On June 25th, the Illinois Department of Public Health launched a county-level risk map. This map is available to anyone, including the general public. The map can be found by visiting: http://dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics.
Below is some general information about the map as well as some questions and answers to help those interested in using/viewing the map.
County Level COVID-19 Risk Metrics
IDPH is monitoring several indicators that measure the health burden of COVID-19 in each Illinois county and capture a county’s ability to respond. Many of these county-level indicators are similar to the Restore Illinois criteria and support that larger framework. These metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness of each county’s progress during Phase 4 and will help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions and promote healthy behaviors.
By applying the same metrics to each county, IDPH is using a standardized approach to monitor the state as a whole. Each county will be assessed to determine whether it is meeting or exceeding each indicator target. Counties meeting set targets will be indicated in blue, while counties that are not meeting the targets will be indicated in orange.
How to use these data
Individuals, families, and community groups can use these critical data to help inform their choices about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do.
Blue indicates that the county is experiencing overall stable COVID-19 metrics.
Orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
For example, if the local area is currently orange, some questions you should consider include: Should I still attend or host a large gathering? Are there additional precautions I should take given my personal/family health risks? Should I wait to dine out or go to a movie?
What data are being used to determine the status of a county?
8 different indicators are being used:
COVID-like-illness (CLI) ED visits
Number of tests
Does every indicator have to be met for a county be listed as “Warning?”
If there are two or more indicators that are going in the wrong direction, the county will be color coded orange – Warning. However, information surrounding clusters and the number of tests provides contextual information and do not directly tie into whether a county is meeting or not meeting the goal.
If a county is not meeting the goal indicators, does it go back to Phase 3, or other phases?
The Restore Illinois plan provides guidance that communities need to follow in order to keep people safe. The county-level risk map compliments the Restore Illinois plan to help educate and inform individual choice within the Restore Illinois plan. At this time, a county that does not meet the indicators will not automatically revert to a previous phase. The county-level risk indicators are a warning that a county could be headed the wrong direction and people should take additional steps to slow the spread of the virus. For example – stay home instead of going out to dinner or hold off having friends over for the afternoon. The county-level risk indicators do not loosen the guidance in the Restore Illinois plan, or make it more prescriptive.
Are there any additional requirements or enforcement based on whether a county is or is not meeting the target indicators?
The map is meant to help people make informed decisions about their actions. If they see the county they live in is orange, it is a warning to them that the risk of COVID-19 is increasing. The hope is that people will take this warning to heart and adjust their personal behavior, including their mitigation strategies, to help lower the risk.
Danielle Walls, BS?
Community Health Educator
Ford County Public Health Department
235 N Taft St. Paxton, IL 60957