County enters “orange warning” for COVID-19


COLES COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The Coles County Health Department said their county’s risk metrics indicator has moved to “orange warning.”

In a news release, officials said the Illinois Department of Public Health is monitoring indicators that measure the “health burden of COVID-19” in each county. Counties are being assessed on whether they are meeting or exceeding each indicator. “Counties meeting set targets will be indicated in blue, while counties that are not meeting the targets will be indicated in orange.”

Officials said the eight indicators being used for determining county status include:

  • New cases
  • Test positivity
  • COVID-like-illness visits
  • COVID-like-illness admissions
  • Clusters
  • New deaths
  • ICU availability
  • Number of tests

Officials said counties fall under the “orange warning” when they are going in the wrong direction for two or more of those indicators. “However, information surrounding clusters and the number of tests provides contextual information and does not directly tie into whether a county is meeting or not meeting a goal.”

When a county falls at a warning level, communities are advised to take additional steps to slow the spread of the virus. “Because the virus does not stop at county boards, neighboring counties could also be experiencing, or starting to experience, an increase in cases, emergency department visits, or outbreaks.” Officials said when multiple counties in a region enter into a warning level, measures like additional limits on gatherings, suspending indoor bar and restaurant services and other measures should be considered.

Additionally, counties that are under the “blue” category are considered to be stable in their COVID-19 metrics. However, these counties are still encouraged to follow Phase 4 guidelines.

Because of Coles County’s “orange warning” status, the county board chairman said they will only have essential personnel at their meetings. The public will still have access to the meetings electronically and be able to participate that way until further notice. Chairman Michael ZuHone said this decision was made in an effort to prevent COVID-19 transmission further in the county.

On Thursday, the Coles County Health Department reported 13 new COVID-19 cases. There is a total of 448 COVID-19 cases in the county, including 19 deaths. Of those total cases, 312 have recovered and 112 are recovering.

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