New analysis: Illinois receives “trending poorly” marks for COVID-19 containment

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

State Director, Illinois PIRG; Energy and Utilities Program Director, PIRG

Illinois PIRG

With America as a whole continuing to struggle in containing the COVID-19 virus,  Illinois PIRG and Open Safe Illinois released a new fact sheet today calling on Illinois to maintain all current restrictions related to COVID-19, and consider additional measures to improve containment. 

This finding is based on analysis by a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, which ranked Illinois as “trending poorly” based on its analysis of Illinois performance on four Centers for Disease Control-recommended benchmarks. As of last week, Illinois had been one of the few states to be ranked “trending better,” but its ranking declined over the weekend due to a slight 2-week trend of rising case numbers, a metric the group gives particular weight. 

“Illinois has made great strides in containing the spread of COVID-19 because Gov. Pritzker and local leaders have listened to public health experts,” said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG director and a coordinator of Open Safe Illinois, a coalition of 25 health, labor, aging, and public interest organizations supporting public health-driven decision making. “The “trending poorly” ranking is a reminder that every stage of reopening brings increased risk, especially for essential workers, those in long-term care facilities and Black and Latinx communities, and that we must continue to act to control the spread of COVID-19.”  

The fact sheet provides data in the four key categories: 14-day decline in influenza-like illness; declining COVID-19 positive cases; diminishing percentage of COVID-19 positive cases; and appropriate hospital capacity.

As of June 29th, Illinois was meeting two of four benchmarks. Illinois has seen a slight uptick in both new cases and the test positivity rate. Illinois continues to perform well in the two other metrics: a two week decline in influenza-like illnesses and in hospital capacity. 

Nationally, only three states are meeting the standards in all four categories as of June 29th.

“Every situation is different, so there’s no one-size-fits all formula for states to follow to the letter,” said Tom Hughes, Executive Director of the Illinois Public Health Association. “Illinois has been on the right path, and must continue to be vigilant in its efforts to combat COVID-19.”

On Monday, Illinois reported 14 COVID-19 deaths, the lowest number since March 30th, a sign of progress. 

“We can all take responsibility to limit the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home if possible, maintaining social distancing, and wearing face-coverings in public,” continued Scarr. “We cannot pretend that COVID-19 is gone, and we must – as individuals and as a state – be aggressive about limiting its spread.”