The Winnebago County Health Department is reporting a preliminary count Friday of 44 new cases of coronavirus and a positivity rate of 6%.
Public Health Administrator Sandra Martell said this comes as Illinois is at risk for a surge in cases over the Labor Day weekend. It’s traditionally the last major summer weekend for people to get together.
“Please do what you can this weekend," she said. "Wear your face coverings. Maintain your social distancing. Wash your hands frequently. Sanitize surfaces on a regular basis and remember to enjoy this time in our region. Keep it local, keep it small, and we can get through this.”
Martell says if people don’t take proper precautions, a surge in cases could set back in-person learning for school districts and bring back restrictions on businesses.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says 29 counties in Illinois are at a warning level for COVID-19. A county enters a warning level when two or more risk indicators increase. The warning list includes Boone and Bureau counties in northern Illinois. Some common factors for an increase in cases are associated with college parties, weddings, large gatherings, and long-term care facilities. Cases connected to schools are beginning to be reported. State officials say some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information on close contacts or answering the phone. Individuals are also waiting to get tested believing their symptoms are allergies or some other cause.
Earlier this week, a slowdown in data processing affected the reporting of statewide COVID-19 tests. Health officials say it was due to the large volume of testing. The backlog has been cleared. The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday announced 29 deaths from the virus.