Pritzker To Impose New Restrictions On Region 1 As COVID-19 Positivity Rate Climbs

ILLINOIS — Gov. J.B. Pritzker said new restrictions would be put in place for the state’s Region 1 on Oct. 3 as its COVID-19 positivity rate and hospital admissions increase.

Two Republican state senators who represent parts of the region denounced the additional restrictions as arbitrary and harmful.

The region has reported a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

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

“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 statement. “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.”

State Sens. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, and Brian Stewart, R-Freeport, criticized the new restrictions in a statement.

“With the region reporting zero deaths in last ten days and with our hospital ICU vacancy rates at over 50 percent, any talk of business closure is unwarranted and wrong,” they said in the statement. “The safety and well-being of the citizens of this state should always be our biggest priority; however, as we saw months ago, these arbitrary mitigation measures are not the answer to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Syverson and Stewart called for additional transparency.

“We cannot afford to once again allow for our businesses to be negatively impacted and our workforce to take another hit just because the Governor has decided to enforce these arbitrary rules based on methodology that lacks much transparency,” they said.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike urged people to avoid large gatherings and to wear face masks.

“COVID-19 spread can increase very quickly, as we’ve seen in some regions in the state, now including Region 1,” she said in a statement. “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 six feet of distance between you and others.”

The region also had an early indication of increasing hospital admissions for COVID-like-illness, but health officials said the increase had not reached the threshold level. State public health officials will continue to monitor the region’s hospital capacity, according to a news release.

Mitigation measures taking effect Oct. 3 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 the 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 11 p.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 percent of overall room capacity
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

The added restrictions do not apply to schools, according to the news release.

The Center Square – Brett Rowland



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