One of Illinois' 11 health care regions is "dangerously close" to seeing more restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Wednesday.
Region 4, the Metro East region bordering St. Louis, Missouri, is the area in question, Pritzker said. That region includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties.
"Yesterday in the Metro East region, I sounded the alarm on the region’s 7.1% rolling seven-day average positivity rate compared to the state’s overall 3.1%," Pritzker said at a news conference. He added that the other 10 regions in the state have a positivity rate below 5%.
A sustained rise in the positivity rate is defined as an increase in the 7-day rolling average for 7 days out of a 10-day period. Region 7, south suburban Kankakee and Will Counties, has a positivity rate of 4.9% while Region 6, in eastern and central Illinois, has a positivity rate of 2.2%, officials said.
If a region hits three consecutive days of an 8% average positivity rate, or sees a sustained increase in both positivity rate and hospital admissions, additional mitigations will automatically be put in place, state health officials said.
"The state will take immediate action to impose additional mitigations if a region crosses above the metrics we set, and Metro East is coming dangerously close to that, so I have spoken with local leaders and asked them to clamp down on the outbreaks where they are occurring so the state won’t have to step in," Pritzker said Wednesday.
The governor announced last week that the state would be further divided from four into 11 separate regions to allow health officials to apply a more focused approach to each area's coronavirus response and potential restrictions as the pandemic continues.
The metrics used to determine whether additional mitigations would be implemented are as follows:
- 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
Any mitigations would be imposed on a three-tiered plan, ranging from reducing capacity at businesses in various industries to shutting down operations in some of the spaces that pose a higher risk of transmission, like indoor dining and bars or salons and personal care services.
Some residents of Region 4 travel frequently into Missouri, state health officials said, noting that the state has less stringent mitigation measures in place and an overall higher positivity rate than Illinois.