All 11 of Illinois’ healthcare regions are currently operating under Tier 3 coronavirus mitigation rules, but some regions are trending in the right direction to have those rules eased in the coming weeks.
In Region 6, which includes Champaign County, positivity rates are nearing the 12% threshold that would trigger an easing of mitigations, and hospital bed availability and hospitalization rates are also improving as well, according to the latest data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Region 9, located in northeastern Illinois and comprised of McHenry and Lake counties, is also seeing progress on all fronts, with dropping hospitalization rates and positivity rates in the latest set of IDPH data.
Other regions are not faring quite so well, including Region 4 in southwestern Illinois, which has seen hospitalizations increase and has seen bed and ICU bed availability decline in recent days.
For a region to move forward from Tier 3 mitigation rules, several statistical benchmarks have to be met. The region’s seven-day positivity rate must drop below 12% for three consecutive days. The region’s percentage of available ICU and medical/surgical beds must also be above 20% for three consecutive days, and the region must see a decline in hospitalizations on seven of the previous 10 days of available statistics.
Here is where things stand in Illinois as of Thanksgiving (note: positivity rates have a three-day lag in data, meaning the latest information in that statistic is from Monday):
Region 1 (Northwestern Illinois):
Bed availability in this region continues to drop, falling to 23% on Thursday, while ICU bed availability, after a brief rebound, has also declined to 24%. New hospitalizations are declining overall, as is the region’s positivity rate, which has dropped to 15.4%.
Region 2 (West-Central Illinois):
Positivity rates, after a decline, have flattened out in recent days, dropping to 14.3%, but hospital bed and ICU bed availability (25.5% and 21.8%, respectively) are nearing the 20% threshold after declines on each of the last three days.
The region is also seeing a slow increase in new hospitalizations related to the virus.
Region 3 (Western Illinois):
Hospitalizations are on the rise in this region, but positivity rates are on a dramatic decline, dropping to 12.5% this week. ICU bed availability remains very low, sitting at 15.2%, but hospital bed availability has increased to 23%, reversing a recent downward trend.
Region 4 (Southwestern Illinois):
This region has seen hospitalizations increase on nine of the last 10 days, has their hospital bed availability has been under the 20% threshold for nine consecutive days. The region’s positivity rate has decreased recently, dropping to 13.8%.
Region 5 (Southeastern Illinois):
While the positivity rate in this region has dropped to 12.5%, the availability of ICU beds has continued its worrying decline, dropping to 19.7% on Thursday. The region has also seen its hospitalizations increase each of the last 10 days.
Region 6: (Eastern Illinois):
Perhaps the region closest to rolling back Tier 3 mitigations, this region, which includes Champaign County, is well above the 20% threshold in available hospital and ICU beds, and has seen five straight days of decreases in hospitalizations overall.
The seven-day positivity rate has dropped to 12.7%, according to the IDPH.
Region 7 (Will, Kankakee counties):
On Nov. 19, just 10.8% of the hospital beds in these two counties were available in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases, but that number has rebounded to 19.5% as of Thursday. ICU bed availability has taken a similar path, and the region finally saw a decline in hospitalizations this week.
The region’s seven-day positivity rate is declining, but still remains well above the 12% threshold to trigger a reduction in mitigations, sitting at 17.6%.
Region 8 (Kane, DuPage counties):
The region may finally be turning a corner in terms of hospitalizations, as the region has seen slight decreases on each of the last three days, but other metrics remain concerning here, including the availability of hospital beds and ICU beds, both of which are under the 20% threshold required to move out of Tier 3 restrictions.
The region’s positivity rate had remained largely steady, but has finally started to drop, following the lead of numerous other communities in the state.
Region 9 (McHenry, Lake counties):
The region has seen continued declines in positivity rates, falling to 13.1% this week, and it also remains over the 20% threshold in both hospital bed availability and ICU bed availability.
The news is better on the overall hospitalizations front, as the region has seen six consecutive days of declines in that metric, with the census count falling to 347 on Thursday.
Region 10 (Suburban Cook County):
Thursday marked a decrease in the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in suburban Cook County, and the area is also seeing continued decreases in positivity rates, as that number has dropped to 14%.
The one area of concern for the region in terms of rolling back mitigations comes in the availability of ICU beds, as the region has spent five consecutive days under the 20% threshold. Just 17% of the region’s ICU beds are open for COVID-19 patients.
Region 11 (Chicago):
The city is moving in the right direction in its positivity rate, which dropped to 12.6% on Thursday, and has remained over the threshold required for hospital bed availability, but still has work to do in terms of hospitalizations overall, as the city has seen its hospitalizations increase on each of the last 10 days, up to 1,284 patients as of Thursday.