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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