While only two of the state’s 11 healthcare regions currently have enhanced coronavirus mitigation rules in place, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that positivity rates are rising in the vast majority of those regions, causing concerns among health officials as fall approaches.
According to the governor, nine of the state’s 11 healthcare regions have seen their positivity rate increase over the last two weeks, with four of those regions seeing an increase of more than one percentage point.
Region 3, which includes Quincy and Springfield, and Region 6, which includes the Champaign-Urbana area and Decatur, are the only two regions that have seen their positivity rates go down over that time, Pritzker said.
“We continue to closely monitor every region, so I want to emphasize again that local elected officials and health officials should pay close attention to the data for their communities and, where necessary, step up and impose greater mitigations on a targeted basis to bring down the number of infections and the positivity rate,” Pritzker said.
Here is where each region stands as of Wednesday, with increases and decreases calculated over the last week:
Region 1 – 5.8% (up 0.8%)
Region 2 – 7.1% (up 0.6%)
Region 3 – 5.0% (down 0.5%)
Region 4 – 9.6% (down 0.1%)
Region 5 – 6.9% (down 0.2%)
Region 6 – 1.7% (up 0.1%)
Region 7 – 8.8% (up 0.5%)
Region 8 – 5.9% (up 0.3%)
Region 9 – 6.5% (up 0.7%)
Region 10 – 6.6% (down 0.2%)
Region 11 – 5.7% (up 0.4%)
Of those regions, Region 4 (located near St. Louis) and Region 7 (comprised of Will and Kankakee counties) are currently above the 8% threshold that triggers new coronavirus restrictions. Region 4’s restrictions were bumped up on Wednesday to match those in Region 7.
Both regions have had to suspend in-person dining and bar service, and are both required to lower the maximum allowable gathering size to 25 or fewer people, according to guidelines set forth by the state.
Pritzker says that he is very mindful of the struggles of small businesses that are having to deal with the challenges of coronavirus, but says that the spread of the virus is a massive threat to the state’s economy, and therefore must be dealt with quickly.
“These are not decisions I make lightly,” Pritzker said. “Nor would I impose these restrictions if there wasn’t evidence of increasing spread of the virus in these areas. I want our businesses to be open and our hospitality scene to thrive….but the greatest hindrance to restoring our nation’s economic vitality is the virus.”