Illinois to add restrictions for recreational, school sports as coronavirus cases rise

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CHICAGO —  Governor JB Pritzker said the State of Illinois will be introducing new restrictions for recreational sports leagues Wednesday, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise across the state.

“This is a situation where the toughest choice is also the safest choice,” Pritzker said.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 1,393 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed over the past day. The statewide positivity rate from July 22-28 remains at 3.8 percent, while 95 percent of confirmed cases are believed to have recovered.

Pritzker said new restrictions for youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois will be put in place starting August 14, covering school-based sports, recreational leagues, and park district programs based on different “risk levels” attributed to particular sports determined by the amount of contact between athletes. Professional and collegiate sports will not be included in the restrictions.

“Low-risk” sports like tennis, baseball and golf will have few restrictions while “high-risk” sports like football will only be allowed to hold no-contact practices and training.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said as of Wednesday, six regions established in the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan have seen increases in test positivity rates for seven of the past 10 days, and hospital admissions rose slightly.

The positivity rate of the Metro East region outside St. Louis was at 7.6 percent as of July 26, according to state figures, near the “failsafe” level of 8 percent where additional mitigation measures would be put in place.

“We are seeing what much of the country is seeing in terms of a resurgence in cases,” Ezike said. 

Insofar as what restrictions could mean for the school year, Pritzker said schools will still be able to make those decisions for themselves.

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