State health officials announce Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation to take effect statewide on Friday

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State health officials announce Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation to take effect statewide on Friday

November 17, 2020 - 21:54
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The fall surge of COVID-19 cases shows no sign of slowing down, so Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Tuesday, Nov. 17, that additional COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will take effect statewide Friday at 12:01 a.m.

Tier 3 mitigations build on the Resurgence Mitigation Plan released in July to suppress the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overrun. 

This latest round of mitigations aims to limit gatherings and encourages residents to stay home as much as possible, and follow proper safety measures when out in public. The mitigations carefully balance the paramount goal of saving lives while preserving the option for in-person learning for children and protecting as much of the economy as possible from the continued impacts of the virus, officials said.

“To stop this spread and preserve some semblance of the holidays, all of us need to do more than just wear our masks now. The simple fact is that COVID-19 is spreading so quickly and so widely, and our hospitals are beginning to experience real strain and at the current infection rate they will be overwhelmed. So whenever possible, we need you to stay home,” Pritzker said. “I’m hopeful that by limiting our in-person interactions, we will succeed at avoiding a stay-at-home order like what we had in the spring – when the choice between saving lives and saving livelihoods was even more stark. Tier 3 may allow us to do both.”

Wearing face coverings in public remains mandatory throughout the state.

“There also is no denying that reducing the opportunities for the virus to spread can reverse our direction," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "Until a vaccine is widely available and people understand the importance of being vaccinated, we must continue to take preventive actions to stop the transmission of the virus.”

While this latest round of mitigations does not include a stay-at-home order, if the mitigations are not adhered to and cases continue to rise in the weeks ahead, another order may be required, officials warned. 

For all regions, additional mitigation measures taking effect Friday, Nov. 20, include guidance for the following settings and industries:

  • Retail.
  • Personal car services.
  • Health and fitness centers.
  • Hotels.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Bars and restaurants.
  • Meetings and social events.
  • Offices.
  • Organized group recreational activities.
  • Indoor recreation, theater and cultural institutions.

As they have since the start of COVID-19, grocery stores across the state will remain open and available. Child care facilities may continue to operate subject to guidelines from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. School districts and officials should continue to follow the extensive guidance released by the Illinois State Board of Education in August to make decisions related to in-person and remote learning at the local level. 

View the complete list of Tier 3 resurgence mitigations on the state’s COVID-19 website here.
 

To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, Illinois residents are urged to stay home as much as possible and celebrate upcoming holidays with members of their household. 

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been in contact with someone exhibiting symptoms should seek out testing and quarantine at home; anyone who has tested positive for the virus should isolate at home as directed by their physician or local health department.

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring period to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required or if current mitigation should remain in place. 

In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than seven-day 12% test positivity average for three consecutive days and greater than 20% available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability for three consecutive days and declining seven-day COVID hospitalizations average in seven out of the last 10 days.

Follow the latest regional metrics at: https://dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics
 

In response to the rising test positivity rate statewide, the administration continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation. 

Last week, the state reported a record high of 114,370 tests within a 24-hour period. Now the state is averaging more than 97,800 tests per day. 

Although the administration continues to build upon this progress, the state’s rate of growth in positivity is outpacing the growth in testing. It is critical to get tested before developing symptoms, as testing remains free to all Illinois residents and readily available throughout the state. To find a testing center near you, please visit DPH.Illinois.Gov/Testing.
 

Retailers respond 

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) issued a statement noting the implementation of Tier 3 mitigation strikes a necessary balance between allowing businesses to operate and maintaining public safety.

“While additional capacity restrictions will impose significant hardship on retailers already devastated by the pandemic – especially during what is usually the busiest shopping time of the year – we are glad customers will continue to have numerous safe shopping options,” said IRMA President and CEO Rob Karr. “It is our hope the same science that provides for safe shopping can soon be applied to restaurants and bars so they can again allow inside dining, albeit at a reduced capacity."

Manufacturers respond
"Manufacturers are developing life-saving vaccines and treatments, producing needed personal protective equipment, keeping store shelves stocked with important goods and nutritious foods, and powering our homes and businesses,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We remain committed to working with state officials and health experts to ensure the protection of all workers, customers and our communities. Indeed, manufacturers have proven they are not only vital to our response to this pandemic but will also be critical to our recovery as they look to hire more workers and pour billions of dollars into our economy.”