As the COVID-19 pandemic established its presence in Brookfield this spring, the village marked a grim milestone when the 100th case was reported seven weeks after the first appeared. Brookfield wouldn’t reach 200 total cases until July 20, some 10 weeks later.
As of the morning of Nov. 10, a total of 607 people had tested positive for COVID-19 – with 110 of those confirmed and probable coming in just seven days. The prior record for cases in a one-week period was 41, set just last week.
After seeing case increases through October of roughly 20 or so per week, the number of new cases have skyrocketed in Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside during the first two weeks of November.
“The virus is winning the war right now,” said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker during his daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago on Monday.
Riverside also blew past its previous record of 18 cases in a one-week period, with 54 residents testing positive or deemed probable for COVID-19 in the seven day period ending on the morning of Nov. 10.
North Riverside in the past week recorded 32 new confirmed or probable cases; the village’s previous one-week record was also 18.
No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported locally, but those numbers are rising statewide and the recent sudden spike in cases overall had Pritzker calling on local leaders to redouble their efforts to get the virus under control.
“Some elected leaders are allowing this continued rise in positivity to balloon out of control while taking no action,” he said Monday. “These mayors and city councils and county boards and state’s attorneys need to take some responsibility for keeping their constituents safe. I promise them that responsibility pales in comparison to what could come when the hospitals in your area are filling up and there aren’t enough nurses or doctors to save their constituents’ lives.”
Pritzker appeared to be talking partly about a reluctance on the part of some local leaders to enforce restrictions on indoor dining, which went into effect in suburban Cook County in late October.
While most local establishments have complied with the governor’s order, a few have openly defied it. In Brookfield, at least three establishments have flouted the indoor service ban.
Brookfield Village President Kit Ketchmark has argued that the village doesn’t have the authority to enforce the governor’s ban, but in the face of the latest numbers, he broached the subject of enforcement at the village board’s meeting on Nov. 9.
“We are once again asking all of our bars and restaurants to comply,” said Ketchmark. “We’ve had good compliance for the most part; I’ve had a couple that have not. Going forward we may want to consider some sort of local ordinance that would give us the power to enforce locally on this.”
Ketchmark noted Pritzker’s announcement Monday that he was ordering further restrictions on indoor gatherings in at least two more regions of the state this week, including DuPage County.
“It appears that Cook County may not be far behind,” Ketchmark said, noting that the village board might revert to a more remote model for its meetings in the future, where only 10 people would be allowed inside the council chamber at any one time.
Riverside already has reverted to village board meetings where trustees attend via Zoom. At their virtual meeting on Nov. 5, Village President Ben Sells urged residents to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.
“In the last two weeks, we’ve seen a 147-percent increase in COVID cases in our village,” Sells said. “The data suggests that these transmissions are being driven largely in private homes, in private settings, which means it’s up to us, in our own interactions with friends and family, to do whatever we can to start to reverse this trend.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rolling seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate for suburban Cook County on Nov. 6 was 12.2 percent, up from 8.6 percent just 10 days earlier.
All of Illinois has been on an upward trajectory of COVID-19 infections since early August. During his briefing on Monday, Pritzker noted the average number of new cases reported daily in Illinois has jumped 380 percent since Oct. 1, while the positivity rate has climbed 180 percent and both hospitalizations and deaths per day are up 150 percent.
For the week of Nov. 2-8, the average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 each day stood at 4,043, the highest it has been since the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in mid-May.
The average number of people in ICU beds stood at 799 per day, the highest number since early June, while average ventilator use stood at 349 per day, the highest rate since mid-June.
Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.