Evanston reported six new COVID-19 cases today for a total of 397 as Gov. J.B. Pritzker this afternoon unveiled a five-stage plan for reopening the state keyed to progress in reducing the health impact of the pandemic.

Chicago reported 801 new cases today for a total of 26,606 and statewide there were 2,122 additional cases for a total of 65,962.

Pritzker’s plan divides the state into four regions with boundaries based on state health department districts. All of the Chicago metro area is in the northeast region. A second region covers the rest of northern Illinois and the two others cover central and southern Illinois.

The governor’s proposal says that having passed through “Phase 1 – Rapid Spread” in March and April, the state now is in “Phase 2 – Flattening” with infections increasing at an ever-slower rate and moving toward a downward trajectory.

J.B. Pritzker.

In the current phase, only essential gatherings are allowed, with a limit of 10 participants, and non-essential travel is discouraged. Remote learning is required for schools. Only essential manufacturing is allowed, bars and restaurants are limited to delivery, pickup and drive-thru only, personal care services and health clubs are closed, essential retails stores are open with restrictions, non-essential ones are open for delivery and curbside pickup only, and employees of non-essential businesses are generally required to work from home.

It identifies the criteria for a region of the state moving to “Phase 3 – Recovery” as involving a stable or declining rate of infections, hospitalizations and ICU bed use.

In that phase, “manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions” and non-essential gatherings of up to 10 peple would be allowed. “Face coverings and social distancing are the norm,” the plan says.

To reach “Phase 4 – Revitalization” the rate of infections and hospitalizations would need to continue to decline.

In this phase, “Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health” and face coverings and social distancing remain the norm.

For “Phase 5 – Illinois Restored” a vaccine or highly effective treatment would need to be widely available or there’d need to be the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period.

That would allow the economy to fully reopen, but with safety precautions continuing. “Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools and  places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The full 10-page document outlining the plan — including conditions under which a region might move back to a previous phase — is available online.

COVID-19 tests reported in Illinois today totaled 13,139 with a positive results rate of 16.1%

The Evanston Health Department is still reporting 11 deaths from COVID-19, although it appears from county medical examiner’s reports and other sources that the actual death toll here is 16 or 17. 

Chicago reported 47 additional deaths today for a total of 1,068 and the state reported its highest one-day death toll yet, 176 people, for a total of 2,838.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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