There were 29 people who were reported as positive for COVID-19 in Brookfield for the week ending on the morning of Aug. 10, the largest single-week total in the village since the end of April.
After reporting no new cases through most of July, Riverside reported six new COVID-19 cases for the second straight week, while North Riverside reported seven cases in the past week and a total of 16 in the past two weeks. That village had recorded just nine new cases in the prior nine weeks.
The rise in new cases, driven by the highly contagious delta variant, comes at a time when schools are about to reopen their doors to full-time, in-person learning. Students under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive vaccinations, which has led to a statewide mandate, announced by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week, for universal masking in elementary schools and high schools.
The governor’s order also included day care and long-term care facilities. Sian Stevens, the chief operating officer of Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care in North Riverside announced Aug. 6 that the nursing and skilled-care facility was adopting the policy immediately.
Caledonia, which mandated vaccines for all of its residents and employees in February had relaxed its masking policy as cases fell earlier this spring, so the new mandate is somewhat of a setback for residents and families.
“While I know this change is frustrating to hear I ask for your full support in complying with this IDPH guideline so that we can keep everyone safe and be in compliance,” Stevens said on Caledonia’s website.
In North Riverside, in particular, the vaccination rate is low among residents. According to the Cook County Department of Public Health, as of Aug. 8 just 37.3% of North Riverside residents were fully vaccinated and 45% had been administered at least one dose.
While the mask mandate did not extend to gatherings in other indoor settings, signs on the doors at the North Riverside Village Commons state that masks are required for entry. However, at the village board’s meeting Aug. 8, which drew a large crowd celebrating the installation of a new police chief, deputy chief, commander and sergeant, just a handful of those attending wore face coverings.
In Riverside, where more than 90% of residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine and 78.5% are fully vaccinated, everyone attending the village board meeting Aug. 5, including elected officials, wore face coverings.
In Brookfield as of Aug. 8, 56.3% of residents had been fully vaccinated and 68.5% had received at least one dose.
At the governor’s press conference last week announcing the mask mandate, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike stated that of the millions of fully vaccinated individuals, just 714 have spent time in the hospital with COVID-19, according to IDPH. Since January, 180 vaccinated individuals have died of COVID-19 symptoms, accounting for just 2.58% of the COVID-19-related deaths this calendar year. That number increased by 11 from the state’s reporting of the numbers last week.
That’s about 0.01 percent of vaccinated individuals who have been hospitalized for the virus and 0.003 percent who have died of complications.
“The overwhelming majority of cases, the hospitalizations, the deaths are among those who are not vaccinated,” Ezike said. “And the majority of transmission is also among the unvaccinated. … But the key is that we actually have the tools to turn the tide on the next wave. And that next wave wants to threaten us if we don’t avail ourselves of these tools.”
The seven-day rolling positivity rate in Brookfield was also up week over week, but fell in the 60546 ZIP code, which includes both Riverside and Brookfield.
As of Aug. 9, the seven-day rolling positivity rate in Brookfield had jumped to 6.53 percent compared to 2.74 percent on Aug. 2. In the 60546 ZIP code, the positivity rate was 3.66 percent, compared to 5.6 percent on Aug. 2.
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.