Some Illinois regions could begin lifting Tier 3 restrictions Friday, but how far back will they go and what will it mean?
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to end the work week by announcing which regions can start to roll back the restrictions that have been in place for months, suspending indoor dining across the state and closing down museums and casinos.
All of Illinois' 11 regions have been under Tier 3 mitigations since Nov. 20.
According to the governor's office, some regions are set to move back to Tier 2, others possibly to Tier 1, and some will remain in Tier 3 - under the data reported Thursday afternoon.
"It will be a mixed bag," a spokesperson for the governor's office said.
As of Thursday, however, no region was meeting the guidelines to bring back indoor dining, though some were close, the spokesperson said.
While it remains unclear what exactly the governor will announce for each region Friday, under the state's guidelines, a region can move to Tier 2 mitigations if it sees a test positivity rate less than 12% for three consecutive days and more than 20% of ICU and hospital beds are available, as well as declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in seven of the previous 10 days.
Regions with a positivity rate averaging between 6.5 percent and 8 percent, will likely be under Tier 1 guidelines, though the state could still choose to monitor before lifting restrictions further.
To move to Phase 4, however, the positivity rate must average less than or equal to 6.5 percent over a 3-day period.
Currently, the closest region to meeting that metric is Region 3 in western Illinois, which has an average positivity rate of 6.9%. But that region is currently teetering on the verge of not enough hospital bed availability and ICU bed capacity, which would mean it remains in Tier 3.
In addition to Region 3, Regions 1, 2 and 5 - which include Kendall, Grundy, LaSalle and DeKalb in the Chicago area - are also currently meeting the guidelines to begin rolling back some restrictions.
Regions 7 and 8 in the Chicago area are also close to meeting the metrics to leave Tier 3. (For a complete region-by-region breakdown click here)