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La Salle County was not one of 11 counties listed under a warning for a COVID-19 outbreak, but data issued Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health showed the county remained on an upward trend of cases.
Last week, La Salle County was one of four counties that received a warning from the state based on data from July 12-18.
The sudden increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive triggered attention from the governor's team, and led to Gov. JB Pritzker making a visit Thursday in Ottawa warning the county's health region may see stricter restrictions if hospital admissions continue to increase.
The number of cases per 100,000 increased from 63 July 12-18 to 79 cases per 100,000 July 19-25, which was flagged as a warning sign.
The percentage of tests coming back positive also increased from 4.5% July 12-18 to 5.6% positive July 19-25.
Between July 19-25, however, less than five La Salle County residents were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19-like illnesses and less than 2% of emergency visits were for COVID-like illnesses.
During that time period, La Salle County had 91 more confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the past week, La Salle County has had 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with one more day yet to count.
This week, La Salle County Health Department Administrator Julie Kerestes urged residents of the county – especially young ones – to up their efforts in slowing the spread of the virus.
“La Salle County has seen an uptick in the number of cases since moving into Phase 4, and especially since early July," she said. "Cases in the county have more than doubled since that time. La Salle County is experiencing community spread of the virus. Community spread of the virus means some people are testing positive and are not able to pinpoint when or where they are becoming infected, which is happening all over the county, not one particular area or town."
“In addition, our highest number of cases continue to be those who are 29 years and younger.”
The health department started sharing a weekly coalition bulletin with the public.
Since March, the La Salle County Health Department has been preparing a weekly bulletin that has been distributed to community health care partners and coalition members. The bulletin was intended to help partners stay apprised of the ever-changing public health and emergency preparedness issues in the area related to COVID-19.
The bulletin measures a different time period than the state, but shows a similar trend. From July 23-30 the percentage of positive tests increased to 7%, compared to 4.71% the previous week. The county has not had a 7% positivity rate since May, according to the health department's data.
The health department shares this bulletin on its website and social media pages every Friday. If someone would like to receive the bulletin directly, they can sign up to have the bulletin sent to their email. Go to https://lasallecounty.org/lasalle-county-health-department-2 or social media pages to access a link to be added to the distribution list.
Call the health department at 815-433-3366 or visit the health department’s website at www.lasallecounty.org for information about COVID-19.