Suburban Cook County is considered at warning level for COVID-19 as of Aug. 28, when the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 30 counties in the state, including suburban Cook County, are at risk.
According to the IDPH, when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of the virus increase, a county enters warning level.
In suburban Cook County, which is assessed separately from the city of Chicago, the two measures warranting concern according to the IDPH are new cases per 100,000 and number of deaths.
The target for new cases per 100,000 is less than 50; on Aug. 28, suburban Cook reported 112.
As for number of deaths, the target is a decreasing or stable number; suburban Cook went from 15 deaths for the week ending Aug. 16 to 25 deaths for the week ending Aug. 23.
In August, the state and county took several measures to attempt to slow the spread of the virus and lower the number of COVID-19-related deaths.
On Aug. 25, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new rule for all of Illinois that requires customers of bars and restaurants to wear a mask during any interaction with employees, whether indoors or outdoors.
On Aug. 11, the state upheld Pritzker’s mandate that businesses can be fined up to $2,500 if employees or customers aren’t wearing masks, a mandate the village of Forest Park has said it will enforce, with warnings and education provided to businesses prior to hefty fines being levied.
The village has stated that both the police and representatives from the Department of Public Health and Safety will be doing spot-checks in bars and restaurants in Forest Park to ensure masks are being worn by both employees and customers.
On Aug. 3, Cook County announced stricter recommendations for businesses, but stated that it would be up to local municipalities to decide whether to enforce these suggestions, which included no indoor service for bars and smaller parties of patrons allowed at restaurants. A variation of this was proposed by Mayor Rory Hoskins and presented to the village council at the Aug. 10 meeting, but with three commissioners voting against it, the measure did not pass.
However, with the two subsequent state rules in place, the village was given concrete ways to enforce the wearing of masks at local businesses.