Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.
New restrictions take effect in Region 6 in Illinois, shutting down indoor dining and bar service once again during the coronavirus pandemic.
Soon, such measures will be in effect across the state, with the final region set to see them begin Wednesday.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Nov. 2):
Illinois Reports 6,222 New Coronavirus Cases as Positivity Rate Climbs
Illinois saw another increase in its seven-day positivity rate on Monday, as the state saw 6,222 new cases of coronavirus reported within the last 24 hours.
The new cases lifted Illinois' rolling seven-day positivity rate rise from 8% to 8.1%, the highest mark the state has seen since late May when the state was on its way down from its first coronavirus cases peak.
In all, 423,502 cases of the virus have been reported statewide since the pandemic began.
According to officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state also reported 20 additional deaths Monday, bringing the statewide total to 9,810 deaths related to the virus.
The state says 68,118 test results have been returned to state labs in the last 24 hours, with 7,876,421 total tests performed during the pandemic.
Along with the increases in cases and positivity rates, the state has also seen a continued rise in hospitalizations due to the virus. According to IDPH data, 3,371 residents are currently hospitalized because of the virus, the highest number in that category since May 30. Of those patients, 722 are currently in intensive care units and 298 are on ventilators.
New Restrictions Take Effect in Yet Another Illinois Region as Nearly Entire State Enters Heightened Mitigations
New mitigations have taken effect in one of the last Illinois regions to see heightened mitigations imposed by the state.
Region 6 in East-Central Illinois has now suspended indoor dining, limited gathering sizes and more as the positivity rate in the area continues to rise. The new guidelines took effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday after being triggered by the state Friday.
“As of this morning, Region 6 has now sustained an average positivity rate of 8 percent or higher for three days, today hitting 8.6 percent – meaning that, starting Monday, they will join the majority of the state in operating under resurgence mitigations,” Pritzker said in a statement. “With community transmission rates on the rise all around our state, it’s more important than ever to take caution, mask up, avoid gatherings and ensure your family gets through this as safe as can be."
The final region without such mitigations will see them take effect Wednesday, meaning indoor dining will once again be suspended statewide.
Region 2 Triggers Enhanced Coronavirus Mitigations; All of Illinois Now Under Stricter Rules
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Sunday that Region 2, located in the western portion of the state, will see enhanced coronavirus mitigations put into place after reporting a positivity rate of more than 8% for three consecutive days.
With that announcement, all 11 health care regions in the state of Illinois will now be operating under enhanced mitigation rules as a result of elevated positivity rates and hospitalizations.
The new rules will take effect on Wednesday, the governor said.
Region 2 includes Rock Island, Henry, Bureau, Putnam, Kendall, Grundy, Mercer, Knox, Henderson, Warren, McDonough, Fulton, Stark, Marshall, Peoria, Tazwell, McLean, Woodford, Livingston and LaSalle counties.
Under the new rules, all indoor dining and bar service will be suspended for at least two weeks, with gathering sizes now limited to 50 or fewer people.
“I know that the vast majority of people in this state want to keep themselves safe, their families and children safe, their parents, neighbors and friends,” Pritzker said in a statement. “As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people we love.”
Currently, nine other regions in the state are operating under the same restrictions as Region 2, with Region 1 operating under a second tier of restrictions in the northwestern corner of the state. There, gathering sizes are limited even further, with 10 or fewer people allowed to congregate, according to health officials.
Illinois Reports 6,980 New Cases of Coronavirus as Positivity Rate Surges Upward
The state of Illinois saw another massive surge in its seven-day positivity rate on Sunday, with 6,980 new cases of coronavirus reported over the last 24 hours.
In just one day, Illinois has seen its rolling seven-day positivity rate rise from 7.5% to 8%, the highest mark the state has seen since late May when the state was on its way down from its first coronavirus cases peak.
In all, 417,280 cases of the virus have been reported statewide since the pandemic began.
According to officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state also reported 35 additional deaths Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 9,792 deaths related to the virus.
The state says 78,458 test results have been returned to state labs in the last 24 hours, with 7,808,303 total tests performed during the pandemic.
Along with the increases in cases and positivity rates, the state has also seen a continued rise in hospitalizations due to the virus. According to IDPH data, 3,294 residents are currently hospitalized because of the virus, the highest number in that category since May 30. Of those patients, 692 are currently in intensive care units.
Sunday also marked an important day in Region 2, where the positivity rate has now been above 8% for three consecutive days. Once made official by state health officials, all 11 healthcare regions in the state will have some type of enhanced mitigation restrictions in effect, with Region 1 in northwestern Illinois still seeing increasing positivity rates despite having a higher tier of restrictions than any other region in the state.
