The state has moved Region 9 — which includes Lake and McHenry counties — to Tier 1 mitigation, allowing limited indoor dining to reopen Tuesday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) made the announcement Tuesday morning and said that Region 8, which includes Kane and DuPage counties, was also moved to Tier 1 mitigation on Tuesday.
All 11 health regions in the state have been moved out of the most restrictive Tier 3 mitigation they were placed into in November by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker as a precaution for the holidays.
Under Tier 1, bars and restaurants can have indoor service limited to the lesser of 25% capacity or 25 persons per room. Tables exceeding four people are not allowed indoors and indoor service is not allowed if the facility does not serve food.
Meetings and gatherings, excluding in-person school or sports, are limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25% capacity indoors and outdoors under Tier 1 guidelines. The move to Tier 1 also allows more sports play in schools.
“IDPH will continue to closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, based on the established mitigation metrics, regions could once again find themselves in a higher tier with increased measures,” the health department said in a statement.
Region 9 currently meets two out of the three requirements to move back into Phase 4, which has fewer restrictions than Tier 1.
Currently, the region has a 7.3% positivity rate that is trending is down. Three consecutive days of 6.5% positivity rate is the threshold to enter Phase 4.
IDPH recently launched multiple health care staffing contracts to increase hospital staffing throughout Illinois.
“With this surge staffing program, IDPH and hospital leaders feel confident that metrics can safely move away from utilizing medical/surgical bed limits to move across mitigation tiers, allowing more regions to advance,” the department said.
The program leverages the state’s larger contracting power to engage multiple staffing vendors and create access to a talent pool at a greater scale than any individual hospital could achieve, the department said in the statement.
This resolves issues where hospitals have rooms available but lack the personnel to staff them.
“Hospital leaders have made clear the importance of staffing in their continued response to this pandemic and conveyed that staffing contracts will be extraordinarily valuable in their ability to meet the needs of their communities,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday afternoon that the state had launched a COVID-19 vaccination website at coronavirus.illinois.gov.
The site will host vaccination locations, appointment information, frequent questions and answers, and other updates.
The state is moving into its next vaccination phase, 1B, which includes residents 65 and older along with frontline essential workers. This phase has approximately 3.2 million Illinois residents.