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State moves Lake and McHenry counties to Phase 4 mitigations effective today

Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike speaks at Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s daily press conference on May 2, 2020. | Photo: Colin Boyle/My Block, My Hood, My City.

State health officials have moved Region 9 — Lake and McHenry counties — into Phase 4 mitigation, allowing for bars to reopen and a loosening of other restrictions.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) made the announcement Wednesday morning and said that Region 8, which includes Kane and DuPage counties, has also been moved to Phase 4 from Tier 1 mitigations.

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 Phase 4, indoor service at bars that don’t serve food can reopen at 25% capacity. Indoor service at both bars and restaurants can now have tables of up to 10 people.

Standing areas in restaurants and bars is limited to 25% of the standing area capacity. Certain indoor recreation facilities like bowling alleys and skating rinks can reopen.

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Meetings and gatherings are limited to the lesser of 50 guests or 50% capacity indoors under Phase 4 guidelines. The move to Phase 4 also allows more sports play in schools.

Museums are limited to 25% capacity and guided tours are limited to 50 or fewer people per group. Retail and service counter along with personal care businesses are to continue operating at a limit of no more than 50% occupancy.

Region 9 has seen three consecutive days of being under the 6.5% positivity rate threshold. Cases throughout the state continue to decline.

“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 state said.

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The state is in vaccination phase, 1B, which includes residents 65 and older along with frontline essential workers. This phase has approximately 3.2 million Illinois residents.

Approximately 1.95 million vaccine doses have been delivered to Illinois by the federal government so far. Just over 1 million of the doses, including 163,000 in long-term care facilities, have been administered.

The state reported 2,304 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois on Tuesday and 47 additional deaths. The statewide test positivity rate is at 3.9%.