coronavirus illinois

One Week to Potential Start of Phase 3: Here’s Where We Stand

As of Friday, eight days remained in the statewide stay-at-home order, but regions can begin entering phase three in as early as seven days - if they meet the required metrics

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All four of Illinois' health regions remain on track to enter to the next phase of reopening one week from Friday, data shows.

As of Friday, eight days remained in the statewide stay-at-home order, but regions can begin entering phase three in as early as seven days - if they meet the required metrics. Chicago, however, will not be eligible to enter phase three of its own reopening plan until early June, the city's mayor announced.

Illinois' four reopening regions — Northeast, North Central, Central and Southern — are based on the state's 11 hospital regions, which Gov. Pritzker said have been "on the books for decades."

In order to enter phase three, a region "will be required to have a positivity rate of 20% or less and an increase of no more than 10% over a 14-day period." The positivity rate is determined by using a 7-day rolling average to smooth volatility in the daily metrics, according to IDPH.

The Northeast region, which includes Cook County and collar counties, reported a positivity rate at 16.3% Friday — a drop of 5.3% in the last two weeks.

Last week, the region was not hitting the numbers required to enter phase three of the state's five-phased reopening plan.

The other remaining regions in the state sit well-below the positivity rate threshold, with the North-Central region at 6.8%, the Central region at 3% and the Southern region at 4.6%.

While positivity rate is undoubtedly a major factor, it's not the only requirement to move the reopening process forward.

Additionally, a region must see stability or a decrease in hospital admissions for COVID-like illness across a 28-day period. All four regions have seen a dip in hospitalizations since May 1, according to state officials.

In contrast to Illinois' requirements, the plan announced by the White House includes 14 days of downward movement.

All four regions are also required to have the available surge capacity of at least 14% ICU beds, medical/surgical beds and ventilators. As of Monday, that requirement was also being met by all four health care regions.

The Northeast region reported 20.5% of medical-surgical beds available and 22.2% of ICU beds not in use as of Friday. The area remained strong with ventilator availability, with 63% on hand.

Other regions reported medical/surgical bed availability in excess of 40% and ICU capacity above at least 40%, nearly double the necessary metrics.

May 15 briefing: Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, discusses that latest coronavirus case information for Illinois.

Under phase three, manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons will be able to reopen to the public with capacity and other limits as well as safety precautions. Gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer and face coverings will also be necessary.

The following criteria must also be met for phase three to begin:

• Testing Capacity:
o Test at least 5% of Chicago residents per month
• Testing Percent Positivity Rates (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Congregate: <30% positive tests
o Community: <15% positive tests
• Syndromic Surveillance (over 14 days, as a rolling average):
o Declining emergency department visits for influenza-like illness and/or COVID-like illness
• Case Investigation & Contact Tracing:
o Expanded system in place for congregate and community investigations and
contact tracing

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