CHICAGO — As regions across Illinois continue to see a lessening of COVID-19 restrictions, indoor dining is set to officially return in DuPage, Kane, Lake, and McHenry counties tomorrow, health officials said Monday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,944 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 as well as 49 additional deaths Monday. The state has continued to see a drop in both cases and deaths reported on average for just over two weeks.
While state averages are now below the level they were at prior to a post-holiday rise, Illinois is still seeing double the number of reported cases (about 4,600) and triple the number of deaths (about 77) compared to the lowest levels seen in the summer.
The state’s 7-day case positivity rate continues to decline as well, with a rate of 4.7% reported Monday as Illinois continues to average about 92,000 tests a day over the course of a week.
Additionally, the IDPH announced Monday both the West Suburban (Region 8) and North Suburban (Region 9) will move to the state’s “Tier 1” of coronavirus mitigation measures on Tuesday if current trends continue.
Region 8 is set to see sufficient days with either a decreasing or flat number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, while Region 9 will likely see a third day with an average test positivity rate below the 8% limit needed for moving to “Tier 1.”
Under this lowest tier of added restrictions, the west and north suburbs will join the rest of the Chicago area in seeing an official return of indoor dining at restaurants and bars that serve food with capacity limited to 25% or 25 people, whichever is less.
The City of Chicago and surrounding regions have seen a steady decline in their test positivity rates for weeks, with most approaching or at 7% as of Monday.
In order to exit the tiered resurgence mitigations and return to “Phase 4” of the state’s reopening plan, regions need to see three days in a row with a rate under 6.5%.
As of Monday the North and North-Central Regions have been allowed to return to Phase 4. Under the state’s plan, indoor service can resume at bars that do not serve food, indoor recreation facilities like bowling alleys and skating rinks can reopen, and capacity limits are expanded to 50% for most businesses.
These Phase 4 restrictions will remain in place until vaccinations are widespread enough that the state can fully reopen, but so far only 1.08% of Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated.
Only the Metro East Region outside St. Louis will remain under “Tier 2” coronavirus mitigation measures on Tuesday, as the region needs to see more days with a decline in test positivity rates and ICU bed availability above 20%.
Illinois is also moving into Phase 1B of their vaccine administration plan on Monday, although many of the more than 3 million who are eligible will be unable to receive a shot right away.
Among those qualified to be vaccinated in Phase 1B include people over the age of 65 and essential workers at places like grocery stores and manufacturing plants, as well as those who work in schools.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union voted to ignore CPS’s call for thousands to return to teaching in schools and to continue working remotely instead over the weekend. Many say they will only be comfortable returning to work after they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Illinois is currently averaging about 28,000 vaccine doses administered a day when measured over a 7-day period, up from about 22,000 on January 20.
Hospitalizations statewide continue to decline, with IDP reporting 2,962 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday night including 601 in intensive care and 302 on ventilators.