COVID-19 has claimed its 14th Forest Park life. On Nov. 19, a 74-year-old man died from coronavirus at 1020 Desplaines Ave. Underlying health conditions included diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Forest Park has had 572 total COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. Of those, 78 cases were reported last week, and the town experienced a 118 percent increase in reported cases over the past two weeks.

All parts of Illinois are currently under Tier 3 mitigation efforts, as the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has put in place stricter guidelines in an effort to reduce the positivity rate and number of cases of COVID-19. These tighter restrictions include measures related to bars and restaurants (no indoor service), gyms, funerals, and many other business sectors.

The full list of restrictions can be viewed here: coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-mitigation-plan

IDPH is looking at positivity rates, hospital capacity metrics, and COVID-related hospitalizations in all the state’s regions over a two-week period to determine if and when mitigations can be relaxed, if additional restrictions are needed, or if current guidelines are sufficient to control infection in the area.

To move back down to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience the following:

–        Less than a 12 percent positivity rate for three consecutive days,

–        20 percent or greater available intensive care unit and hospital bed availability.

–        And declining COVID hospitalizations in seven out of the last 10 days.

Region 10, which includes Forest Park, has seen its 7-day rolling average positivity rate fall slightly over several days. On Nov. 15, it peaked at 16 percent. On Nov. 16, it was 15.5 percent, and on Nov. 17 it was 15.5. percent. Still, however, it is well over that 12 percent threshold set by the state that would allow a region to move back down to Tier 2 mitigation efforts.

In terms of hospital beds, as of Nov. 17, both medical surge bed availability and ICU bed availability were at 22 percent in Region 10, above the required rate needed.

But COVID hospitalizations, the third metric being looked at to determine what tier of mitigations an area should be in, were still rising. See dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics for more information.