Region 7 falls below 8.0% warning for first time since October

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KANKAKEE – COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 residents in Region 7, including 805 residents of Will County and 166 residents in Kankakee County as of Tuesday, just 29 deaths shy of the grim mark.

The Region is now just one of two in Illinois remaining under TIER 3 mitigations.

Five more victims of the pandemic have been lost over the long holiday weekend. The Kankakee County Health Department (KCHD) announced five additional deaths from COVID-19 late Tuesday evening.

It was the Department’s first report since last Thursday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported Region 7’s rolling seven-day positivity at 7.5%. The last time Region 7’s rate was anywhere close to that rate was October 14th, when the Region sat at 7.3% before skyrocketing to a peak of 20.7% in mid-November.

In Region 7, nearly 70,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported, including 192 new cases reported by KCHD Tuesday afternoon.

This week, the Illinois Department of Public Health is in Kankakee at the Health Department all week giving free COVID-19 testing, available from 8 am to 4 pm each day and free to anyone who wants to be tested, regardless of insurance.

“Illinois is moving forward with an aggressive vaccination plan that centers equity and focuses communities which have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19,” said Governor JB Pritzker in a release this week. “Standing up these sites is a pivotal first step of a plan that coordinates our 97 local health departments statewide – who operate clinics already and will open up more as vaccine supply grows.”

It comes as Phase 1B plans to go into place statewide on Jan. 25. The site, according to the Governor’s Office, will give vaccinations to eligible patients by appointment only, including all residents of the state age 65 and up, along with essential frontline workers.

The National Guard has already set up four sites in Cook County that began vaccinations Tuesday and will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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