Johnson County entered a “warning level” for COVID-19 last week, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Johnson County joins 25 other counties in that designation.
Several other Southern Illinois counties on the list, Jackson, Jefferson, Massac, Pulaski, Saline and Union, are also part of Region 5 under IDPH’s regional resurgence plan.
Some of Johnson County’s case increase in the last month could be attributed to outbreaks at the Vienna Correctional Center, but numbers have continued to steadily increase even outside of that outbreak and the new cases do not appear to be tied to any one specific event.
Southern Seven Health Department’s mobile testing efforts have shown increased numbers throughout the region in recent weeks, but an event last month is Anna and Vienna recorded only 227 people for the entire weekend. Johnson County, where over 3,000 tests have been performed and Union, which has seen over 7,000 tests, are both reporting a positivity rate of over 12% and 9% according to IDPH. A positivity rate over 8% is one of the factors that will land a county in warning status.
In comparison, Williamson County, which has seen over 1,500 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and currently has over 400 active cases, has recorded nearly 30,000 tests. As a result, Williamson County’s positivity rate is only around 5%, which has allowed that county to stay out of warning level status despite it’s relatively large number of active cases.
Region 4, which includes the Metro East, and Region 1 in Northern Illinois have seen increased mitigation measures including restrictions on gatherings and the closure of indoor dining and service for bars and restaurants. The mitigation measures in Region 4 have since been lifted.
Region 5, which includes Johnson County, is jumped to the 8% positivity threshold that could trigger such restrictions for one day after several days of positivity increase. While the number decreased to just under 8% on Wednesday, the region is likely on track for additional mitigation measures if the situation does not improve.
In a press conference on Wednesday, October 14, Governor Pritzker confirmed that if the region again reports a rate above 8%, and does so for three consecutive days, additional mitigation measures will result.