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Coronavirus

IDPH, Gov. Pritzker announce Region 1 COVID-19 mitigations begin Saturday

No indoor service for bars, restaurants

Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at The Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall in Marseilles during a ceremony honoring Gold Star families for Gold Star Mother's Day.
Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at The Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall in Marseilles during a ceremony honoring Gold Star families for Gold Star Mother's Day.

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Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 1, the northwestern-most counties in Illinois beginning Saturday.

Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

The positivity rate trends had not favored Region 1 in recent weeks. It hit 8% positive in each of the past two days, according to the most recently released state data, and mathematically needed to turn in a day on Wednesday with a low positivity rate it had not seen in weeks in order to get under 8% positive.

Looking at the most recent available public data for the region, Winnebago County has been a major contributor to the uptick in the positivity rate. It has conducted about 40% of the region’s tests, and has a rolling seven-day positivity rate of 9.3%, according to the IDPH. Three of the past four days, Winnebago County has been at 10.3% positive or higher.

Whiteside County comes in at 7.5%, Ogle County at 6.9%, Lee County at 9.4% and DeKalb County at 7.4%.

“The concerning uptick in Region 1’s positivity – jumping more than two percentage points in two weeks even as the majority of Illinois continues to see downward trends – demands increased efforts to stop the spread in our northwestern counties,” Pritzker said in a news release. “As other regions have demonstrated, stricter mitigations will lead to safer communities when people mask up, keep their distance, wash their hands and respect public health. It is my hope that the residents of Region 1 can turn this situation around quickly, and Dr. Ezike and I continue to coordinate with local officials to make that happen.”

“COVID-19 spread can increase very quickly, as we’ve seen in some regions in the state, now including Region 1,” IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said in a news release. “As the pandemic continues, so must our fight against it: Please, don’t hold or attend large events or mass gatherings, wear your face covering and keep 6 feet of distance between you and others.”

In the past week, Region 1 also had an early indication of increasing hospital admissions for COVID-like-illness, according to the news release.

“Although this increase has not yet reached the threshold level, it indicates more severe illness is increasing and [the] IDPH will continue to monitor the region’s hospital capacity,” according to the release.

Mitigation measures taking effect Saturday in Region 1 include the following:

Bars

• No indoor service

• All outside bar service closes at 11 p.m.
• All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside

• No ordering, seating or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed) 

• Tables should be 6 feet apart 

• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting

• No dancing or standing indoors

• Reservations required for each party

• No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants

• No indoor dining or bar service

• All outdoor dining closes at 11p.m.

• Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart

• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting

• Reservations required for each party 

• No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings

• Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity

• No party buses

• Gaming and Casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25% capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.

“[The] IDPH will track the positivity rate in Region 1 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place,” according to the release. “If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for three consecutive days, then Regions 1 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.”

Region 4, the Metro East, remains under additional mitigation measures. Although the 7-day rolling average test positivity rate is less than 8%, it remains above 6.5% and has increased in recent days.

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