FILE - Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health, 1-30-2020

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, speaks at a news conference Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Chicago.

(The Center Square) – Public health officials said Friday that 13 counties in Illinois had reached "warning level" status for the spread of COVID-19.

A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk factors increase, according to Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, 

The counties at a warning level are Cass, Coles, Grundy, Iroquois, Jackson, Monroe, Perry, Saline, St. Clair, Tazewell, Union, Williamson and Winnebago.

The counties reported new cases or outbreaks linked with businesses, long-term care facilities, large gatherings and out-of-state travel, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In some places, COVID-19 has spread among family members in large households.

The department also cited students returning to college and university campuses as a factor in the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in late 2019. Many students have not been wearing face masks or social distancing while gathering in large groups and at bars, the department said.

The department reported 2,084 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including 21 additional deaths.

Statewide, the Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 190,508 cases, including 7,613 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, laboratories reported 46,869 specimens for a total of 2,984,618 tests since the start of the pandemic.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of the total tests from July 31 to Aug. 6 was 4.1%.

Regional Editor

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.