The rate of new COVID-19 cases continued to accelerate last week, with positive cases in Brookfield rising for the fourth straight week, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.

For the weeklong period ending May 2, there were 59 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Brookfield, up from 42 the prior week. As recently as April 5, Brookfield had reported a single-digit weekly increase.

Reinforcing the continuing threat COVID-19 is to those who are either unvaccinated or have underlying health conditions, the Cook County Medical Examiner reported that the death of a 60-year-old Brookfield man on April 23 was COVID-related, the 30th fatality of a Brookfield resident from the virus recorded by that agency.

Just how many in Brookfield have actually died from COVID-19 is unknown. The Cook County Medical Examiner has not tracked the deaths of Cook County residents outside of Cook County and on April 1 announced that it was no longer taking jurisdiction over COVID deaths in hospitals, nursing homes or hospice unless there was another factor that fell within the medical examiner’s jurisdiction.

New weekly cases of COVID-19 in Riverside as of May 2 climbed to 42. That is by far the highest weekly number since February and reflects a trend being seen generally in Cook County. 

The number of new weekly cases in North Riverside as of May 2 fell to nine after a spike of 20 the prior week. However, the 29 cases in the past two weeks roughly match the total number of cases recorded in North Riverside between Feb. 21 and April 18.

On April 29, the Cook County Department of Public Health announced that due to an increase in the number of positive cases, the county is now considered at a “medium” level of transmission after being at “low” transmission for many weeks.

County health officials are encouraging people to wear masks indoors, avoiding poorly ventilated indoor settings, testing before family or public events and getting vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19.

These recommendations are not new but are being emphasized to protect our communities from further increases in COVID,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer and co-lead of Cook County Department of Public Health, in a press release. “As hospitalizations remain low, we want to contain further spread now.”

While individual case rates have increased, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports that hospitalization and death rates have not matched new cases, believed to be driven by the omicron BA.2 variant of the virus.

Locally, the increase in cases is noticeable in schools, where mask mandates have been dropped and things are operating with few restrictions.

In Riverside District 96, Hauser Junior High reported 25 students tested positive for the week ending April 29, the largest weekly number since early January. In Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95, there were 18 new cases reported at Brook Park School and 25 at S.E. Gross Middle School.

And one week after an indoor-all school assembly, Lyons Township High School reported 33 students positive for COVID-19, up from seven students the prior week. For the second straight week, 12 staff were reported as COVID-positive.