Health Department Urges Staying Home as COVID-19 Infections Quadruple

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For Immediate Release
Date: November 18, 2020
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Health Department Urges Staying Home as COVID-19 Infections Quadruple

New Tier 3 State mitigations take effect Friday, November 20

Lake County, Ill. — The Lake County Health Department is urging the public to avoid social gatherings and stay home as much as possible to slow the rapid resurgence of COVID-19.

“In just one month, our rate of new cases has quadrupled in Lake County, and hospitalizations are increasing back to where they were in the spring,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director at the Lake County Health Department. “Indoor gatherings, with people from different households coming together, are a high-risk activity when so many people are currently infected with COVID-19. At this time, we recommend strictly limiting indoor gatherings to members of your own household."

Incidence Rate November 15 2020

Image caption: As of November 15, 2020, the 7 day rolling average daily incidence rate in Lake County, Illinois was 83.2 per 100,000 residents. High resolution file


On October 15, 2020, the 7-day rolling average daily incidence rate, or new case rate, in Lake County was about 20 cases per day per 100,000 residents. As of November 15, 2020, Lake County’s incidence rate was over 80 cases per day per 100,000, a four-fold increase, and there are no signs of rates slowing.

“At the current exponential rate of new infections in Lake County, our testing and contact tracing capacity is at its limit,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist for the Health Department. “Our hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The virus has made its way back into long-term care facilities because infections are so rampant in the community. We need the public’s help to avoid situations where the virus can spread. That is the only way we will get this surge of cases under control.”

Yesterday, the State and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that all regions in the State will move into Tier 3 mitigations—measures implemented to slow the spread of the virus—as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, November 20, 2020.

Tier 3 mitigations include limiting social gatherings to members of your immediate household only, as well as restrictions on retail, personal care, health and fitness centers, hotels, manufacturing, bars and restaurants, meetings and events, recreational activities, theaters and cultural institutions. The purpose of these mitigations is to limit indoor gatherings where the virus can easily spread from person to person.

“This virus spreads through respiratory droplets, and it is often spread by people who don’t seem sick,” said Ahmed. “The longer you spend indoors where those droplets can linger, not maintaining the minimum of 6 feet of distance, taking off your masks, the greater your risk.”

The Health Department urges people to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19. Choose virtual gatherings over in-person get-togethers. When you do go out for groceries or other essential errands, follow the 3 Ws to protect yourself and others:

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose. This helps limit respiratory droplets from spreading through the air to others. A mask also offers some protection for the person wearing the mask.
  • Wash your hands often using soap and water or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, which can introduce the virus into your body.
  • Watch your distance by keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and others at all times, even when you are wearing a mask. This reduces the likelihood of respiratory droplets being shared between people.

“As difficult as it is, please prioritize the health of your loved ones and help us address this worsening situation in our community,” said Pfister. “Adapt your plans. While it is difficult to say no to the holiday traditions that we hold dear, choosing phone or video chat options are the best way to guarantee your safety and protect your loved ones. Postponing or adapting events and gatherings now will slow down the spread of the coronavirus and save lives this fall and winter.”


Additional Information

The Lake County Health Department reported Lake County’s first COVID-19 case on March 11, 2020. As of November 17, 2020, 30,034 Lake County residents have tested positive for the disease, including 555 deaths. The Lake County recovery rate is 96.8 percent. For more details, please visit the Coronavirus Data Hub, which is updated daily Mondays through Fridays at

Visit the Health Department’s Coronavirus web page,, for updates, testing information, community guidance and resources, answers to frequently asked questions, and to sign up for the Health Department’s weekly COVID-19 newsletter. General questions can be sent via email to

For trusted information on the COVID-19 pandemic from reputable state and federal sources, visit the State of Illinois, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.

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Lake County Health Department
3010 Grand Avenue
Waukegan, Illinois 60085
(847) 377-8000