Cook County reports eight COVID-19 cases in Forest Park

Information not communicated by county to village officials

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By Maria Maxham

According to a Cook County website showing cases of COVID-19 by town, Forest Park has eight confirmed cases of the disease as of March 26.

A link to the website, ccdphcd.shinyapps.io/covid19, was shared in an article by Village Free Press, and the information shocked Forest Park authorities, who have been trying to get information from the county on local cases. Unlike Oak Park, which has its own health department, many neighboring towns like Forest Park do not. They depend on the Cook County Department of Public Health for information like the number of cases in their municipality.

Forest Park's Village Administrator Tim Gillian said he was surprised to learn of cases in Forest Park from the Village Free Press and the Cook County website.

"Village staff is working with the county to verify the information provided," said Gillian on Thursday. "This information was not shared with the village despite repeated attempts to get verified and detailed information from Cook County."

Mayor Rory Hoskins said he's glad the data is out there despite not getting it directly from the county.

"I'm glad we have this information," said Hoskins in an interview on March 27. "We spent time on Wednesday asking the county how we could get it, and regardless of how it came out, we have the information we need."

The website shows information about confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the Cook County Department of Public Health, including "all municipalities and portions of municipalities within Cook County, except for Chicago, Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie and Stickney Township, each of which has its own state-certified local health department."

According to the website, "as of March 26 there are a total of 650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in suburban Cook County and seven deaths."

Oak Park, with its own health department, has reported nine confirmed cases as of March 26. According to the Cook County website, Bellwood has eight, and Maywood has six.

As of March 26 at 9:30 p.m., the Cook County website server appeared to be overwhelmed with traffic and securing a connection to it was difficult.

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Reader Comments

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William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 29th, 2020 2:42 PM

Touche, Michael R.

Michael Romain Forest Park Review Employee

Posted: March 29th, 2020 2:00 PM

Rich, the Village Free Press reported "at least 16 cases" for just the four suburbs the paper covers - not all of Cook County, and those numbers came directly from a site that was in all likelihood created by the county's public health department before it mysteriously stopped working. We've been trying to figure out why ever since, but the county has not responded to our inquiries, at least as of Sunday. The site link was legitimate enough to be shared by a county commissioner and a local fire chief. The numbers for COVID-19 cases by individual suburbs exist and they should be public, period. Second, the Forest Park Review article only relies on Village Free Press, because the Review reporter could not access the county's site, since it wasn't working properly. Moreover, Gillian first learned of the site from a Village Free Press article, which shouldn't have been the case. The site should have been well publicized by the county itself - it's not and never has been, which is a problem. Again, the site with critical info about cases in individual suburbs is not working; therefore leaving residents, officials and even first responders in those suburbs in the dark as to how many cases of COVID-19 are in their communities. That's the point. Now, do us a favor and call the health department about why the reputable site you're asking us to rely on is not working. Put pressure on them, not us. Sincerely, a reputable journalist from a reputable newspaper.

Rich Vitton  

Posted: March 27th, 2020 12:00 PM

You are right Bob or maybe not in Illinois according to the John Hopkins (CSSE) site as of yesterday in Illinois 2,539 reported cases in Cook County as of today 19 cases, may I suggest that the Review get there information from a reputable site instead of a third party like the Village Free Press.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 27th, 2020 11:32 AM

But it does not offer any updates by municipality.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 27th, 2020 11:19 AM

Anyone can text the message "alertcook" to 888-777 and you will immediately be registered for text alerts from Cook County. The website will then also give you the option of getting email alerts.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 27th, 2020 11:04 AM

Cook County government has email and other contact info for every municipality in the county. So there's no excuse whatsoever for them not sending out at the very least a simple email to every one of those municipalities on at least a daily basis.

Bob Uphues Forest Park Review Employee

Posted: March 27th, 2020 9:59 AM

Rich, As of yesterday there were nearly positive 2,000 cases reported in Cook County. As of yesterday, 19 had been reported as fatal.

Rich Vitton  

Posted: March 27th, 2020 9:49 AM

If the VFP is reporting 19 cases outside of Forest Park and we know of maybe 4 cases in OP how does FP have 8 cases and the Media is only reporting a total of 19 cases in all of Cook county.

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