The Mercer County Health Department on Friday announced that Mercer County has been identified as reaching warning level risk for COVID-19. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) uses numerous indicators when determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. A county is considered at the warning level when at least two IDPH data metrics triggers a warning. Mercer County reached warning level in two areas:
- New case positivity (If there are more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.) Mercer County is currently at 167/100,000.
- Test positivity percentage (This metric indicates a warning when the 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.). Mercer County is currently at 8.8%.
Per IDPH, these metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness to help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do. The metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.
“We are certainly concerned about the rise we have seen with our positive cases and numerous close contacts that often accompany those positives.”, states Carla Ewing, Administrator. “Much of what we are seeing it related to family gatherings and social gatherings where the guidance is not followed – wearing masks and physical distancing in particular. The MCHD team has been working diligently with all to try to reduce the transmission within the community.” She also states, “We once again remind the community that the most effective tools we have to slow down transmission is to apply the layers of protection – washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 feet and wearing a mask.”