Is It Safe to Return to the Gym? One Doctor's Advice
Jackie McGuire is thrilled to be working out again at her fitness studio.
“It helps me mentally as well as physically so much more to get out of my home to be in a facility, even if people are 10 feet away from me, at least I know I'm not alone,” McGuire said.
With safety protocols like temperature checks in place, McGuire felt it was safe to return, but Denise Joyce feels differently.
“I have to say I really miss the gym,” Joyce said. “But we just thought, you know, we just can't chance it.”
McGuire prefers group fitness classes, where participants are limited and spaced out. Once she’s in her spot, she is allowed to take off her mask.
But Dr. Jeremy Alland, a sports medicine doctor at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, said masks should be paramount, even while working out.
“As long as you feel okay about exercising in a mask and people around you are exercising in a mask and following protocols, I think that would make me feel much more comfortable,” Alland said.
To hit the gym, or not, is a nuanced debate, Alland said.
“The safest thing to do is to try to follow the CDC guidelines to the best of your ability. I think, especially with cases rising the way they are right at this moment, we're trying to recommend as much to people as possible to avoid going out in the public places. I think it comes down to how much personal risk somebody is willing to take,” Alland said.
Joyce said she will continue to use free weights at home and walk outside, even as the weather turns colder.
“There's no such thing as bad weather. There's only inappropriate clothing. I think if you can layer up enough, you can still do it safely,” Joyce said.
“I think the options at home have probably never been better than they've been in the past and I think if that's something where you can accomplish that and also feel like you're getting the exercise you need, it is probably the safest way to go, at least at this point,” Alland said.
Illinois Restaurant Association Pleads With Governor Over Indoor Dining Ban
The Illinois Restaurant Association is pleading with the governor to take a different approach on coronavirus mitigation efforts.
At a press conference on Friday, members of the IRA, employees and restaurant owners highlighted the crisis the industry faces during this pandemic.
“We need a stimulus bill, we need a second round of the PPP,” IRA President Sam Toia said. “We’re not going to drive the numbers down by closing the restaurants. I think we’re going to drive these numbers up by having these private gatherings.”
While Gov. J.B. Pritzker said private gatherings are a major contributor to the second wave of the coronavirus, he also said bars and restaurants are just as capable of spreading the virus.
“The idea that your bubble is protected in a more public place than in your home is just not accurate,” Pritzker said. “They’re really amplification points for people who are sick who go into bars and restaurants. It’s very easily spread in that environment.”
Toia said the IRA is expected to meet with the governor next week.
Will Illinois See Another Stay-at-Home Order? Here's What Gov. Pritzker Says
Now that all of Illinois' health care regions have triggered increased mitigations as a result of rising positivity rates and coronavirus case numbers, could the state see another stay-at-home order?
It's unlikely, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has cited the state's success in mitigation strategies.
Pritzker previously said the state plans to continue with implementing restrictions in specific locations that see increased positivity rates.
Under the current plan, regions that exceed an 8% positivity rate for three consecutive days begin to see added restrictions, such as the suspension of indoor dining and bar service. If numbers remain too high after a two-week period, the state can either choose to allow those restrictions to remain in place, or can implement additional rules.
As of 12:01 a.m. Monday, Region 6 in East-Central Illinois will be placed under Tier 1 mitigations and see the suspension of indoor dining, gathering limitations and more as the positivity rate in the area continues to rise.
The region on Friday hit a three-day positivity rate of 8.6%.
Currently, eight regions are under mitigations, and Region 2 remains the only one of 11 Illinois' health care regions without heightened restrictions.
As a result of rising positivity rates, Region 1 is under Tier 2 mitigations, which include further limits on indoor dining, the reduction of elective surgeries, greater limits on gatherings and the suspension of organized indoor recreational activities.
Additional mitigations take effect in a particular region if the area sees:
- Sustained increase in 7-day rolling average (7 out of 10 days) in the positivity rate and one of the following severity indicators:
- Sustained 7-day increase in hospital admissions for a COVID-19 like illness
- Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)
- OR three consecutive days averaging ≥ 8% positivity rate
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported the state's highest number of daily coronavirus cases and tests of the entire coronavirus pandemic so far with nearly 7,000 cases and more than 95,000 tests.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate, on a steady rise for nearly all of October, increased from 6.9% to 7.3% Friday, marking the highest it has been since at least early June.