For the first time since June, a Brookfield resident has died from COVID-19 and both Riverside and North Riverside set one-week records for the number of new cases as of the morning of Dec. 1.
The Cook County Medical Examiner reported that a 93-year-old Brookfield man died after being infected by the novel coronavirus. COVID-19, the upper respiratory disease resulting from exposure to the virus, has now killed five Brookfield residents. The man was pronounced dead during the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26.
The last time a Brookfield resident died from COVID-19 was June 7, but the number of new confirmed and probable cases continued their rapid ascent last week.
After a noticeable dip in the number of new cases for the seven-day period ending on the morning of Nov. 24, totals crept up again last week with 103 new cases being reported in Brookfield as of noon on Dec. 1, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.
Since the pandemic’s arrival in March, there have been 956 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Brookfield.
The Cook County Department of Public Health has reported 459 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Brookfield since Nov. 3. It took the village 31 weeks to log its first 456 cases.
While no one has died as a result of COVID-19 in Riverside or North Riverside since July, cases in both of those village continued to mount last week, with each village setting a new one-week record for new confirmed and probable cases.
Like Brookfield, both villages saw their one-week totals drop slightly for the period Nov. 17-24, new cases in Riverside and Brookfield shot up again for the week-long period ending on the morning of Dec. 1.
Riverside saw 69 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 509.
The number of confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 increased by 36 in North Riverside for the week-long period ending on the morning of Dec. 1. In all, since March, there have been 292 residents of the village who have contracted the disease.
Three North Riverside residents have died from COVID-19. In Riverside, there have been two fatalities to date.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that the COVID-19 positivity rate had fallen in suburban Cook County to 12.6 percent on Nov. 27. That was down from a high of 15.6 percent on Nov. 18.
Despite some slight improvement in key public health metrics over the past week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he has no immediate plans to roll back COVID-19 mitigation efforts as he warned of a possible post-Thanksgiving surge.
Speaking during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Nov. 30 in Chicago, Pritzker quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who warned over the weekend of “a surge within a surge” due to the large volume of holiday travel over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.
“He is not alone in that assessment,” Pritzker said.
“The dip in Illinois’ cases over the last few days comes as we are seeing near-record high numbers of hospitalizations, meaning that our ability to handle any new surge in COVID patients is still limited,” he added.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the daily average number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state actually fell Nov. 24-29, to 5,944. That was a decline of roughly 1.9 percent, from the previous week’s average.
But that number was still higher than the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in early May when it stood at 4,816, and it remained four times higher than the hospitalization rate recorded the week of Aug. 2 when it stood at 1,410.
As of late Sunday, about only 28 percent of the state’s staffed hospital beds remained available, while nearly 18 percent of all hospital beds in use were occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Pritzker said it could take several days, or even weeks, before the state sees what impact holiday travel and gathering will have on its infection rate, and he said he has no plan to scale back the Tier 3 mitigations in place for at least the next three weeks.
“I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households,” he said. “The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December. We’ll be watching the data closely to monitor for a Thanksgiving related surge in our case count, our positivity rate, our hospitalizations, and ICU admissions.”
Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.