- Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include a PDF of Tier 1 COVID-19 restrictions.
Bars, restaurants and social gatherings in Kane and DuPage counties will have additional COVID-19 restrictions following an announcement today by Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Will and Kankakee counties — Region 7 — have been put on similar mitigation restrictions.
Mitigation for both regions will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.
In a 2:30 p.m. news conference, Pritzker said he understands that there is fatigue regarding restrictions set by the state, but now is not the time for Illinoisans to let their guards down.
“We’re Midwestern tough here in Illinois,” he said. “We have to manage through this. We have to do our part to reduce the spread of the virus.”
Region 8 is seeing a seven-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures in the region under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.
As of today (Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020), Region 8’s seven-day test positivity rate stands at 9%.
Kane County’s seven-day rolling rate is at 11.9%, according to the IDPH COVID-19 Regional Resurgence page. DuPage is at 7.6%.
DPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced 3,714 new cases, 41 deaths and 2,261 patients in hospitals due to COVID-19.
“It is not easy to take the right path,” she said. “We must continue to make strides. If your region does have the mitigations, please get on board to get your communities on track.”
Dr. Justin Macariola-Coad, interim chief medical officer at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Aurora, said during the news conference that wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping your distance from others will prevent the spread of this illness and save lives.
“We are in what is most likely the second wave,” he said. “The more we ignore taking these basic steps, the more people will get sick and the harder it will be on the health care system and our brave front-line clinical workers to keep up with the pandemic this winter and help care for our communities across the Northwest suburbs.”
The state continues to distribute emergency relief for small businesses and communities impacted by the ongoing pandemic. In Regions 7 and 8, approximately $14 million has been awarded for small businesses and community aid.
Businesses in both regions, as well as other regions currently under additional mitigations, will receive priority consideration for the current round of Business Interruption Grants), with $220 million available to help offset costs and losses businesses have incurred as a result of the pandemic.
Mitigation Measures Taking Effect in Region 8
These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.
In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 8 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place.
If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for three consecutive days, then Regions 8 will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.
If the positivity rate averages between 6.5% and 8%, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8% after 14 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.
Yesterday, the administration announced COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 5, in Southern Illinois, beginning Oct. 22.
Region 1, in Northwestern Illinois, has been operating under tightened mitigations since Oct. 3 and the region has continued to see test positivity climb at a consistent pace. Including Regions 7 and 8, four of the 11 public health regions have now triggered the state’s failsafe state-action metric.
This marks the second time that Region 7 has surpassed the threshold set for establishing additional resurgence mitigation measures. The state initially implemented additional mitigations in Region 7 on Aug. 26.
The region was able to return to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Sept.18, following weeks of close coordination between IDPH and local health departments, as well as a concerted effort by community leaders and residents. Now, in addition to a test positivity rate of above 8% for three consecutive days, Region 7 is also experiencing concerning ICU availability.
As part of the administration’s robust response to the pandemic, the state continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation. Illinois is now averaging over 65,000 tests per day, which is well above three times the testing than the average state.
Testing is readily available throughout the state, as it remains a critical step to reduce the spread of the virus, given that a positive test result begins the contact tracing process to prevent further spread in Illinois’ communities.
In addition to testing, IDPH continues to actively monitor every region in the state for several key indicators to identify early, but significant increases of COVID-19 transmission, potentially signifying resurgence. Indictors include an increase in a region’s positivity rate with a simultaneous increase in either hospital admissions for COVID-like-illness or a decrease in hospital capacity, or three consecutive days of greater than or equal to 8% test positivity rate (seven-day rolling average).
These indicators can be used to determine whether additional community mitigation interventions are needed for a region to prevent the further spread.
A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the DCEO website here.
SOURCE: state of Illinois news conference and news release