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Local News

IDPH cracks down on Will, Kankakee counties with new COVID-19 restrictions

Stricter region guidelines take effect Wednesday

Medical professionals can be seen Monday, Mar. 23, 2020, while testing first responders and other medical professionals for COVID-19 at a testing station at the Jefferson Street WalMart in Joliet, Ill.
Medical professionals can be seen Monday, Mar. 23, 2020, while testing first responders and other medical professionals for COVID-19 at a testing station at the Jefferson Street WalMart in Joliet, Ill.

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State officials announced new restrictions on Will and Kankakee counties starting Wednesday to try to reverse the trend of an increasing COVID-19 test positivity rate for the region.

The South Suburban region has seen three days of a test positivity rate at or above 8%, which meets the threshold for new restrictions, according to a news release.

On Wednesday, the region’s positivity rate, as a seven-day rolling average, was 8%. The region then reached an 8.3% positivity rate on Thursday and Friday, according to IDPH data.

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the specific restrictions for the region:

These mitigations do not apply to schools and will remain in effect over a 14-day period, after which more stringent measures will be implemented if the region’s COVID-19 metrics do not improve.

The region will need to get under 6.5% positivity over a 14-day period in order to return to the current Phase 4 guidelines under which much of the rest of the state is operating. If the positivity rate average is equal to or greater than 8% after 14 days, more restrictions will be applied.

The state has listed Will County at “warning level” for the past two weeks for its high level of new COVID-19 cases and, as of last Friday, for its increasing number of deaths from COVID-19.

The Metro East region – Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Clinton, Washington and Bond counties – was the first of the state’s health regions to move backward and face more restrictions.

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