ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A new map of COVID community levels released by the CDC shows that the situation in Illinois continues to worsen as more counties slip into the high level.

After staying level at 28 between July 3 and July 10, the number of Illinois counties in the high level increased to 50 by July 17, or about half of the state’s counties. One week later, the number has gone up to 58, with some counties improving to the medium level, but others worsening to the high level.

The map reveals that almost all of the eastern portion of the WCIA viewing area is in the high level, including Champaign, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Ford, Edgar, McLean and Vermilion Counties. Only Ford and McLean Counties saw a change in their community level since last Sunday, going from medium to high; all of the other counties stayed in the high level from last week.

People living in these counties advised to wear a mask indoors in public, stay up to date with COVID vaccines and get tested if they experience symptoms. Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.

The western portion of the WCIA viewing area is in the medium level, including Christian, DeWitt, Effingham, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Menard, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon and Shelby Counties. Christian, Menard and Sangamon Counties did improve out of the high level since last Sunday. Also listed in the medium level is Iroquois County, which worsened from the low level to the medium level.

24 other counties around the state are listed in the medium level, down from 44 last Sunday. People living in these counties are advised to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccination and get tested if they experience symptoms or are exposed to someone who tests positive. People at high risk for severe illness are further advised to consider wearing a mask indoors and take other precautions.

Eight counties listed in the low level, the same number as last week, but not the same counties, as Iroquois County had worsened to the medium level. These counties are scattered in the western part of the state; people living there are only advised to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and, if they have symptoms, to get tested and wear a mask.

The community level of a county depends on a combination of three metrics the CDC looks at:

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

Using this data, the CDC classifies a county’s community level as being low, medium or high.