SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month
SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month

Two more regions under COVID restrictions

Staff Writer
State Journal-Register

Two more regions of the state are facing COVID-19 mitigation measures because of a resurgence of the virus.

Gov. JB Pritzker said mitigation measures will be imposed in Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) and Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties) beginning Friday.

The mitigation measures mean no indoor service at bars and restaurants and those businesses must close by 11 p.m. Also, no crowds of more than 25 people are allowed.

In both regions, the seven day rolling positivity rate exceeded 8 percent for three consecutive days, one of the factors that will trigger mitigation efforts.

There are now four regions in Illinois that are under mitigation measures because the coronavirus is staging a resurgence. Region 1 at the northern border of the state has been under mitigation efforts like those in Regions 7 and 8 since Oct. 3. On Monday, Pritzker said that Region 5 in the southernmost part of the state will have those measures imposed Thursday.

Pritzker warned that numbers are not looking for other parts of the state. Five of the seven regions that aren’t under mitigation efforts yet have a positivity rate above 7 percent. That includes Region 3 which covers Sangamon County. The remaining two regions are above 6.5 percent.

“All continue to show increases over last week,” Pritzker said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday that there were 3,714 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the previous 24 hours. That brings the statewide total to 350,875. The statewide positivity rate is 5.5 percent.

Another 41 deaths were reported bringing the statewide total to 9,277.

At a Chicago news conference, Pritzker again said the mitigation efforts focus on bars and restaurants because that is where the virus is spread.

“There are pages and pages and pages studies from around the world and around the United States that show that bars and restaurants are spreading locations, significant spreading locations,” Pritzker said. “Private gatherings are another major spreading opportunity for the virus.”

Pritzker said the issue with private gatherings isn’t so much among immediate family members, it’s when friends gather or relatives outside of the immediate family.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that contact tracing of people who have contracted the virus shows three primary locations where it is spread – at work, in schools and at bars and restaurants.

“We’re not going to not have people go to school,” she said, adding that local districts decide what is best for students. “In terms of the workplace, other people cannot work from home, where you have to go to work. So the next thing that we can act on are the bars and restaurants.”

Pritzker said the regional approach to imposing mitigation measures where the virus is surging has proven effective. He pointed to the Metro East area that was under restrictions for weeks, but which finally got its positivity rate under control.

Pritzker said the state has to take action “because we are seeing a national surge of cases that is affecting every state around us in a dramatic way.”

“In Illinois, we are seeing the numbers go up literally all across the state,” he said. “The truth is we’re going to have to tough this out a little longer.”

Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr