Illinois governor puts another region under coronavirus mitigation standards

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that added restrictions are coming to another region of the state as the spread of COVID-19 continues to trigger Tier 1 mitigations.

Citing rising coronavirus testing positivity rates, Region 9, which is McHenry and Lake counties, will be placed under Tier 1 standards starting Saturday. The restrictions come after the region’s positivity rate surpassed the 8 percent threshold for the third straight day.

“Covid-related hospital admissions today are five times as high as they were in June, and three times as high as in mid-September,” Pritzker said. “In other words, things are bad in Region 9.”

Bars and restaurants in McHenry and Lake counties will be forced to cease indoor dining starting Saturday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced.

Not everyone was pleased with the decision.

“I know that people are fed up with wearing masks and socially distancing – I am, for sure,” McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said in a statement. “But we cannot lower our positivity rate and lift these new restrictions by wishing them gone – we need to work together. We need to follow the CDC guidelines of masking, washing hands and maintaining 6-foot distance. Working together, we’ll get through this quicker. We owe it to our small businesses and our neighbors to do everything we can.”

Franks told the Northwest Herald that he had asked state officials for more flexibility.

“I asked them not to have it one size fits all,” McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said. “We are trying to get more flexible. I want to keep our businesses open.”

“This is not just a warning, but a call to action. We continue to move backward, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer. We turned the state around once, let’s do it again,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a news release.

With the addition of Region 9, that leaves only three regions in the state that are not under mitigation standards: Regions 2, 3 and 6, which are all located in central Illinois.

On Wednesday, IDPH reported 6,110 new COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths. The number of new cases is the second-highest total in a single day since the pandemic began. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois now stands at 389,095, with 9,619 deaths.

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