CHICAGO — The positivity rate of COVID-19 tests in Illinois – which reflects the percent of tests which came back positive over a seven-day period – rose slightly for the first time in weeks Wednesday, as reopening measures spark fears of a new outbreak of the disease.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the positivity rate of tests from June 17-23 rose to 3 percent, up from 2 percent over the previous seven days. The rate has been trending down since the state began sharing it on May 10, although it rose by one percent on June 2 before dropping back down the following day. The positivity rate has been at 2 percent since June 21.
Nevertheless, all regions of Illinois remain on track for Phase 4 of reopening on Friday, according to the latest state data. Most reported a slight decline in their positivity rates, but that is measured over the past 14 days.
Additionally, the IDPH reported 601 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 38 related deaths Wednesday, bringing statewide totals to 137,825 cases and 6,707 deaths. Of confirmed cases, the state estimates 94 percent have recovered.
The number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, with 1,614 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, including 389 in intensive care and 219 on ventilators.
Chicago is also set to move on to the next phase of reopening on Friday, although the city has slightly stricter limitations than those in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan, including lower capacity limits for businesses.
For instance, indoor dining can reopen with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced six feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25 percent of capacity. As they look forward to opening their doors to diners, restaurants are trying to figure out how to reduce health risks while recovering financially.
There will be no Fourth of July fireworks at Chicago’s Navy Pier, but both the city and the pier are planning special activities for the holiday. Additionally, the Shedd Aquarium will reopen at the beginning of July after being closed for 16 weeks due to the pandemic.
In national news, Americans are unlikely to be allowed into Europe when the continent reopens its borders next week, due to how the coronavirus pandemic is flaring in the U.S. and President Donald Trump’s ban on Europeans entering the United States.