More than 100 Sangamon County residents tested positive for COVID-19 on both Saturday and Sunday, setting a new daily record of 111 on Sunday. The county health department reported 285 new cases in its update Monday, which includes totals from the weekend.
Also on Monday, the governor imposed new restrictions on two regions - suburban Cook County and Metro-East St. Louis after surges in positivity rates and a decrease in hospital capacity. Those restrictions include shuttering indoor service at bars and restaurants.
Region 3 – the west-central Illinois region that includes Sangamon County - could be next, without a reversal in recent trends. The region’s positivity rate ticked up to 7.8% Friday, up from 7.5% Thursday, the latest data available on the Illinois Department of Public Health website. Three or more days of 8% or more triggers more rules.
Local medical experts gathered over the weekend to reiterate precautions needed to slow the spread and plead with residents to follow them - avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing, wash hands and wear a mask.
Dr. Brian Miller, president of the Sangamon County Public Health Board, said they aren’t discouraging people from getting together, but said to do it safely.
“It's good for your psyche, it's good for everybody,” he said. “But take precautions and wear your mask and don't go to large gatherings because that again is a petri dish for spread.”
With the new cases, the county reached 4,034 cases, about 2% of its population.
Twenty-three Sangamon County residents are in the hospital with the disease, and 64 have died since the beginning of the pandemic.
In Illinois more broadly, Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday noted the uptick in positivity rates for every region in the state. He said restaurants and bars caught flouting COVID-19 rules could have a run-in with the Illinois State Police with “first a warning, then a dispersal order and then a citation if they have to go that far," the governor said at a media appearance in Peoria.
IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike noted the state's current trend is not promising, and the mitigations are necessary to slow the recent explosion in new cases, and prevent more hospitalizations and deaths.
“If what we’re seeing today does not turn around, we are on a path to see more than 11,000 COVID deaths in Illinois this year," Ezike said.
As of Monday, 9,522 Illinoisans have died after a COVID-10 diagnosis.
17 more Illinoisans have died after a Covid-19 diagnosis. pic.twitter.com/pSBmsJ1H00
— Hannah Meisel (@hannahmeisel) October 26, 2020