IDPH, Gov. Pritzker announce mitigations for suburban Cook County starting Wednesday

Rising hospitalizations cause state to step in to mitigate COVID-19 spread

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COOK COUNTY – Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday announced COVID-19 resurgence mitigations for Region 10, suburban Cook County, starting on Wednesday.

The mitigations include no indoor dining or bar service at restaurants and bars, an 11 p.m. curfew for all outdoor dining and outside bar service, a limit to fewer than 25 guests or 25% overall room capacity for meetings, social events and gatherings and that casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25% capacity and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if possible.

The mitigations do not currently apply to schools.

Suburban Cook County joins regions from around the state, including DuPage and Kane counties in the western suburbs, in receiving the enhanced mitigations, but is the first to do so without hitting the 8% test positivity rate fail-safe. The trigger for Region 10's mitigations is rising hospitalizations, with 49 admissions recorded on Oct. 22. and only 25% of hospital beds available in the region.

Region 10 has had eight consecutive days of increases in test positivity and seven days of increased hospitalizations – with five consecutive days of increased hospitalizations, according to IDPH. As of Sunday, Region 10 had a 7.5% rolling positivity rate for the last day entered.

"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," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement.

"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."

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in both regions to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place, the health department announced in the statement.

Region 10 joined Region 4, a region in southern Illinois made up of the eastern suburbs of St. Louis, in receiving the new mitigations Monday.

If the positivity rate in Region 10 averages less than or equal to 6.5% 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% over a seven-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.

On the other hand, 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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