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New COVID-19 restrictions to take place starting Saturday in Region 1

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COVID-19-Northern-Illinois-Coronavirus

CHICAGO (WREX) — Region 1, which includes Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Lee counties, will be under new COVID-19 guidelines starting Saturday, October 3.

Governor JB Pritzker and state health officials made the announcement on Tuesday.

The region is seeing a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures in the region under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. This announcement follows last week’s warnings to local leaders that additional mitigation measures would be implemented if the region continued to see an increase in cases. 

In the past week, Region 1 also had an early indication of increasing hospital admissions for COVID-like-illness.  Although this increase has not yet reached the threshold level, it indicates more severe illness is increasing and IDPH will continue to monitor the region’s hospital capacity.

Mitigation measures taking effect October 3, 2020 in Region 1 include the following: 

Bars 

  • No indoor service 
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside 
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)  
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart  
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • No dancing or standing indoors 
  • Reservations required for each party 
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 

Restaurants 

  • No indoor dining or bar service 
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart 
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • Reservations required for each party  
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity 
  • No party buses 
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable 

These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.

IDPH will track the positivity rate in Region 1 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for three consecutive days, then Regions 1 will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.

If the positivity rate averages between 6.5% and 8%, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8% after 14 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.  

According to IDPH, Region 1 hasn't had a positivity rate below 6% since Sept. 10.

“The concerning uptick in Region 1’s positivity – 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,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “As other regions have demonstrated, stricter mitigations will lead to safer communities when people mask up, keep their distance, wash their hands and respect public health. It is my hope that the residents of Region 1 can turn this situation around quickly, and Dr. Ezike and I continue to coordinate with local officials to make that happen.” 

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Andrew Carrigan

Andy Carrigan is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team as a photographer in 2016 after graduating from Northern Illinois University. He also been a producer and Assignment Editor at the station.

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