These Illinois regions could see Covid restrictions relaxed Friday as state reports 6,642 cases, 117 deaths

CHICAGO — Illinois continues to see a leveling off in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported on average, while some parts of the state could see a relaxing of coronavirus mitigation measures which have been in place since November starting Friday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,642 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases Monday, as well as 117 additional deaths.

Viewed over a 7-day average, the number of new Covid cases reported in the state has remained near 7,000 for the past four days after rising since late December. The state continues to see a high number of deaths on average, reporting about 112 deaths a day as of Tuesday.

Testing continues to rise towards a level seen before the Thanksgiving holiday, as the 93,491 new tests reported by IDPH Tuesday brings the weekly average up to around 92,000 a day. Illinois’ 7-day case positivity rate ticked down to 7.5% as well.

As many Illinois regions see declining numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, some will be allowed to move down from Tier 3 coronavirus mitigation measures to less-restrictive tiers starting Friday, Governor JB Prizker reiterated Monday.

Generally speaking, regions need their 7-day test positivity rates to drop below a certain limit for each tier, in addition to seeing a declining number of Covid hospitalizations and more than 20% availability of intensive care unit and medical/surgical hospital beds.

Officials haven’t released specifics on whether the lower tiers will differ from when they were originally outlined in July, but here’s how regions can qualify to move down and what that likely means:

How to Move to Tier 2: Average test positivity rate of less than 12% for three consecutive days, three-day average of staffed ICU and hospital bed availability above 20% for three consecutive days and declining 7-day average of hospitalizations for seven of the last 10 days

What changes under Tier 2: Gatherings expanded beyond household to 10 people or less; indoor sports and recreation activities resume with limits; casinos, entertainment venues and cultural institutions including museums can reopen with capacity limits

Regions which qualify as of Tuesday: North-Central and South Suburban region including Kankakee and Will counties; the West Suburban region including DuPage and Kane counties as well as greater Cook County are close, needing just one more day of hospital bed availability above 20%

How to Move to Tier 1: 7-day average test positivity rate below 8% for three consecutive days as well as same standard of 20% ICU and hospital bed availability and declining hospitalizations

What changes under Tier 1: Indoor dining at restaurants resumes at reduced capacity, but is still not allowed at bars; more in-person capacity allowed at stores; indoor classes allowed at gyms

Regions which qualify as of Tuesday: The West-Central Region is close, with a positivity rate below 8% and dropping

How to move back to Phase 4: 7-day average test positivity rate below 6.5% for three consecutive days, as well as same standard of 20% ICU and hospital bed availability and declining hospitalizations

What changes under a return to Phase 4: Bars allowed to reopen for indoor service with capacity limits; Group size limits raised to 50 people or less, with capacity limits increased to 50% for most places; Up to 10 people allowed in a party at bars and restaurants; fans allowed at outdoor sporting events but capacity limited to 20%

Regions which qualify as of Tuesday: None

As vaccinations continue across the country, the Trump administration is asking states to speed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to people 65 and older and to others at high risk by no longer holding back the second dose of the two-dose shots, officials said Tuesday.

Governor JB Pritzker said as of Monday, Illinois has received 587,900 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and 334,939 have been administered.

Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider is among lawmakers who have tested positive for COVID-19 after being forced to go into lockdown during last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol. At least two other members of Congress have tested positive so far.