At this morning’s DuPage County Board meeting, Karen Ayala, the executive director of the DuPage County Health Department, explained why COVID-19 cases are going up.
Reason For Cases Going Up
Simply put, not enough people are taking the necessary preventative steps, Ayala said.
“This virus only needs a small window of opportunity to spread,” said Ayala. “COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. It falls behind heart disease and cancer. How many of us have lost someone to cancer? If we had the opportunity to save that individual by wearing a mask we would do so in a heartbeat.”
The health department recommends following the 3W’s: frequent washing of hands, wearing a mask and watching your distance, keeping 6-feet from others. They also say to avoid large gatherings, and ask that anyone experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms stay home.
Current COVID Situation
Ayala also dispelled the theory that the county has more COVID cases because they’re testing more. She said DuPage County is in the season of needing to flatten the curve.
On October 23, Regions 7 and 8, the latter including DuPage County, were put under additional mitigations by Governor J.B. Pritzker, requiring bars and restaurants to close indoor dining. The latest data shows Region 8 is at a 9.5% positivity rate. If the regions are to return back to Phase 4 in the Restore Illinois Plan they must see a 6.5% or less rolling average positivity rate for three consecutive days.
DCHD has been helping businesses well before the mitigations went into effect by providing them with health guidance. Ayala said that help, and other efforts to support the community will continue.
“The current level of effort that we have in response to COVID will likely need to be maintained throughout at least the midpoint of next year,” Ayala said.
Understanding that COVID will have lasting effects on community members not only physically but also mentally, DCHD’s budget presentation included help with behavioral health and substance abuse.
Ayala also mentioned the county’s testing site at the DuPage County Fairgrounds will remain open until the end of the calendar year, but will adjust their operations.
“If you’ve been there we have the big tent at the bottom of the hill, not exactly made for icy and snowy conditions,” said Ayala. “So we will have one of the buildings that we’re able to drive into. The impact will be we’ll no longer be able to see 600 people a day.”
To watch the full meeting, you can check out the DuPage County website.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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