Worries Grow That COVID Mitigations May Be Coming to the Region

By Benjamin Cox on October 22, 2020 at 10:16am

Two more EMS regions will enter Tier One COVID-19 mitigations on Friday. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced during his return to daily press briefings on Tuesday that Will, Kankakee, DuPage, and Kane counties in northeastern Illinois that cover EMS Regions 7 & 8 had rolling positivity rates of 8% or higher over the last 3 days. 4 of the 11 EMS regions have now triggered the Tier One mitigation efforts.

Pritzker says that the 7 other regions in the state without mitigations are trending in the wrong direction: “At this point, of the 7 regions that are still operating under Phase 4 of our Restore Illinois Plan that is without additional resurgence mitigations, 5 are now at a rolling positivity average above 7% with the other two above 6.5%. All continue to show increases over last week, and most regions continue to see increases in COVID-related hospital admissions. As colder weather approaches and flu season is upon us, we are going to see the rippling effects of these current unfortunate trends. The massive surge of cases in our neighboring states will continue to have a spill over effect.” As of yesterday, all regions of the state are now 7% positivity.

Region 3, which covers the entire WLDS-WEAI listening area, had a positivity rate of 7.5% as of Saturday. The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 3,714 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, including 41 additional deaths. With this past weekend’s cases and Tuesday’s cases, the state has now surpassed 350,000 overall positive cases and over 9,200 deaths. Yesterday, the state had one of it’s most deadly days since this summer with 69 newly confirmed deaths and 4,342 newly confirmed cases.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike repeated yesterday that people should continue to wear masks and socially distance despite being tired of the constant reminder. She also said that many of the deaths yesterday were from elderly patients with underlying conditions: “Yes, the majority of these individuals are over 70 years of age, but every week we are also reporting the deaths of individuals in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.”

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker says Illinois State Police have now been alerted to be on patrol in regions with heightened COVID-19 restrictions. The governor says ISP can issue citations, but will start by asking people to disperse and warn them. Pritzker says that the state will also threaten to remove a business’ liquor license if they don’t comply with the mitigation restrictions.

A Monroe County bar, Washy’s Saloon, that was cited by the Illinois State Police back on October 5th during enhanced mitigations had it’s citation thrown out in Monroe County Court on October 15th as nolle prosequi. In the ruling by Monroe County States Attorney Chris Hitzemann, it says that the regulation from the Illinois Department of Public Health to disallow indoor service to patrons does not exist. Washy’s Saloon ownership was represented by Attorney Thomas DeVore in court. DeVore said in a Facebook post yesterday that he is setting up a Zoom Conference meeting for any business owners in Region 3 who wish to attend to talk about the governor’s heightened mitigation rules.

Governor Pritzker quietly extended emergency executive orders on October 16th for the state. The executive orders provide an extension date to November 14th.