4% of people in suburbs who tested positive for COVID-19 have died

  • While New York is leading the nation in coronavirus deaths, suburban Chicago has seen more than 4% of those infected with the virus die from the disease since the beginning of the outbreak.

    While New York is leading the nation in coronavirus deaths, suburban Chicago has seen more than 4% of those infected with the virus die from the disease since the beginning of the outbreak. Associated Press file photo/April 6, 2020

Updated 4/15/2020 4:32 PM

Slightly more than 4% of the residents of suburban Cook County and the five collar counties who tested positive for the coronavirus have died.

Of the 11,745 people who contracted the disease in suburban Cook County and in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, 473 have died as of Tuesday. That's more than half the deaths statewide, according to the most recent data from health departments in each of those counties and the Illinois Department of Public Health.


The suburban death rate from the virus is slightly higher than the state rate of 3.7%. However, less than 1% of the state's population has been tested, and only about 20% of those tested are confirmed cases, according to IDPH figures.

Health officials believe the suburban death rate might be inflated because of the lack of testing.

"It's too early to tell statistical significance. There is not enough data to show the full picture," said Kimberley Conrad-Junius, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Public Health Department. "Only a segment of the population has been tested. With initial limited test availability, the focus has been on testing the severely ill -- many with serious underlying complications."

Suburban Cook County and the five collar counties are home to 44% of the state's population, according to worldpopulationreview.com. The suburbs are also home to a significant number of congregate residential settings, such as assisted living centers and nursing homes, that are hot spots for infections around the world.

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In suburban Cook County alone, 87 congregate living facilities have one or more residents who have tested positive, according to the county health department's website.

In Will County, 75 of the 1,365 confirmed cases have resulted in death, a rate of 5.5%. In Kane County, 24 residents have died and the death rate among those who have tested positive for the virus is 5.3%. In DuPage County, it's 4.6%, and 3.4% in each of Lake and McHenry counties.

In just the suburban portion of Cook County, the death rate among those with confirmed cases is 3.7%.

"This is an ongoing situation, and until this pandemic is over and the data is studied broadly, we should not come to any conclusions," said Steve Brandy, a spokesman for the Will County Health Department.

Meanwhile, the suburban death rate is still below the national rate of 4.3% and well below the global rate of 6.4%. Illinois also trails states like Michigan, New York and Washington where more than 5% of the confirmed cases of coronavirus infection have resulted in death.

In suburban Cook County, the virus is killing on average 101 people per 1 million residents. Statewide, the average is 68 deaths per million. In New York, that rate is 556 deaths per million. In New Jersey, it's 314 per million. And in Louisiana, it's 218 per million. As of Wednesday morning, more than 2 million coronavirus infections had been reported in 185 countries resulting in 128,071 known deaths, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Medical Center. Illinois accounted for 868 of those deaths.

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