Illinois Department of Public Health Declares Warning For Jo Daviess County

The county’s case increases and positivity rates are at warning levels; Carroll, Winnebago, Whiteside Counties also risk warning classification.

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Jo Daviess County, which has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, was given a warning declaration today by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Jo Daviess, Stephenson County’s western neighbor, was placed on a list of counties that “saw outbreaks associated with business operations and activities posing higher risk for disease spread,” the IDPH said in a press release.

The warning declaration comes as the county reported a positivity rate of 11.3% and surpassed a threshold of minimum cases per capita. Last week, the county administered 222 tests and saw around 30 cases. 

66 of the county’s total 111 cases have come in the last month. 

Sandra Schleicher, the lead public health official at the Jo Daviess County Health Department, said in a written statement that the community “must heed the warning and work together” to slow the spread of COVID. 

Following the IDPH announcement, 9 county health departments in northwest Illinois released a joint statement urging the public to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid gatherings of people who are in violation of public health guidelines. 

Local Jo Daviess officials have previously issued a written statement urging the public to follow health guidelines. The Voice has also interviewed officials who are frustrated with a lack of public compliance with these guidelines. 

Other counties in the region may join Jo Daviess on the list of warning declarations. Carroll, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties each meet 1 of the 2 necessary criteria to be labelled an at-risk county.

The positivity rates of Whiteside County (6.4%) and Winnebago County (5.2%) are noteworthy. If case counts remain the same and these rates rise over 8%, those counties will receive a warning declaration. 

The next round of warning declarations will be announced by the IDPH next Friday, August 7th.