ILLINOIS (WREX) — A harsh warning and a plea from state leaders on Wednesday afternoon, Illinois' COVID-19 numbers are increasing.
In the beginning of May, the number of hospitalizations and daily cases were dropping, now they're going up.
"My concern is growing each day about the direction our numbers are going," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "I'm not just concerned about numbers for numbers' sake. Remember each of these numbers increasing represents people infected with this new virus."
Dr. Ezike says the state can bring those numbers down by washing hands, social distancing, and wearing masks. The state's 11 different Restore Illinois regions are all trending in different directions, according to Governor JB Pritzker. But, he says the majority of them are going in the wrong direction. Nine out of eleven regions have increasing COVID-19 numbers.
One region trending the wrong direction is ours. The entire 13 WREX viewing area is in region 1, which has seen four days of an increasing positivity rate. If the region hits seven out of ten days, the state will step in and roll back reopening. But, Governor Pritzker hopes local governments step in to help stop the spread first.
"Otherwise it will only be a matter of time before the state will be forced to step in and roll things back on a regional basis," Gov. Prtizker said. "Something none of us wants."
Illinois also announced it gave $46 million to help more 2,655 businesses in 78 different counties with COVID-19 relief. The state calls it the Business Interruption Grant, or BIG Program. This money is meant for businesses who did not receive PPP funding from the Federal Cares Act.
"Our effort to support families and revitalize our economy are ongoing," added Gov. Pritzker. "I intend to do everything in my power to alleviate the pain COVID is inflicting across Illinois.
Another round of funding will be available to businesses soon.