DANVILLE — It took just two-and-a-half weeks for the number of COVID-19 cases in Vermilion County to more than double.
Now Vermilion, along with five other counties in the region, have exceeded one of the state’s eight risk indicators for increasing cases — the number of new weekly COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
Counties trigger a warning in this indicator when they surpass 50 new cases per 100,000 population in a given week.
Others that have surpassed that metric in the region, as of the state’s most recent update on July 31, are Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Iroquois and Moultrie counties.
As of July 17, Vermilion County had chalked up a total of 100 cases since the pandemic began, according to county health department Administrator Doug Toole.
But that number shot up fast recently. As of Tuesday, the county’s total had grown to 203 cases, six of which were added from Monday to Tuesday.
Two of the six new cases were adults in their 40s, two were adults in their 20s and two were teenagers, Toole said.
The increase in recent weeks may be linked to aggressive testing with the help of a mobile testing team that was in the community for a week, Toole said.
“We saw 967 people (for testing) over a one-week period two weeks ago,” he said.
About one-fourth of Vermilion County’s cases overall have been in the 20-29 age range, and another 37 cases have been kids and teens 19 and younger.
That county has continued to see many of its cases spread through small gatherings, such as family get-togethers, rather than large parties and events, Toole said.
While young adults are more prone to gather, he said, they’re also more likely to have essential jobs placing them out in public more.
Champaign County, which hit 1,523 total cases Tuesday, had a rate of 85 new weekly cases per 100,000 people as of the state’s last update. The county has added more than 100 new cases a week for each of the past five weeks.
Douglas County’s cases nearly doubled in a month, rising from 55 on July 1 to 105 as of Tuesday.
Coles County Health Department Administrator Diana Stenger said that county had 414 total cases as of Monday, with 105 of them considered to be active.
“Our biggest surge right now has been the 18-to-29 year-olds,” she said.
But health officials know the disease is in all age groups, Stenger said.
They also learn, in the process of contact-tracing positive cases, that large gatherings, failure to keep 6-foot distances from others and not wearing masks have contributed to the spread of the disease, Stenger said.
Moultrie County, which has a population in the 14,000 range, has had 63 confirmed cases in all, more than double what its total was a month ago, according to Glenda Plunkett, public health services coordinator for that county’s health department.
To some extent, this was expected as the state moved into Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, though health officials continue to urge people to take the recommended precautions, Plunkett said.
“It’s just a fact that as we open up, families are getting together again, people are going to church, people are practicing sports, people are going on vacation, and the more you go out, the more you are at risk for exposure,” she said.
Weekly new cases per 100,000 population is one of eight risk measures evaluated by the state collectively in each county. Champaign, Vermilion, Douglas, Coles, Iroquois and Moultrie were meeting targets in the other seven measures.
Counties that exceed two or more of the eight measures — there are currently 11 of them — are considered to be at the warning level.
Other measures include the number of COVID-19 deaths, the testing rate, the test positivity rate, the number of emergency department visits for COVID-19-like illness, the number of COVID-19-related hospital admissions, the availability of intensive-care beds and the percentage of case clusters.