What Lake, DuPage Counties being at ‘medium’ level of COVID transmission means – NBC Chicago

Several communities in suburban Chicago are seeing increased transmission of COVID-19, but measures are expected to worsen significantly before mandates or protocol changes are implemented, health experts told NBC 5.

Lake and DuPage counties are among five counties in Illinois considered to be at a level of “medium community transmission,” according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both communities are seeing more than 200 new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day, but neither has seen a significant increase in COVID-related hospitalizations or hospital bed occupancy, and as a result, experts do not anticipate a return to mask mandates or other protocol changes.

“For us to even consider a mandate versus strong recommendations, we would really have to see increased pressure on our health care and medical facilities,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-director of the county public health department. Cook.

The CDC officially recommends that when an area is at “medium” spread at the community level, that people at high risk of severe illness speak to their health care provider about wearing masks and taking other precautions.

When an area is at “high” community level spread, it is recommended that all residents wear masks and additional precautions may be required for those at high risk of severe illness.

A county’s transmission risk status is determined by three different metrics: its number of new COVID cases per 100,000 population, its percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients, and its new COVID admissions per 100,000. inhabitants per day.

To fall into the “average” category, a county must have an average of more than 200 new cases per 100,000 people per day, more than 10 new COVID-19 admissions per day, or more than 10% hospital occupancy.

DuPage and Lake counties are nowhere near those latest metrics, but they are both seeing more than 200 cases per day.

As of Thursday, DuPage County had 258.64 new COVID cases per 100,000 population. Its new COVID admissions per 100,000 population is 5.7, while its percentage of staffed beds occupied by COVID patients is 1.8%.

Lake County is at 212.19 cases per 100,000 population. 5.7 new admissions per 100,000 population. 1.8% staffed bed usage.

Even with hospital bed utilization still at relatively low levels, DuPage County officials say they are carefully monitoring the metrics.

“Any increase in numbers is not the direction we want to go,” said Karen Ayala, director of the DuPage County Health Department. “But we don’t see the big increase and the sustained big increase.”

In addition to additional steps for people with weakened immune systems or other risk factors, health officials have several other recommendations for residents as cases rise, including getting vaccinated and spending time outside when possible as the weather improves.

“Go outside and increase the outside air when you’re indoors,” Ayala suggested. “These things are all effective.”

Even though the numbers remain largely stable for now, officials say affected counties could be in the “medium” risk category for some time.

“My hunch is that it will stabilize at some point. It will go down, but we might get another one,” Rubin said. “But it’s unlikely to result in serious injury or significant death.”

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