Gov. Pritzker’s new COVID-19 plan breaks up Ill. regions from 4 to 11

Pritzker: Illinois won’t move to Phase 5 until vaccine is available.
 Health officials in Illinois have announced 1,622 new cases of COVID-19. They also announced 86 additional deaths. (KWQC)
Health officials in Illinois have announced 1,622 new cases of COVID-19. They also announced 86 additional deaths. (KWQC) (KWQC)
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 1:47 PM CDT
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CHICAGO (CBS) - Illinois health regions will be broken down into smaller regions along with revised guidance toward COVID-19, Gov. Pritzker said in an address from Chicago on Wednesday afternoon.

The regions will be split further from four to 11, based on emergency response capabilities. This comes with new metrics to determine if further restrictions will be needed along with expanded contact tracing and testing.

Gov. Pritzker said despite the low rolling average of COVID-19 cases in the state, he will not allow the state to move to Phase 5 for reopening until a vaccine is available.

Illinois went into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state back in June. He said because of the public’s adherence to the COVID-19 rules, the state’s numbers are relatively low compared to other states. Gov. Pritzker said Illinois has the lowest infection rate compared to its neighboring states.

More than two million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Illinois.

“Opening up our economy does not have to come with a spike in cases. Other countries have done it successfully while reducing cases and infection rates. But that requires vigilance on the part of all of us,” Gov. Pritzker said. “It’s imperative that individuals, families, workers and businesses follow the recommendations doctors have given about vital mitigations and that we act quickly if we see any outbreaks and upticks, signs that could lead to a surge of coronavirus infections.”

According to IDPH Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike, the state is following numbers, metrics and trends associated with infection rates of the coronavirus.

“We can then take targeted actions within specific regions to help mitigate the spread of this deadly disease while keeping as much of our state open as possible,” Ezike said.

Part of the new strategy includes examining the following metrics that can indicate the spread of COVID-19.

*Sustained increase in seven-day rolling average (seven out of 10 days) in the positivity rate and one of the following severity indicators:

  • Sustained seven-day increase in hospital admissions for a COVID-19 like illness
  • Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)
  • Or three consecutive days averaging ≥ 8% positivity rate

There’s also a reset of geographic regions throughout the state, expanding the number to 11. That will allow public health officials to work on response efforts. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Regions will “allow” for a more granular approach in this phase of the response to COVID-19. One includes having the city of Chicago as its own region and Cook County as another.

The new regions are:

  • NORTH: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago
  • NORTH-CENTRAL: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Woodford
  • WEST-CENTRAL: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott
  • METRO EAST: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
  • SOUTHERN: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, Williamson
  • EAST-CENTRAL: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermillion
  • SOUTH SUBURBAN: Kankakee, Will
  • WEST SUBURBAN: DuPage, Kane
  • NORTH SUBURBAN: Lake, McHenry
  • SUBURBAN COOK: Suburban Cook
  • CHICAGO: City of Chicago

Both Ezike and Gov. Pritzker noted it’s younger people who are making up the majority of new COVID-19 cases. They sent out a plea to young people to watch what they do.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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