File Photo – Gov. J.B. Pritzker. | Provided Photo.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned this week that areas of the state could see the return of COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to increase.

“I believe strongly that we will impose mitigations as it’s appropriate, where it’s appropriate. We’ve been doing that all along,” Pritzker said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Chicago.

Pritzker said that hospitalizations from COVID-19 are the most important factor to him.

“How many people are going into the hospital and getting very sick and how many of those are going into ICU beds. So we are monitoring that across the state,” he said.

“It is always a difficult thing for me. I wake up every morning and look at those numbers and when they’re rising, that’s a bad day,” Pritzker added.

He told NBC Chicago that he wants to do everything he can to mitigate them, including making sure testing and vaccines are both widely available.

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“And if we need to take stricter mitigations, we will,” Pritzker said. He added that Illinois is seeing an unexpected surge due to the Delta variant.

Pritzker said that Illinois’ next-door neighbor, Missouri, is “the worst state in the country” in terms of new COVID-19 cases.

“That bleeds over into Illinois, and it has in southern Illinois and Metro East. You’ve seen an awful lot of people have gotten sick and gone into the hospital.”

In Lake and McHenry counties, which is Region 9, the positivity rate has been rising but the total number of patients with COVID-19 in the hospital remains in the low 20s, state data shows.

55% of Illinois residents ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated while 71% have had at least one dose of the vaccine. 75% of Illinois seniors ages 65 and older are fully vaccinated.