What the fall: Kankakee-Will Region sees 28,311 cases, 164 dead so far this season


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KANKAKEE – While Illinois continues its drunken COVID stumble through 2020 with the rest of the nation, this weekend we looked back on how this season has impacted Region 7. Keep in mind there is plenty of time to add to this total as the first day of Winter doesn’t begin until December 21st.

Since the first day of fall 2020, September 22nd, Region 7 comprised of Kankakee and Will County has seen a total of 28,311 new cases of COVID-19 and 164 deaths in just 67 days. That’s about 423 new cases and 2 deaths per day from September 22nd to November 27th locally between the two counties making up the Region. 

By zip? Each of the 46 individual postal codes in the Region could hypothetically account for 615 cases and about four deaths each so far this fall.

While we move up and down a man-made scale of TIERs bringing tears to residents across the areas, they continued for many this past weekend. Kankakee County alone saw over 1,000 new cases and 11 deaths since Monday. Yesterday health officials reported 230 new cases in a single day, ranking just the 8th most reported case day this month in Kankakee. There have now been 106 COVID-19 deaths in Kankakee, including 4,448 active cases as of Friday.  

As of Saturday morning, Kankakee remained in the top 10 of “Where the Outbreak is Worst Now” according to the New York Times.  The zip code has remained on the national spotlight list for over a week. As recently as Thanksgiving Day, Kankakee ranked 4th on the National list. 

“There will very likely be a surge in cases over the next few weeks that can make that number pale in comparison to how many Americans will spend Christmas in the hospital. We have seen surges after all of our holidays this year – Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. There is no reason to believe Thanksgiving will be any different, in fact it will likely be worse,” Infectious disease Dr. Robert Citronberg in a Facebook post Friday, predicted the health care system may break during that time. “The higher prevalence of disease exponentially increases the effect of super-spreader events, which could create so many infected patients that our already stretched healthcare system could break. Literally.”

Case totals have nearly tripled since then in Will County, going from 13084 on Sept 22nd to 36106 on November 24th, just eight weeks later. Joliet has been a hotspot during that time, registering a weekly high for any zip of 955 cases the week of November 9th. Plainfield (620), Boilingbrook (452), Romeoville (300) and Naperville (276) round out the top five. Since that time, New Lenox, which ranked 6th on the list for that week, has been one of few communities to issue a mask requirement at a local level.

In Will County, nearly 20,000 (19,460) cases have been reported in the last 42 days. Over 500 residents have died in the pandemic now in Will County alone. Ages in deaths reported in Will County range from a female less than 10 years old to multiple residents over 100. Since November 2nd, 55 residents have lost their battles with COVID-19 in Will County. 

Region 7 positivity continued to fall from an all-time high of 20.7% on November 16th, Friday saw the rolling weekly rate fall to 17.2%. On Thanksgiving Day, 369 residents of Will and Kankakee Counties spent their holiday in the hospital. The latest testing data from the Region comes from Tuesday, which saw 6,482 residents tested with 993 positives on the day.

Since 11/14 alone, 13,891 tests have been administered to residents of Kankakee County, which has around 100,000 residents. Positives coming from that bunch resulted in over 2,500 positives, roughly 232 cases per day in the last 10 days. Over the same span in Will County, 8,157 positives have come from just over 44,000 tests administered during that time, or roughly 741 new cases per day in the County.


  1. Thank you for keeping the public updated on how things with Covid are going in the Kankakee area. On October 27th I was tested for coronavirus at the site in the parking lot of the county health department. On October 30th I was called and informed I had tested positive for Covid-19. On November 24th a Covid-19 contact tracing person finally called to get a list of any contacts. By this time, it was totally useless information. The Kankakee County Board has totally dropped the ball and seems completely disinterested in trying to prevent the community spread of Covid-19 in our area. I had called my local board representative a week after being found positive to say we (spouse and myself as the spouse went for a test following mine and was also found to have it) had personally contacted everyone we had been in contact with even though we wore masks to let them know we were positive. (I might add all rural businesses we had been into did NOT wear masks, ag parts dealers, fertilizer dealer, hardware store, grain elevator, etc.) I don’t know if it was a political statement or this many people did not get the science behind mask wearing but wearing a mask in a rural area was a reason to be laughed at. The election is over if that was your problem, mask up and help the hospitals out.


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