New data: Illinois receives “Caution Warranted”ranking for COVID-19 containment as outbreak worsens around the country

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

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

Advocates encourage ongoing vigilance to avoid further spread in Illinois

Illinois PIRG

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise nationally, Illinois PIRG and Open Safe Illinois released its new Weekly Trends & Risk Assessment Report, grading Illinois as “Caution Warranted” when it comes to meeting COVID-19 containment criteria. This is the third week the coalition has provided a snapshot of Illinois’ coronavirus efforts. Last week, Illinois received a “trending poorly” grade. 

As a result, Open Safe Illinois is calling on state and local governments to maintain all current restrictions, and consider implementing additional containment measures to prevent COVID-19 cases from rising further.

“Illinois continues to improve on testing, and we’ve made great progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in recent months,” 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. “But some states currently experiencing uncontrolled spread were recently in a similar position. We must remain vigilant, including being prepared to quickly reinstate additional containment measures in line with the “Restore Illinois” plan.”

These findings are based on an evaluation by The nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts that ranked Illinois based on an analysis of the state’s performance on metrics including four Centers for Disease Control-recommended benchmarks: 14-day decline in influenza-like illness; declining COVID positive cases; diminishing percentage of COVID positive cases; and appropriate hospital capacity.

This week, in response to the severity of the problem in many states, added a new category to its scorecard: “uncontrolled spread.” Currently, 18 states fall in this category, including neighboring Iowa. also slightly changed how it weighs metrics to determine a state’s overall grade. Illinois was given its “Caution Warranted” grade based on its new cases per 100,000 per day. Illinois received better marks on testing and hospital capacity.

 “We continue to learn more about the virus and what actions work best to contain its spread,” said Tom Hughes, Executive Director of the Illinois Public Health Association. “State and local leaders should continue to follow the “Restore Illinois” plan and be prepared to take action if virus numbers worsen in Illinois.”

 Nationally, only 4 states were graded “trending better” as of July 13.