By Bob Uphues
Mirroring a trend that's playing out statewide since the beginning of the month, local communities are seeing new cases of COVID-19 in numbers not seen for two months.
While there were no new fatal cases reported in Brookfield, Riverside or North Riverside for the seven-day period ending on the morning of July 28, the percentage increase of new cases in Brookfield and Riverside was the highest those villages have seen since the beginning of June.
New cases in Brookfield jumped 12 percent week over week as of the morning of July 28, with the total of new cases increasing by 24 to 225.
That 24-case week-over-week increase was the second-highest Brookfield has recorded since the county began tracking data in March and the most since the seven-day period ending May 19, when 31 people tested positive for the disease.
In Riverside, six more people tested positive during the seven-day period ending Tuesday morning, the largest one-week total in that village since June 2. Riverside recorded just six new cases of COVID-19 during the entire month of June.
In July, the village saw 16 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 112.
The only bright spot for the week was in North Riverside, where the Cook County Department of Public Health reported only one new case for the seven-day period ending Tuesday morning.
In all, 87 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in North Riverside, including three people who have died from the disease. Four Brookfield residents have succumbed to the disease, along with two Riverside residents.
State totals rising
Illinois' seven-day rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 tests continued to rise through the weekend, reaching 3.8 percent — more than a full percentage point higher than it was at the beginning of the month.
The positivity rate for tests completed has increased for seven of the past eight days, ticking upward from 2.9 percent on July 19. It's the highest the rolling positivity rate has been since it was 4.2 percent on June 11.
That comes after one-day positivity rates of 3.7, 3.8 and 4 percent on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, respectively. Over that three-day span, the state averaged about 1,399 new cases daily among an average of 36,537 tests completed over the same period.
Speaking Monday in Adams County, which is in the state's warning territory for COVID-19 trends, Gov. J.B. Pritzker continued to urge Illinoisans to wear masks and avoid crowds. Those measures will likely be necessary though at least the end of 2020, he said.
Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) appeared alongside the governor at the Adams County Health Department in Quincy. She urged all residents to wear face coverings, which a number of studies have shown can help limit the spread of the virus.
The senator called mask-wearing a "minor inconvenience" that is "so well worth it" to prevent spread of the lethal virus.
"We learn new things about this virus every day. But one indisputable fact is that it's highly, highly contagious," she said. "Even those that get very sick, and don't die, they have lingering health problems. Wearing a mask, I advocate [for], because it is such a simple thing to do."
Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 31 more COVID-19-related deaths over the three day period spanning July 25-27, bringing total fatalities since the pandemic began to 7,416 among 172,655 confirmed cases.
There have been more than 2.5 million tests performed in the state and the recovery rate from the virus is 95 percent for those 42 days removed from a positive test, according to the IDPH.
While Pritzker said the state is doing a better job handling the virus than its neighbors and others in the South, it does not take long for cases to spike.
"I can't tell you what's gonna happen August 10 or any date in August yet," he said. "What I can tell you is we've issued guidance for what we know right now, but we're all gonna have to keep watching."
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.