Ill. Dept. of Public Health adopts new federal guidelines for reporting COVID-19 data

The COVID-19 community level map for Illinois, as of April 12.
The COVID-19 community level map for Illinois, as of April 12.(Ill. Dept. of Public Health)
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:02 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health is adopting new federal guidelines for tracking COVID-19 at the community level.

According to the department, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines emphasize the case rate and hospitalizations in order to better track the virus in communities.

As a result of the new guidelines, testing providers will no longer be required to report some negative tests and IDPH will therefore no longer report test and case positivity.

In addition, IDPH will add new data to its COVID-19 dashboard, including:

  • Updated data on vaccination rates to reflect the full population eligible as eligibility continues to evolve.
  • The number of people admitted to the hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • More detailed data on hospitalizations, including information about vaccination status in those who are hospitalized.

“Test and case positivity rates were seen as a good way to monitor the level of community spread early in the pandemic,” said IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars. “At this stage, now that we have vaccines and effective therapies available, it is more useful to rely on data that indicates the case rate, disease severity and the level of strain on healthcare system to guide our public health recommendations.”

The CDC announced in March that is relying on these three metrics to determine the community level of COVID-19 and to classify it as low, medium or high:

  • Total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days.
  • New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days.
  • The percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

IDPH officials noted that case rates for COVID-19 are now slowly rising in many areas of the state. However, hospitalizations and deaths continue to remain low at this time.

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