File Photo – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new COVID-19 mitigation plan on Wednesday designed to combat any resurgence of cases in Illinois.

The plan is based on months of additional data and research as public health experts learn more about the coronavirus and how it spreads.

“Illinois now has the lowest infection rates among all our neighboring states and one of the lowest positivity rates in the country, and it’s because of the individual actions of millions of our residents,” Pritzker said.

“Opening up our economy does not have to come with a spike in cases.”

The governor said mitigation efforts, which could include closing some businesses or adding restrictions, will be applied on a regional basis based on the Emergency Medical Services Regions.

The governor’s plan includes 11 regions. Pritzker’s reopening plan previously divided the state into four regions.

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The new regions are as follows:

  • NORTH: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago
  • NORTH-CENTRAL: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Woodford
  • WEST-CENTRAL: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott
  • METRO EAST: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
  • SOUTHERN: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, Williamson
  • EAST-CENTRAL: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermillion
  • SOUTH SUBURBAN: Kankakee, Will
  • WEST SUBURBAN: DuPage, Kane
  • NORTH SUBURBAN: Lake, McHenry
  • SUBURBAN COOK: Suburban Cook
  • CHICAGO: City of Chicago
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The following metrics will be used to determine when the spread of the virus in a region requires additional mitigations:

  • A sustained increase in 7-day rolling average (7 out of 10 days) in the positivity rate and one of the following severity indicators: a sustained 7-day increase in hospital admissions for a COVID-19 like illness or reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)
  • Or three consecutive days averaging an 8% or greater positivity rate
Graphic provided by Restore Illinois / Office of the Governor J.B. Pritzker.

The new guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health establishes three tiers of mitigations that can be implemented should a region meet the resurgence metrics.

Some mitigation strategies in higher-risk settings, such as indoor bars and restaurants, will be automatically applied in a region that meets resurgence criteria, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

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A longer list of mitigation strategies relating to settings such as retail, fitness, and salons and personal care will be available if testing and contact tracing data at the local level show they are needed, according to the release.

The governor also urged all Illinoisans to wear a face-covering in public.

“There are people who view this as political, that wearing a mask is keeping your neighbor safe is political,” Pritzker said.

“It is not political, this is just about caring about your community and about people you love.”