IDPH: No indoor dining in suburban Cook County beginning Wednesday due to rise in COVID-19

Mitigation measures take effect Wednesday, Oct. 28 in Regions 4 and 10.
Coronavirus Illinois

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- As coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout Illinois, more mitigations are being put in place in various regions to ease the spread.

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Monday that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Regions 4 and 10, which encompass Metro East and suburban Cook County beginning Wednesday.

According to IDPH, Region 4 has had a seven-day rolling average test positivity rate of eight percent or above for three consecutive days. Region 10 has had eight consecutive days of increases in test positivity and seven days of increased hospital admissions, making it the first region in the state to meet the metrics for additional mitigations in this way and surpass warning levels in two categories simultaneously.

“Over the weekend, two more regions – Region 4, Metro East, as well as Region 10, Suburban Cook County – triggered our metrics for additional mitigations, meaning that, starting Wednesday, six of our 11 regions will be operating under our resurgence framework,” said Governor JB Pritzker, in a statement. “Much like the four areas already operating under Tier One or Tier Two of the plan – Northwestern Illinois, Southern Illinois, and Will, Kankakee, DuPage and Kane Counties – Region 4 triggered our 8 percent positivity average threshold, the second time it has done so since mid-summer. Region 10, on the other hand, is the first region in Illinois to earn additional mitigations not because of its positivity rate alone, but because its positivity rate and its COVID-related hospitalizations have both seen a sustained increase over the last 10 days.”

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said while the state is seeing test positivity across Illinois increase, Region 10, Suburban Cook County, is also seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations for COVID-like illness.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were concerned about overwhelming our hospitals and we must take action now to prevent that possibility. We are entering flu season and our hospitals are facing both COVID-19 and flu admissions. The same things that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will help prevent the spread of flu. Please, wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear your mask. And make sure to get your flu shot," she said.

Mitigation measures taking effect Wednesday, Oct. 28 in Regions 4 and 10 include:

Bars 

• No indoor service will be permitted.
• All outside bar service must end at 11 p.m.
• All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside.
• There should be no ordering, seating, or congregating at bar, and bar stools should be removed.
• Tables should be six feet apart.
• There should be no standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting.
• There will also be no dancing or standing indoors.
• Reservations are required for each party.
• There will be no seating of multiple parties at one table.

Restaurants 

• No indoor dining or bar service will be permitted.
• All outdoor dining must end at 11 p.m.
• Outside dining tables should be six feet apart.
• There should be no standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting.
• Reservations are required for each party.
• There should be seating of multiple parties at one table.

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

• Meetings, social events, and gathers must be limit to 25 guests or less, or 25 percent of overall room capacity.
• There will be no party buses.
• Gaming and casinos must close at 11 p.m., and are limited to 25 percent capacity, and must follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable.

These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.

In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in both regions to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate in Region 4 averages less than or equal to 6.5 percent for three consecutive days, then the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. If the positivity rate averages between 6.5 percent and 8 percent, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8 percent after 14 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.

If the positivity rate in Region 10 averages less than or equal to 6.5 percent over a three-day period, there is a decrease in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness over a three-day period, and the three-day rolling averages of ICU bed availability and medical/surgical bed availability is greater than or equal to 20 percent over a seven-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. Conversely, if the average positivity rate continues to increase over seven out of 10 days and the hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness continues to increase over seven out of 10 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied. If the metrics remain stable, the region will continue to be monitored.

Currently four of the state’s 11 regions have positivity rates above the public health department’s 8 percent threshold for resurgence mitigations. Regions 5, 7, and 8 are currently operating under additional mitigations as the regions continue to report a seven-day rolling positivity rate above 8 percent. Region 1 is currently operating under Tier 2 mitigation measures after experiencing reporting a positivity rate greater than 8 percent for 14 days despite Tier 1 mitigation measures being in place.

A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website.