The Illinois Department of Public Health reported a new peak in new COVID-19 cases at 5,368. But department officials say the spike is due to a backlog of data.
On a call with reporters, IDPH officials explained they detected a slowdown in processing new COVID-19 test results earlier this week caused by the high volume of tests being done in the state.
They said new tests results were delayed in showing up in daily numbers reported by IDPH by a day or two. But they’ve now caught up, reporting results from 149,273 specimens from labs in the last 24 hours.
Upgrades to the processing system should avoid any future delays, officials say. The systems used to track COVID-19 data have been updated, and the officials do not expect further delays in reporting. Officials said the slowdown did not affect how tests results are reported to individuals.
The department counts nearly 300 testing sites around the state.
The Sangamon County Department of Public Health reported its highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases at 57. A spokesman for the county said the spike is in part a result of the backlogged data as results for some county residents were included.
Meanwhile, IDPH put 29 counties on a COVID-19 warning list for increasing community spread of the virus.
Sangamon, Morgan and Cass counties are no longer on the list, which is updated weekly, while McLean and Greene counties are.
The health department reports common reasons for rising numbers are spread at college parties, weddings, large gatherings, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, travel to neighboring states, bars, and among members of the same household who are not isolating at home. IDPH uses data from the previous week to determine warning level.
The county-level metrics do not determine if more restrictions, such as banning indoor seating at restaurants, should be imposed by the state. For that, IDPH tracks positivity rate, hospital admission rate and ICU bed availability within 11 regions, according to a plan released by the governor’s office in July.