CHICAGO — Illinois regions could start lifting Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions Jan. 15, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.
The governor said while some regions showed a slow in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, advised against downgrading mitigations during the holiday season when Illinoisans were holding multi-family celebrations without masks. He added that the state did not experience the “surge upon a surge” experts feared after Thanksgiving and that official are continuing to monitor the incubation period following Christmas and New Year’s.
“On Jan. 15, exactly one incubation period from New Year’s Day, any region that has met the metrics for a reduction of mitigations will be able to move out of Tier 3 of our mitigation plan,” Pritzker said.
Illinois has been under Tier 3 mitigation since Nov. 20. Under Tier 3, indoor dining and drinking is suspended, casinos are closed and retail is operating at reduced capacity. To move out of Tier 3, a region must see a test-positivity rate below 12% for three consecutive days, declining hospitalizations in seven of the previous 10 days and a 20-percent availability in hospital beds.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,569 new cases of COVID-19, including 139 deaths, Wednesday. There have now been 999,288 probable and confirmed cases and 17,096 virus-related fatalities since March.