Small counties downstate racking up COVID-19 cases and concerns

  • An Elmhurst Hospital critical care nurse looks after a patient with COVID-19. Patients in hospitals with COVID-19 came to 498 as of Monday night.

    An Elmhurst Hospital critical care nurse looks after a patient with COVID-19. Patients in hospitals with COVID-19 came to 498 as of Monday night. Courtesy of Elmhurst Hospital

Updated 7/14/2021 6:25 AM

Several small, downstate Illinois counties are surpassing the collar counties for new COVID-19 infections, a trend triggering warnings from public health officials.

Adams County, in western Illinois with a population of 65,435, recorded 52 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, second only to 62 infections recorded in Chicago, home to 2.7 million residents, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed.


Suburban Cook County and St. Clair County each tallied 46 new cases, and Madison County had 42. St. Clair and Madison counties are near St. Louis, and Adams is on the border of Missouri, which has seen an influx of infections caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.

"If what's happening in Missouri continues to flourish, we're going to see people in those metro-east counties that are going to get sick and worse," IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike told the Belleville News Democrat Monday.

In Missouri, 56.8% of residents ages 18 and older have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine compared to Illinois' 72.8% level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Statewide, new virus cases totaled 578 Tuesday. In the suburbs, DuPage County accounted for just 20 new infections, with 15 in Lake, 14 in Will, eight in Kane, and five in McHenry. Across the six counties, more than 71% of adults have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine; DuPage is at 82.6%.

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In contrast, Adams County has 58.7% of residents ages 18 and older with at least one shot, Madison is at 65%, and St. Clair is at 66.3%.

The Metro East public health region, which includes Madison and St. Clair counties, is registering a positivity rate for COVID-19 tests of 7.5% based on a seven-day average compared to the state's 2.1% level. A sustained test positivity rate of 8% or higher is a warning sign because it can indicate a resurgence of the virus.

In the West-Central public health region, which includes Adams County, the positivity rate for tests is at 5%.

The metro region measured positivity rates for tests ranging from 1.5% in DuPage and Kane counties to 1.1% in Chicago.

On Monday, 25,902 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 20,794. The federal government has delivered 14,381,225 doses of vaccine to Illinois since mid-December, and 12,851,005 shots have been administered.

So far, 6,308,745 people have been fully vaccinated -- 49.5% of Illinois' 12.7 million population. Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 came to 498 as of Monday night.


The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 1.8% based on a seven-day average. Labs processed 31,841 tests in the last 24 hours.

The state also reported Tuesday that 12 more people died from COVID-19.

Total cases statewide stand at 1,397,667, and 23,336 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

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