Illinois Continues to See A Rise in COVID-19 Cases, Positivity Rates

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COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Illinois, which is currently at Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan — the guide for the state’s reopening following the March lockdown.

Illinois reported an additional 1,392 cases of COVID-19, including seven deaths, which brings the state’s total cases to 252,353 Sept. 8, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Since the start of the outbreak, 8,186 people statewide have died from the virus. The preliminary state positivity rate — the percentage of tests that turn out to be positive — has been 4.2 percent between Aug. 31 and Sept. 6. If the positivity rate exceeds the 8 percent threshold for three consecutive days in a particular region in Illinois, increased restrictions, such as limited indoor service and number of people per gathering, will be applied, according to the IDPH

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker divided Illinois into 11 regions mid-July to tackle COVID-19 guidelines at a local level. The positivity rate has been increasing in region 11 of Illinois — Chicago — for the past two days. Region 10 — Suburban Cook County — has seen an increase in the positivity rate for the past three days. Regions 10 and 11 have a current positivity rate of 6.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, according to IPDH data.

All regions have high average increases in positivity rates, but only regions four and seven—South Suburban and Metro East—meet the requirement of being above the 8 percent positivity rate threshold for further mitigation measures.

Pritzker said in a press conference Sept. 2, “we must slow the rate of infection all across our state.”

Although some Illinois regions have seen a decrease in positivity rates in recent days, all remain above 5 percent, with the exception of region 6 which covers east central Illinois. All regions are averaging an increase in cases.  

Illinois will remain in Phase 4 indefinitely with added restrictions for regions that meet the requirements. The next phase will only happen with the presence of a vaccine.

An emergency travel order requiring a 14-day self-quarantine for people traveling to Chicago from certain “hot spots” is still in place as of Sept. 8. Masks for those over the age of two are still required in public places.

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