CHICAGO — Every region of Illinois is either under additional COVID-19 mitigation measures or will soon see them put in place as a second wave of infections continues across the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,222 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths Monday, while the 7-day case positivity rate continued a rise which began in early October to reach 8.1%.
After a week which saw multiple single-day records of new COVID-19 cases, Illinois’ current 7-day average has nearly tripled from where it was in early October to around 6,360, data compiled by WGN shows.
Speaking Monday, Governor JB Pritzker said the past week saw some of the biggest increases in COVID-19 test positivity rates across the state since the spring, from a low of 1.2% in southern Illinois to a high of 3.1% in Will and Kankakee counties.
“The virus is spreading and every region of the state is suffering from its insidious invisible contagion,” Pritzker said.
The 7-day average of deaths remains around 40 after a rise which began in early October leveled off on October 24. Prior to the rise, the state was averaging between 15-20 reported deaths a day.
Testing in the state continues to expand as well, with 68,118 new tests reported over the past day and a 7-day average of more than 78,000. State health official estimate 97% of confirmed cases have recovered to date.
A rise in coronavirus hospitalizations which began in mid-October continued Monday as well. The IDPH said 3,371 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday night, including 722 in intensive care and 298 on ventilators.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and those in intensive care is now at a level last seen in early June, although there are fewer patients on ventilators than there were previously.
State health officials said Monday additional free testing sites will be available in southern, central and northern Illinois starting this week. Locations of testing sites are available online.
Additional coronavirus mitigation measures are in place in the East-Central Region established in the Restore Illinois plan as of Monday morning, and soon will be in place in every region of the state.
Pritzker compared the mitigation measures to seatbelts and other public safety rules, saying they would likely take “several weeks” to decrease positivity rates.
“Just like driving a car, when someone blows through a stoplight they not only risk their own life but also the lives of all the drivers around them,” Pritzker said. “Right now the stoplight is red so please act accordingly.”
The North-Central Region surrounding Peoria will be the final region to come under the added restrictions starting Wednesday after the 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate there rose above the state’s “failsafe” level of 8% for more than three consecutive days, reaching 9.7% as of Friday.
Even stricter “Tier 2” mitigation measures remain in place in northwest Illinois and could come to DuPage and Kane Counties, as well as the southern Illinois region, later this week if their positivity rates stay above 8%.
State guidelines mandate a region come under the next level of mitigations if their 7-day positivity rate remains above 8% two weeks after the first tier of restrictions are put in place. This includes a reduction in size limits for social gatherings to 10 people or less in both indoor and outdoor settings, as well as limiting bars and restaurants to six people per table.