All 11 Regions will Operate Under Resurgence Mitigation Framework; Every Region Continuing to See Sustained Increases in Positivity Rates
Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 2—North-Central Illinois—beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 4, 2020. The region has seen a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. Region 2 includes Rock Island, Henry, Bureau, Putnam, Kendall, Grundy, Mercer, Knox, Henderson, Warren, McDonough, Fulton, Stark, Marshall, Peoria, Tazwell, McLean, Woodford, Livingston, and Lasalle counties.
The administration continues to work aggressively to support small businesses impacted by the ongoing pandemic, distributing more than $55.7 million in emergency grants and assistance to Region 2 alone. Moving forward, businesses in Region 2, as well as other regions currently under additional mitigations, are receiving priority consideration for the current round of the historic Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program. To date, through BIG, a total of $95 million has been directed statewide to regions currently under mitigations or where mitigations will soon take effect. These programs are guided by an equity framework and seek to address the hardest hit communities with emergency relief dollars.
“Region 2 has now sustained an average positivity rate of 8 percent or higher for three consecutive days, meaning that now every region in Illinois will soon be operating under resurgence mitigations,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I know that the vast majority of people in this state want to keep themselves safe, their families and children safe, their parents and neighbors and friends. I have always maintained enormous faith in the people of Illinois to do what’s right for each other. As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people we love.”
“The mitigation measures soon to be implemented across the entire state of Illinois have been established to protect your health and the health of those around you,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “These mitigation measures are not meant as a punishment, but as a way to help all of us co-exist with COVID-19 more safely.”
Mitigation measures taking effect November 4 in Region 2 include:
Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings
These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places.
From the onset of the pandemic, support for small businesses has been one of the central features of the Pritzker administration’s COVID-19 response. Since March, the administration has launched a menu of small business and community relief programs – with over $500 million in grants and programs launched by the Illinois Department for Economic Opportunity (DCEO), including emergency hospitality grants, a downstate small business stabilization program, Fast Track Capital, and more. For more information on programs available for businesses and communities, please visit DCEO’s website.
DCEO is also actively processing reimbursements for local governments impacted by COVID-19 via the state’s Local CURES program. Thus far, nearly $12.5 million has been awarded to governments in Region 2 to help cover the costs of the emergency response, with eligible costs including PPE and other public health expenses. All eligible governments in Region 2 can submit their certification to the department and begin submitting reimbursement requests. For more information on programs available for businesses and communities, please visit DCEO’s website.
The positivity rate in Region 2 has fluctuated in recent months, with the region currently seeing an 9.3% positivity rate as of today. While the rate was 7.7% in early September, it dropped to 5% by early October and increased again to 7.2% in late October. Region 2 has also experienced a slight uptick in hospitalizations in October after leveling off the two months prior.
In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 2 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for three consecutive days, then the regions will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. If the positivity rate averages between 6.5% and 8%, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8% after 14 days, more stringent mitigations may be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.
With the final addition of Region 2, now all 11 regions have triggered one of the state’s failsafe state-action metric. By tomorrow, Regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 will all operate under Tier 1 mitigation measures, given that these regions continue to report a 7-day rolling positivity rate above 8%. Regions 10 and 11 are operating under Tier 1 mitigations after triggering additional mitigations based on sustained increases in both positivity and hospitalization rates. Region 1 continues to operate under Tier 2 mitigation measures after seeing a rise in positivity even under the Tier 1 mitigation framework, with the highest rolling positivity average in the state.
As part of the administration’s robust response to the pandemic, the state continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation, given that testing remains a critical step to reduce further spread of the virus. Residents across Region 2 have been taking advantage of the readily available testing, with an increase of 35% over the past three weeks. For a more targeted approach, the state continues to provide mobile testing allowing testing to be directed toward communities most impacted by COVID-19. In Region 2, this coming week mobile testing will be deployed in Canton on Monday, Lewistown on Tuesday, Princeton on Wednesday, Macomb on Thursday, Aledo on Friday and at the Streator City Park on Saturday and Sunday. To find the nearest testing center, please visit DPH.Illinois.Gov/Testing.
IDPH will continue to work closely with local health departments in Region 2 to provide education to the public and offer information to businesses and organizations on keeping residents safe. The significance of face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing have been consistently emphasized by the administration throughout the pandemic.
A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the DCEO website at www.dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois.