By Bob Uphues
As Illinoisans around the state wait to see the fallout, if any, of the gradual reopening of businesses, restaurant, bars and entertainment venues while the COVID-19 pandemic persists and is worsening in other parts of the country, the number of new cases locally remained low for a third straight week.
As of the morning of June 30, Brookfield had seen seven new cases of COVID-19 week over week, while Riverside and North Riverside registered two each. That brings the total number of people testing positive for the disease in Brookfield since data began being recorded in March to 175.
The Cook County Department of Public Health's online map tracking COVID-19's spread indicates Riverside has seen 96 cases and North Riverside 78. There have been no fatalities from COVID-19 recorded locally since June 6.
Four people in Brookfield have died from the disease, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's online dashboard, while two deaths have been recorded in North Riverside. The online dashboard continues to list one fatality in Riverside, although the Landmark has confirmed at least one more.
The seven-day rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 tests conducted remained at 2.7 percent Monday as the state reported the lowest single-day death total related to the pandemic since March 30.
There were 14 deaths reported Monday after 15 were reported Sunday and 26 on Saturday, bringing the COVID-19-related death toll since the pandemic began to 6,902 among 142,461 confirmed cases statewide.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also announced another 738 confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 26,918 tests completed over the previous 24 hours.
There were a combined 1,432 cases reported Saturday and Sunday as the number of new cases has leveled in recent weeks.
The number of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 continued to trend downward as well, with total hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients dipping below 1,500 over the weekend for the first time since the state began reporting the data daily on April 12, before ticking back up to 1,501 as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
COVID-19-related intensive care unit bed and ventilator usage dipped to their lowest levels as well, with 372 and 187 in use, respectively, as of 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Riverside opens its playgrounds
The Riverside Department of Parks and Recreation announced on June 29 that it is opening up playgrounds that had been closed since late March to limit the spread of COVID-19.
However, recreation officials are reminding kids and parents of kids who are using the playgrounds that there's still risk of infection and to follow some guidelines to limit that risk.
In addition to urging people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay away from the playgrounds, they're requiring that people maintain six-foot physical distancing and to wear face coverings when physical distancing can't be maintained.
They also warned that playground equipment is not sanitized on a regular basis and that anyone using the playgrounds sanitize their hands often and for families to bring along hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to clean hands after playground use.
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.