 percent for the two-week period ending on the morning of Oct. 20.
The village saw 22 people test positive for COVID-19 last week, and 20 the week before. The only other time the village saw two consecutive weeks of 20 or more new cases was when the village recorded 20, 20 and 21 for the three-week period between Aug. 18 and Sept. 8. The village’s one-week high is 31, set during the week of May 12-19.
Four Brookfield residents have died from COVID-19 since the Cook County Medical Examiner started tracking that data in March.
School districts report new cases
Officials at Riverside Elementary School District 96, where students have been attending classes in person since the beginning of the school year, announced in the past week that two more students and a staff member have tested positive for COVID-19.
On Oct. 14, Superintendent Ryan-Toye informed the Landmark that an Ames School student, a sibling of another student there who had tested positive the week before, had contracted the disease. The student had not attended class in person since Oct. 5.
Officials on Oct. 15, informed parents in an email that a Blythe Park School student had tested positive, but that it was not believed to have been connected to any prior positive cases reported in District 96.
Finally, on Oct. 19, the district reported that an employee had tested positive. The employee reportedly is not a teacher and had no close contacts with others in the district.
Brookfield-LaGrange Park Elementary School District 95, meanwhile, informed families that two students at Brook Park School in LaGrange Park had tested positive in the past week.
One student reportedly contracted it from a parent while the other tested positive after attending a family get-together.
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.