COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States, proving that the pandemic is not over in Oak Park, River Forest and everywhere else. That sense of security associated with the state of Illinois being reopened – misguided, if unvaccinated.

The village of Oak Park has had 20 new positive cases of COVID-19 since July 7, according to a July 14 announcement from the Oak Park Public Health Department.

“This latest surge comes after reporting only three local cases over the previous three weeks,” the announcement reads.

The increase stresses the need for people to get vaccinated, which the Oak Park Public Health Department is encouraging eligible residents to do, if they have not already. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that all authorized vaccinations are effective in thwarting all circulating mutations of the COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the most dominant strain.

Oak Park has a rolling seven-day average positivity rate of 2.04 percent while River Forest’s is at 2.27 percent, per Northwestern University’s Illinois COVID data dashboard.

Two-thirds of the eligible Oak Park population has gotten vaccinated – well below Evanston and other communities, according to the Oak Park Public Health Department. Of the roughly 30,000 residents who have gotten the vaccine, 29,000 are fully vaccinated. Since March  2020, Oak Park has had 3,231 residents test positive for COVID-19.

The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has reported 72.8 percent of River Forest’s population has received at least one vaccination dose with 60.7 percent having completed a full vaccination series. River Forest has had 833 positive cases cumulatively with an infection rate of 7,456 per 100,000 people as of July 14, according to the CCDPH.

As Oak Park has its own health department, unlike River Forest, CCDPH does not track Oak Park’s infection rate. The Oak Public Health Department does not provide the information either.

Deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in both villages. Cook County Medical Examiner data indicates River Forest has had 3 deaths and Oak Park 62 cumulative since March 16, 2020.

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