Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that he's considering reopening the state region-by-region, but not by using a typical approach.
At his daily coronavirus news conference, Pritzker said it's important to think of regions not in the normal sense of the word, but as "health care regions," which he said would be based on the availability of intensive care unit beds in a given area.
As an example, the governor cited that a spike in cases in an area with only 25 available ICU beds could be problematic.
"If there’s a significant spike in that area, 25 is not a big number, so what we want to make sure is that we’re able to handle a spike," he said.
Statewide, coronavirus patients make up approximately 33% of the staffed ICU beds, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Regionally, the Springfield area has the lowest percentage of occupied beds, 46%, while the northeast suburbs of Chicago have the highest percentage of occupancy, 88%.
Pritzker previously said that parts of the state could reopen by May 30, the last day of Illinois' stay-at-home order. However, he said, in order to reopen, regions must see a 14-day decline in cases, as outlined by federal guidelines.
Pritzker also warned that a spike in cases could occur if the state were to reopen too fast, and iterated that reopening guidelines need to be based on data and metrics.
"I want to open as soon as anybody does, I just want to make sure we’re doing it in a safe fashion," he said.
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Pritzker added that residents could expect to learn the details of his phased reopening plan before the stay-at-home order expires on May 30.