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COVID clampdown to hit Evanston

Gov. J.B. Pritzker this morning announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigation measures will go into effect in suburban Cook County -- including Evanston -- starting Wednesday morning.

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J. B. Pritzker.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker this morning announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigation measures will go into effect in suburban Cook County starting Wednesday morning.

Suburban Cook County, the state’s Region 10, which includes Evanston, has had eight consecutive days of increases in test positivity and seven days of increased hospital admissions, exceeding the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

Similar restrictions are also being imposed in Region 4, Metro East area near St. Louis.

“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,” Pritzker said.

“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,” the governor added.

“We are seeing test positivity across the state increase, but for Region 10, Suburban Cook County, we are also seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations for COVID-like illness,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were concerned about overwhelming our hospitals and we must take action now to prevent that possibility, she added. “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.”

While Evanston’s COVID positive rate has increased from 2.0% to 2.7% in the week ending Sunday, it remains far below the overall rate for suburban Cook County, which rose from 5.8% to 6.8% during the same period.

But officials say that given the extent to which people travel within the region for jobs, shopping and recreation, it’s not practical to more narrowly target communities for mitigation measures.

Mitigation measures include:

Bars

• No indoor service
• All outside bar service closes at 11 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 currently apply to schools.

If the positivity rate in Region 10 averages less than or equal to 6.5% 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% over a seven-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.

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