As multiple regions across Illinois start to see heightened restrictions due to increased positivity rates during what's being described as a "second surge" of the coronavirus pandemic, could the state see another stay-at-home order?
It's unlikely, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who noted the state's previous success in targeted mitigations.
"That's not something we're considering right now," Pritzker said when asked about the potential for another order during a press briefing Monday.
Pritzker said the state plans to continue with its current strategy of implementing restrictions in specific locations seeing increased positivity rates.
"We have resurgence plan in place," he said. "It has worked as regions have gone into it and they've come out of it."
Under the current plan, regions that exceed an 8% positivity rate for three consecutive days begin to see added restrictions, such as the suspension of indoor dining and bar service. If numbers remain too high after a two-week period, the state can either choose to allow those restrictions to remain in place, or can implement additional rules.
Already this week, such mitigations have been issued for several Illinois regions.
Residents in four suburban counties will see enhanced coronavirus restrictions go into effect on Friday, as Regions 7 and 8 in the state’s healthcare system have exceeded the 8% positivity rate threshold for three consecutive days.
The new restrictions will take effect Friday in the impacted counties, and will include the closure of indoor service at restaurants and bars in the effected counties.
Region 7, comprised of Will and Kankakee counties, had already been under the enhanced mitigation rules earlier this year, but will now go back to those policies for at least the next two weeks, according to Pritzker’s office.
Region 8, comprised of DuPage and Kane counties, has seen its positivity rate spike dramatically, rising from 5.6% on Oct. 8 to 9% on Oct. 17, the last date for which data is currently available.
Those increases in positivity rates mean that all indoor dining and bar service will be suspended effective Friday in those four counties. Capacity limits will also be enforced for outdoor seating at those venues, and gatherings of over 25 people will be prohibited under the restrictions.
All party buses will also be banned in those four counties.
Two other Illinois regions are currently under the enhanced mitigation rules, including Region 1 in northwestern Illinois. Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, will have the new rules go into effect on Thursday as a result of elevated positivity rates.
The news comes as Illinois continues to see record gains in coronavirus cases. The state has reported more than 26,000 new cases of the virus in the last seven days, a new record during the pandemic. The state’s rolling seven-day positivity rate now stands at 5.5%, the highest it has been since early June.
Those gains in cases and positivity rates have led to more talk of restrictions being put into place in Chicago and in other locations, but it is unclear at this time whether any statewide mandates could be put into effect to address the issues.