Note: Pritzker's update can be watched live in the video player above beginning at around 12 p.m. CST.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to deliver a virtual coronavirus update from home Wednesday as he self-isolates after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, his office says.
Pritzker is set to deliver the update at 12 p.m., according to his public schedule.
Details on the topic of the update were not immediately clear, though his office announced Tuesday afternoon that one of Illinois' 11 healthcare regions triggered enhanced coronavirus mitigations, to be put in place beginning Saturday.
The new mitigation restrictions will be put into place after Region 1, located in northwest Illinois, saw its seven-day rolling positivity rate exceed 8% for more than three consecutive days.
Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.
“The concerning uptick in Region 1’s positivity rate – jumping more than two percentage points in two weeks even as the majority of Illinois continues to see downward trends – demands increased efforts to stop the spread in our northwestern counties,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Region 1 has also reported some increased hospital admission for illnesses directly related to COVID-19, as well as illnesses that could potentially be linked to the virus.
As part of the new enhanced mitigation strategies, indoor service at bars and restaurants must be suspended on Saturday. All outside bar service can continue, but service will be required to close at 11 p.m. Reservations will be required for parties looking to visit bars and restaurants.
Social events will also be limited to 25 or fewer guests, or 25% of overall room capacity. Party buses are also banned under provisions of the rules.
In order to move back to Phase 4 restrictions, the region will be required to average a positivity rate of 6.5% or less for three straight days.
The state has seen success in using the enhanced restrictions to put the clamps on increasing positivity rates, as Region 7, home to Will and Kankakee counties, saw mitigations put in place, which stemmed the increase in positivity rates and allowed those counties to reopen bars and restaurants to indoor seating.
Pritzker himself is self-isolating for 14 days for the second time since the coronavirus pandemic began after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19, his office said Tuesday.
The staff member tested negative last Wednesday during weekly testing for the office, Pritzker's office said in a statement. After experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the staffer was tested again Monday and the results were positive.
Pritkzer's office said the staffer attended events with the governor on Wednesday in Chicago, Thursday in Marion and Sunday in Marseilles, noting that the governor and the staffer were wearing masks during the entirety of their interactions.
"The staffer has been interviewed and a contact tracing effort is underway to ensure all close contacts are notified," Pritzker's office said. "Event organizers at each impacted event have also been contacted and made aware of the staff member’s positive results as well as appropriate next steps."
Pritzker and all close contacts will self-isolate for 14 days, his office said, and all staff who report to the office and must test negative before returning.
Pritzker and employees previously self-isolated for two weeks in May after a member of his senior staff tested positive.
In that case, the staff member was asymptomatic, the governor's office said at the time, and was in close contact with Pritzker as well as other employees.
"Staff members reporting to the office have followed all public health safety protocols including weekly testing, daily temperature checks, wearing face coverings, social distancing and strict hygiene procedures," Pritzker's office said Tuesday. "The office undergoes a weekly deep cleaning and an additional deep cleaning was conducted Monday night."
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