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Pritzker extends COVID restrictions to suburban Cook County

 By Bob Bong
Citing a rising COVID-19 positivity rate in suburban Cook County, Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week reimposed mitigation restrictions on bars and restaurants as of Wednesday morning.
“Over the weekend, two more regions – Region 4, Metro East, as well as Region 10, Suburban Cook County — triggered our metrics for additional mitigations, meaning that, starting Wednesday, 6 of our 11 regions will be operating under our resurgence framework,”   said Pritzker .   
“ (Suburban Cook County) is the first region in Illinois to earn additional mitigations not because of its positivity rate alone, but because its positivity rate and its COVID-related hospitalizations have both seen a sustained increase over the last 10 days,” Pritzker said Monday.
Suburban Cook County has had eight consecutive days of increases in test positivity and seven days of increased hospital admissions. The sustained increases exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.
“We are seeing test positivity across the state increase, but for Region 10, Suburban Cook County, we are also seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations for COVID-like illness,”   said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “At the beginning of the pandemic, we were concerned about overwhelming our hospitals and we must take action now to prevent that possibility.  We are entering flu season and our hospitals are facing both COVID-19 and flu admissions. The same things that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will help prevent the spread of flu.  Please, wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear your mask.  And make sure to get your flu shot.”
Mitigation measures include:
Bars
•  No indoor service
• All outside bar service closes at 11 p.m.
• All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
• No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
• Tables should be 6 feet apart
• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
• No dancing or standing indoors
• Reservations required for each party
• No seating of multiple parties at one table
Restaurants
•  No indoor dining or bar service
• All outdoor dining closes at 11 p.m.
• Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
• No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
• Reservations required for each party
• No seating of multiple parties at one table
Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings
•  Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
• No party buses
• Gaming and casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable
These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.
In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in suburban Cook County 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 percent over a three-day period, there is a decrease in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness over a three-day period, and the three-day rolling averages of ICU bed availability and medical/surgical bed availability is greater than or equal to 20 percent over a seven-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.
Conversely, if the average positivity rate continues to increase over seven out of 10 days and the hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness continues to increase over seven out of 10 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied. If the metrics remain stable, the region will continue to be monitored.

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