Governor says Illinois better than neighbors in positivity rates

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker is warning one region of the state of rising positivity rates, but says Illinois is now in the forefront when it comes to testing.

During his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, the governor said Region 1, the northwest corner of the state, has a positivity rate of 7.5 percent. If that raises above 8 percent for 3 straight days, additional restrictions will be put in place. The governor also said Illinois is best in the nation in coronavirus testing, surpassing 5 million tests since the pandemic began.

“Together with targeted mitigations, our testing leadership means that Illinois has had the lowest positivity rate among all of our neighboring states for the last few months,” Pritzker said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,848 news cases of COVID-19 and 22 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the statewide total to 8,508.

A state lawmaker is calling attention to the damage that has been caused by state-imposed restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said on Facebook there is a human toll, including an increase in suicides.

“We know there is a lot of stress on people, we know that this has been a tough time for people with addictions, and I have heard too many horror stories about people that are struggling with their business and also struggling with their family back home,” Batinick said.

Batinick said schools need to reopen and one way to start the process is to get lawmakers back to Springfield.

“Congress has been in Washington D.C. throughout this whole pandemic,” Batinick said. “We need to be having public hearings on everything, not just the epidemiologists, not just what is happening through the lens of COVID, but through the lens of everything.”

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