Illinois is expected to enter its final reopening phase in a matter of days, but what will that mean for the state?
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that his administration intends to move the state into Phase 5 of COVID mitigation strategies next week.
“We are (meeting our goals), and in fact it’s (Phase 5) scheduled for June 11,” Pritzker said.
Phase 5 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan would remove all remaining capacity limits and restrictions on all sectors of the economy, according to the state’s COVID website. Conventions, festivals and other large events would be allowed to proceed at full capacity, and masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals in most settings, per CDC guidance.
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This news comes as the state continues to see dramatic declines in several key areas. Illinois has only reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 once in the last 10 days, including just 401 new cases on Tuesday. The state’s positivity rate on tests has continued to drop to record lows, and over the weekend the state set a new low-watermark for COVID hospitalizations, with just over 1,000 residents currently hospitalized because of the virus.
Of the 1,031 COVID patients currently hospitalized, 284 are in ICU beds, and 162 are currently on ventilators, according to state officials.
The city of Chicago has not yet announced whether it will proceed into Phase 5 with the rest of Illinois, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said that the city is seeing the same positive changes in metrics.
"We hope to get to fully open by Fourth of July. We will see what happens by June 11," Lightfoot said last week. "We're definitely trending in the right direction, but the minute I say that I worry because we've been here before. But our cases are going down, our percent positivity is going down, hospitalizations, ICU - all the metrics that we follow on a daily basis are all trending in the right direction, but we've got to keep getting people vaccinated. But my hope is that we're going to keep moving on the trajectory that we're on, and we're going to see more opportunities for opening up."