Chicago’s west, south suburbs could see new COVID-19 restrictions after positivity rates pass Illinois’ limits

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — More coronavirus mitigation measures could be coming to the West Suburban and South Suburban regions outside Chicago, as well as the Southern Region established in the “Restore Illinois” plan, as their positivity rates remain above state limits Monday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,113 new COVID-19 cases and 22 additional coronavirus-related deaths Monday, while nearly every region of the state is seeing a continued rise in COVID-19 test positivity rates.

The statewide positivity rate from October 12-18 came in at 5.4 percent, remaining near levels last seen in early June while the state’s weekly testing average has more than tripled since then, data compiled by WGN shows.

State health officials said Friday that 34 Illinois counties meet at least one of the state’s coronavirus “warning” levels, based on criteria including the total number of cases, test positivity rates and number of new cases compared to their population.

They credited a wide range of factors for a rise in cases which is especially prevalent among people in their 20s, including gatherings in people’s homes, events like weddings and funerals, customers returning to restaurants and bars, and parties connected with universities and sporting events.

According to State of Illinois guidelines, new COVID-19 restrictions including lower capacity limits in bars and restaurants will be put in place if the 7-day positivity rate in a particular region remains above 8 percent for three consecutive days.

While it was stable for weeks, the 7-day positivity rate in the West Suburban Region including DuPage and Kane counties began rising steadily from 4.9 percent on October 5 until it reached 8.4 percent on October 15, surpassing the 8 percent limit.

The rate remains above the limit for a second consecutive day as of October 16, which is the latest data made available Monday, coming in at 8.5 percent.

While the positivity rate was similarly stable in the South Suburban region, which includes Kankakee and Will counties, it rose steadily from 5.9 percent on October 9 to surpass the 8 percent limit on October 15. It also remains above the limit for a second consecutive day with an 8.3 percent rate reported Monday.

While the 7-day positivity rates in both regions rose over the past week, the West Suburban region saw an increase in its weekly testing average, while testing remained relatively flat in the South Suburban region.

Both the South Suburban and West Suburban regions have seen a slight increase in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 over the past week, from eight to 16 and 17 to 20 cases respectively, although hospital resources in both regions remain within the state guidelines.

Hospitalizations statewide remain within guidelines as well, with 2,096 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, including 485 in intensive care and 179 on ventilators.

The 7-day rolling positivity rate in the Southern Region remained above the 8 percent limit for a third consecutive day Monday, coming in at 9.1 percent as of October 16, meeting the state’s criteria for additional coronavirus mitigation measures to be put in place.

Additional restrictions also remain in effect across northwest Illinois, as the 7-day positivity rate in that region remains at 11.1 percent as of data reported Monday. Positivity rates in the region have continued to rise after reaching the state’s 8 percent limit on September 25.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also warned residents Monday that restrictions may return if coronavirus numbers in the city continue to rise. Over the past two weeks, cases have risen by more than 50 percent to over 500 per day, city health officials said. This is the most cases per day seen in Chicago since late May.

Governor JB Pritzker is expected to address rising coronavirus cases in the state at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

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