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CHICAGO — Additional coronavirus mitigation measures will be put in place in the Illinois region outside St. Louis, health officials announced Tuesday, as the COVID-19 test positivity rate there remains above state limits.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Metro East region will be subject to additional restrictions starting Wednesday as the 7-day COVID-19 test positivity rate there remains above the state’s 8 percent limit two weeks after new restrictions were put in place.

The state’s “Restore Illinois” plan mandates new restrictions be put in place if a region’s positivity rate exceeds 8 percent for three consecutive days.

Since the new restrictions were added in the Metro East region on August 18, the rate has yet to drop below the limit, and the rate was 9.6 percent as of August 29.

The Metro East region includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties. As of the week of August 16-22, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair all meet at least one of the state’s coronavirus “warning levels.”

Starting Wednesday, restrictions in the Metro East region include:

  • Meetings, social events or gatherings (including weddings, funeral and potlucks) limited to 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity
  • No visitation at long-term care facilities
  • No indoor service at bars or restaurants
  • Gaming and casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity
  • All outside service at bars and restaurants closes at 11 p.m., and may reopen no earlier than 6 am the following day
  • All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables outside, spaced 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors at bars and restaurants, including while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing at bars or restaurants, no party buses
  • Reservations required for each party at bars and restaurants, and no seating of multiple parties at one table

Similar to when restrictions were put in place in the region two weeks ago, health officials said the region could return to Phase 4 of reopening if the average positivity rate over the next 14 days drops below 6.5 percent.

llinois health officials said 39 coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed over the past day Tuesday, reporting the highest number of new deaths since late June.

The 39 deaths reported Tuesday is the second time in less than a week where the number of new COVID-19 related deaths reached levels not seen since June 25, when 41 deaths were confirmed. Health officials reported 37 additional deaths on August 26.