Lake County and McHenry County in Region 9 Latest Area to Require Mitigations for Regressive COVID-19 Conditions

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in the North Suburban Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry Counties, beginning 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

”With Region 9 being added to the list of regions in mitigation, we are getting close to the entire state implementing mitigation measures. This is not just a warning, but a call to action. We continue to move backwards, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer. We turned the state around once, let’s do it again. Limit your potential exposures by wearing a mask, physically distancing, and limiting in-person gatherings. It will take all of us working together to beat this virus.”

— IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike

In Chicagoland, Region 10 (suburban Cook County) mitigations began Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.; and Region 11 (City of Chicago) begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, October 30, 2020. Region 7 (Will and Kankakee Counties) and Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties) began on 12:01 a.m. Friday, October 23, 2020.

As of Wednesday, October 28, 2020, including most recently Region 9 (Lake County and McHenry County), a total of eight of the state’s 11 regions have triggered one of the state’s failsafe state-action metric. Currently, Regions 4, 5, 7, and 8 are operating under Tier 1 mitigation measures given that these regions continue to report a 7-day rolling positivity rate above 8 percent. Regions 10 (Suburban Cook County) and 11 (Chicago) will soon operate under Tier 1 mitigations given that these regions triggered additional mitigations based on sustained increases in both positivity and hospitalization rates. Region 1 (Counties of Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago) is currently operating under Tier 2 mitigation measures after continuing to see a rise in positivity, even under the Tier 1 mitigation framework, with the highest rolling positivity average in the state.




As of October 25, 2020 the Region 9 (Lake County and McHenry County) COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 8.4%. Region 9 has seen a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

Mitigation measures are strategies, such as restrictions on certain activities, put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. Region 9 restrictions will remain in effect until the region’s positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% over a 3-day period.

Mitigation measures (Tier 1) taking effect October 31, 2020 in Region 9 include:

Bars

No indoor service
All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
Tables should be 6 feet apart
No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
No dancing or standing indoors
Reservations required for each party
No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants

No indoor dining or bar service
All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
Reservations required for each party
No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings

Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
No party buses
Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places. Tier 1 mitigations also do not currently apply to schools, fitness centers, or organized recreation or sports. Residents are encouraged to limit their exposure by voting early, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and watching their distance from others while voting.




“The rate of new infections is surging in our region—a steeper curve than we saw in the spring,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department. “We successfully flattened the curve then, and we can do it again. Our success depends on all businesses and residents doing their part, participating with contact tracing if you are called, and being extremely cautious to eliminate chances for this virus to spread. Please do not let your guard down in social settings, even around close friends and family who don’t live in your home.”

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 9 in the coming days to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place.




“We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and keep the region informed about community transmission,” said Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health. “If we work together, we could avoid further mitigations and potentially see a return to Phase 4 restrictions in the next two weeks. But that’s a goal that can only be achieved by following those preventative measures we’ve stressed for the past several months and working with your local health department to complete their case investigations.”

Lake County health official emphasized the following reminder …

Everyone should continue to follow the 3 Ws to slow the spread of COVID-19:

Wear a mask
Wash your hands
Watch your distance

Tier 2 restrictions have only been applied to Region 1 …

Tier 2 Tighter Restrictions Compared to Tier 1 (Region 9’s Tier 1 Mitigations listed above this Tier 2 Brief )

Bars and Restaurants:
No tables exceeding 6 people

Meetings, social events and gatherings (including weddings, funerals, potlucks, etc.)
Limit to 10 guests in both indoor and outdoor settings

Organized group recreational activities (including sports, but excluding fitness centers)
Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors & outdoors
Groups limited to 10 or fewer people

Note that the category names for Illinois Restore phases are a little confusing when the COVID-19 infection rate spikes and conditions become regressive in a direction that is less safe. According to “Restore Illinois” (the public health response to resolve the coronavirus pandemic), Phase 1 “Rapid Spread” is the worst phase and Phase 5 “Illinois Restored” is the best phase. Phase 4 is considered “Revitalized”, but with mitigations implemented, it is a regressive move in the direction of Phase 3 (“Recovery”). The mitigations are implemented to attempt to prevent the ultimate Phase 1 state of “Rapid Spread” of Coronavirus (COVID-19) illness.

The phase category names make sense when infection rates are decreasing, and conditions are moving to a safer situation (Flattening >> Recovery >> Revitalization). Only “Rapid Spread” (Phase 1) and “Illinois Restored” (Phase 5) make sense in a progressive or regressive direction of the COVID-19 outbreak. The other phase names “Flattening” (Phase 2) and “Recovery” (Phase 3) and “Revitalization” (Phase 4) are nonsense names when the COVID-19 outbreak is in a resurgence or regressive direction (Revitalization >> Restoration >> Flattening). For example, it makes no sense to move from “Revitalization” to “Recovery” to “Flattening” (the curve) if the COVID-19 infection curve is spiking or accelerating.




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