New COVID-19 restrictions coming to northwest Illinois after positivity rate passes state limits


CHICAGO — Additional coronavirus mitigation measures will be put in place in northwest Illinois including Rockford after the COVID-19 positivity rates there passed state limits, health officials announced Tuesday.

The “North Region” established in the Restore Illinois plan reached its 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate limit of 8 percent on Monday and remained above that mark Tuesday, reporting a positivity rate of 8.3 percent as of September 26.

With the rate set to surpass the state limit for a third consecutive day, health officials announced additional restrictions will be put in place starting October 3 in Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

“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,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement.

According to the State of Illinois, additional restrictions coming to the region starting Saturday include:

  • Meetings, social events and gatherings limited to 25 people or 25 percent of capacity
  • No indoor service at bars or restaurants
  • Reservations required for each party, with only one party at each table
  • All bar and restaurant patrons seated outside, with outdoor service closing at 11 p.m.
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while ordering, waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11 p.m.

* These mitigation measures do not currently apply to schools, sports or other outdoor recreation activities which have different guidelines released by the state

Every county in the North Region saw their 7-day average positivity rates rise from September 16-26, state data shows, with rates at or above the 8 percent limit in reported in Boone (10.2 percent), Jo Daviess (8 percent), Lee (9.4 percent) and Winnebago (9.3 percent) counties on Saturday.

Winnebago County where Rockford is located reported the highest number of daily tests among those counties by far, reporting an average of more than 1,100 tests from September 20-26 compared to less than 150 for the other counties.

Data measured from September 13-19 found both Boone and Winnebago counties reached at least one of the state’s COVID-19 “warning” levels based on their positivity rates and number of cases per 100,000 residents.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 1,362 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional related deaths were reported over the past day.

The statewide 7-day positivity rate from September 22-28 came in at 3.8 percent, while positivity rates in most regions across the state remain stable or are declining. Hospital resources also remain within state guidelines, with 1,535 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday night, including 363 in intensive care and 151 on ventilators.

Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday he will self-isolate for 14 days after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19 after showing symptoms.

A group of 20 student athletes and their families are also filing a lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association Tuesday, claiming the association exceeded its authority by moving fall contact sports to the spring, causing students to miss scholarship opportunities and suffer mental harm.

According to preliminary state data, Chicago reported 196 new cases of COVID-19 and three coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, with a 7-day positivity rate of 4.4 percent as of September 26.

Chicago added Kentucky, Wyoming, Texas and Nevada to its list of 23 total states covered by an emergency travel order requiring anyone arriving from there to self-quarantine for two weeks. The city is also preparing to relax restrictions on indoor activities Thursday, including raising capacity limits in bars, restaurants, gyms and “non-essential” retailers to 40 percent.

An Orangetheory Fitness studio was reportedly found to be the source of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Elmhurst after 18 members tested positive, according to Over the past week, Elmhurst has seen the biggest increase in cases since the beginning of the virus pandemic.

The world passed the previously unimaginable mark of 1 million coronavirus deaths on Monday, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University, including more than 200,000 deaths reported in the U.S.

President Donald Trump announced the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states Monday, urging governors to use them to reopen schools. The Associated Press reports 6.5 million tests ordered from Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories will go out this week, and a total of 100 million tests will be distributed over the next several weeks.


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