Special Report

These Are the Counties In the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area Where COVID-19 Is Growing the Fastest

After adding over 561,000 new cases throughout the last week, the U.S. now has more than 77.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 930,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise, albeit at a slowing rate. In the past week, there were an average of 31.4 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — a decrease from the week prior, when there were an average of 60.3 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While COVID-19 has spread to nearly every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, metro area consists of Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and 11 other counties. In the past week, there were an average of 19.5 new coronavirus cases every day per 100,000 Chicago residents, less than the national figure. The metro area’s average daily case growth in the most recent week is a decrease from the week prior, when there was an average of 35.3 daily new cases per 100,000 Chicago residents.

The spread of coronavirus depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, COVID-19 is growing the fastest in Kendall County. There were an average of 41.7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in Kendall County during the past week, the most of the 14 counties in Chicago with available data.

Case growth in the Chicago metro area varies widely at the county level. In Lake County, for example, there were an average of 10.6 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the past week — the least of any county in Chicago and far more than the case growth rate in Kendall County.

While Kendall County is driving the growth of COVID-19 in the Chicago area, it does not have the highest incidence of cases overall. As of February 24, there were a total of 24,106.3 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in Kendall County, the fifth most of the 14 counties in the metro area. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 24,014.4 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The pandemic has led to the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses around the country. These changes have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In Kendall County, unemployment peaked at 16.4% in April 2020. As of June 2021, the county’s unemployment rate was 7.0%.

To determine the county in every metropolitan area where COVID-19 is growing the fastest, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked counties according to the average number of new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days ending February 24. To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data up from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is not seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Illinois where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

Rank in MSA County Population New daily cases per 100,000, week ending February 24 New daily cases per 100,000, week ending February 17 Cumulative cases per 100,000 Cumulative deaths per 100,000
1 Kendall County 126,054 41.7 55.1 24,106.3 121.4
2 McHenry County 307,714 30.7 92.1 24,202.7 147.9
3 DeKalb County 104,366 29.9 59.2 21,934.3 180.1
4 Porter County 168,636 28.4 37.8 21,950.8 306.6
5 Lake County 701,473 26.7 47.8 20,870.7 186.2
6 DuPage County 929,060 25.3 42.8 22,024.8 179.0
7 Kane County 531,376 24.0 54.8 23,341.1 204.9
8 Jasper County 33,447 19.7 28.9 26,707.9 406.6
9 Will County 689,315 18.6 31.1 23,114.0 213.8
10 Kenosha County 168,524 18.5 34.3 25,820.1 359.0
11 Grundy County 50,666 17.1 30.2 24,580.6 262.5
12 Cook County 5,198,275 16.4 28.4 21,301.1 268.1
13 Newton County 13,992 12.8 20.0 18,067.5 471.7
14 Lake County 485,707 10.6 16.6 21,662.0 345.7

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