Metro East nearing threshold for new COVID-19 restrictions

Governor JB Pritzker takes questions at a March 15, 2020 news conference
Photo credit Facebook
By NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) -- The Metro East is on the verge of increased restrictions due to rising coronavirus cases.

The governor's mitigation plan, outlined earlier this month, would roll back reopenings if an average of 8% of COVID tests come back positive in a region for three days in a row, or hospital capacity hits a certain point.

The state was divided this summer into 11 healthcare regions, Region 4 includes the Metro East: Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Bond, Clinton and Washington Counties. Gov. Pritzker has expressed concern about the Metro East with increasing frequency over the past few weeks, noting the region borders Missouri and encouraging Illinoisans to avoid St. Louis.

Pritzker says Region 4's positivity rate as of Tuesday was 7.8%.

"I want to remind everyone that it doesn't take long at all for a trajectory of success to turn into rising hospitalizations and deaths," Pritzker said. "And if things don't change, a reversal is where we're headed."

Randolph County just last week was declared a coronavirus hotspot, with the state citing large gatherings with hundreds of people plus bars and restaurants disobeying masking and social distancing mandates.

The state overall reported nearly 1,400 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the 15th day in a row the state confirmed more than 900 positive cases.

"Not only have we started to see an increase in cases over the past couple of weeks, but we're also seeing a slight increase in hospital admissions as well," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "These are clearly indicators that we are headed in the wrong direction."

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