State positivity rate remains stable amid increase in cases, testing

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Two regions meeting rollback criteria one week from when it would be allowed

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  • The graph depicts the COVID-19 positivity rate of test results reported over a 24-hour period as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)
    The graph depicts the COVID-19 positivity rate of test results reported over a 24-hour period as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)
  • The graph shows the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported each day by the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)
    The graph shows the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported each day by the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Credit: Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois)
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By GRACE BARBIC
Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois reported 9,277 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including 126 additional deaths.

The state hasn’t reported a single-day case count this high since Dec. 11, when it reached 9,520, but the 118,665 test results reported Friday constituted the highest one-day total since Dec. 12. It made for a one-day positivity rate of 7.8 percent, and the seven-day rolling average case positivity rate was unchanged from Thursday’s report at 8.5 percent.

The state reached 1,017,322 total cases across its 102 counties, including 17,395 total deaths in the state. Nearly 14 million have been tested.

As of Thursday night 3,777 COVID-19 patients were reported hospitalized, a decrease of 144 from the day prior. There were 780 patients in intensive care unit beds, consistent with the day prior, and 422 on ventilators, 28 less than the day prior.

The governor’s office also announced this week a statewide mask mandate has been extended through a subsequent emergency rule that was filed Monday and will be in effect for an additional 150 days.

On Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced the possibility of Tier 3 mitigations being lifted by Jan. 15 in regions that meet certain metrics. That represents a 14-day incubation period following New Year’s Day.

In order to transition from Tier 3 to Tier 2, a region must experience a positivity rate below 12 percent for three consecutive days. It must also have greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit and hospital bed availability and declining COVID hospitalizations for 7 of the 10 days. 

Regions began hitting Tier 2 restrictions in November, with statewide Tier 3 mitigations announced on Nov. 20. No region has been able to move back to Tier 1 restrictions after reaching Tier 2.

According to an IDPH document detailing Tier 2 restrictions, “IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in regions requiring additional mitigations 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. If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5 percent over a 3-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan.”

Phase 4 mitigations are less strict than any of the tiers of the resurgence plan.

As of Friday, only two of the state’s 11 mitigation regions meet the criteria set by the governor’s office to return to Tier 2 mitigations with one week left before they would be able to do so.

Those regions include Region 2, which covers 20 different counties in north-central Illinois, and Region 7, which covers the south suburban Kankakee and Will counties.

Under Tier 2 and 3, indoor dining is suspended. A region would have to move to Tier 1 in order to open indoor dining with limited capacity. Tier 1 restrictions also include suspension of indoor bar service.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.