CHICAGO — Illinois health officials said the region including Will and Kankakee counties is “on track” for a lessening of COVID-19 restrictions including the return of indoor dining at restaurants Wednesday, as the state continues to see a decline in cases and positivity rates.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,822 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, as well as 107 additional deaths. The state is now averaging about 5,000 new cases and 80 deaths each day when measured over a 7-day period.
Additionally, the IDPH said the South Suburban Region which includes Will and Kankakee counties is “on track” for moving to the state’s “Tier 1” of coronavirus mitigation measures starting Thursday.
While the region is reporting the lowest COVID-19 test positivity rates in the Chicago area, it is currently the only one still under the strictest “Tier 3” mitigations because it hasn’t seen enough days with a decline in the number of Covid hospitalizations.
But if trends hold, that region will essentially skip over moving to “Tier 2” by qualifying for “Tier 1” of coronavirus mitigation measures with a 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than 8% for three consecutive days. Additionally, moving to “Tier 1” doesn’t require a decline in Covid hospitalizations, but rather no “sustained increase.”
Indoor dining at restaurants and bars that serve food is allowed to resume under Tier 1, although there are restrictions on capacity and group sizes. This is in addition to a reopening of entertainment venues, cultural institutions like museums, larger limits on group sizes and a resumption of sports and other recreational activities.
The East-Central Region will also will move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Thursday if trends there continue.
Within the past 24 hours, state labs reported 86,121 new Covid tests, while the 7-day testing average remains around 92,000. The case positivity rate from January 13–19, which is the percent of all tests which confirmed a new case of COVID-19, came in at 5.5% after declining for about a week.
As of Tuesday night, 3,284 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 722 patients were in the ICU and 379 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
While vaccinations continue across the state, the rate at which they are being administered appears to be declining. State health officials said 29,008 doses were administered yesterday while the 7-day average is now about 22,000, down from the peak of about 27,000 seen a week ago.
So far, 537,740 doses of vaccine have been administered while 112,823 people are fully vaccinated, about .89% of the total population of Illinois.