COVID-19 Resurges in Kane County and Illinois

Rising Case Numbers and Death Rates Ring Alarm Bells


Illinois daily change in newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. Source: The New York Times.

Jeff Pape, Editor-in-Chief

On October 16, the Illinois Department of Public Health added Kane County to its COVID-19 county watch list in light of rising new case rates and an increasing number of deaths. 

The following day, Kane County Health Department (KCHD) Director Barbara Jeffers implored residents to limit activities that could result in the spread of COVID-19.  “Yesterday, the State of Illinois announced the highest number of new cases identified on a single day in the entire pandemic,” she said. 

“In Kane County, our cases and hospitalizations have continued to climb. In the past several days, our case positivity rate has risen above 8%. Unless we change our behavior as a community, we can expect to see more illness, death and economic hardship. This is avoidable and by taking precautions, together we can improve the situation for our residents and our businesses.”

Jeffers’ worries seem to be justified.  Although Kane County is meeting some of Illinois’ quotas for stable COVID-19 activity, it is failing in others.  For example, the county’s new case rate from October 3 to October 10 was 114 per 100,000 people–nearly double the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) goal of 50 per 100,000 people.  Beginning on September 26, the county saw more than a 20% increase in the number of COVID-19 related deaths for 3 consecutive weeks, exceeding the goal of a 20% increase for no more than 2 weeks.  The county’s rolling positivity rate is also concerning.  It has stayed above fail-safe rate of 8% for 10 consecutive days, opening the county up to stricter mitigation regulations like the closing of indoor dining and bar service.  

Illinois daily change in COVID-19 related deaths. Source: The New York Times.

“We are getting reports that many people are getting together in groups, both small and large, without taking appropriate precautions such as social distancing and wearing face coverings,” said Jeffers. “We understand that people are comfortable getting together with friends and family, but unfortunately, that is leading to increased transmission and will continue to be a threat as we enter the holiday season.  Kane County residents take care of each other and now is an important time for us to come together to protect ourselves and those around us.”

But COVID-19 is not only seeing a resurgence here in Kane County.  Illinois as a whole is reporting increasing case numbers.  Jeffers’ statement came just one day after the state reported its highest number of newly confirmed cases in a day (4,015) since the beginning of the pandemic and the highest number of deaths in a day (53) since June. 

IDPH Director Dr. Ngnozi Ezike made her worries clear in an October 19 press briefing.  “The simple fact is that our state is heading in the wrong direction.  Cases and hospitalizations are rising and it’s because people aren’t worried about [COVID-19].”  Ezike and other health officials are asking Illinoisans to do their part by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.  Then, they hope, we can continue to flatten the curve.