One of Illinois' healthcare regions will see some of its added coronavirus mitigations lifted Friday as the area's positivity rate continues to decline, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
Region 7, which includes south suburban Kankakee and Will counties, is set to return to the phase four guidelines most of Illinois is currently under at 5 p.m. Friday.
“Today, Region 7 – Will and Kankakee Counties – will return to the standard Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan because residents chose to be all in for each other, for their small businesses, for their bars and restaurants, for their kids, for their neighbors,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Let that be a testament to the power of a community that embraces doctor-recommended mitigations proven to reduce risk and slow the spread. We can’t outrun this virus, but with the tools we know to work – masks, distancing, handwashing, and respect for public health and each other – we can beat it back enough to keep our businesses open and our neighborhoods safer all at once. Don’t let up now, Region 7 – let’s keep this success going.”
The area on Wednesday marked its first day below the state's 6.5% average positivity rate threshold since the increased restrictions began last month. In order to have its mitigations lifted, that trend had to hold for three days.
As of Friday, the positivity rate in the area was 5.6%, state health officials said.
Under the region's increased rules, which are stricter than Illinois' phase four plan, indoor service at both bars and restaurants has been suspended, gathering sizes were limited to 25 people and several establishments were ordered to close by 11 p.m., among other requirements.
Region 7 reached the level requiring these new COVID-19 mitigation efforts after the area saw its rolling positivity rate meet or exceed 8% for three consecutive days.
Under the IDPH’s “Restore Illinois” plan, any region that has a rolling positivity rate of 8% or higher for three consecutive days would have coronavirus mitigation measures enacted.
Such measures were also implemented in Region 4, which includes counties adjacent to St. Louis in southwestern Illinois.
Once measures are enacted, the positivity rate must average less than or equal to 6.5 percent over a 14-day period to return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.
"If the positivity rate averages between 6.5 percent and 8 percent, IDPH will continue to monitor the region to determine if additional mitigations are needed," according to the health department's website. "If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8 percent after 14 days, more stringent mitigations will be applied to further reduce spread of the virus."