CHICAGO — The city and its suburbs are now on track to progress to Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan by the end of May, Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday.
That’s a change from earlier this week, when the governor noted the state’s Northeast Region — of which Chicago is a part — was not on track to move to Phase 3 by May 29, though the other three regions in Illinois were. He said the area’s coronavirus test positivity rate was too high.
A few days has seen the area’s positivity rate fall, and all four of the state’s regions are now on the way to progressing.
“You can see that every region is poised, if it maintains the metrics that it’s at now, to move into Phase 3 in a few short days — I mean, literally, we’re talking about 14 days,” Pritzker said at a Thursday press conference.
On Monday, the region’s positivity rate was at 22.3 percent — and it needs to be at or below 20 percent for 14 days for the region to progress to the next part of the five-phase reopening plan.
But the rate has since fallen to below 20 percent, meaning the Northeast Region will move on to Phase 3 so long as the metric stays that way for two weeks, Pritzker said at a press conference.
“Every region is, so far, meeting all the metrics. Remember that they need to go through a time period and there needs to be an averaging of those metrics during that time period,” Pritzker said. “You can see all the metrics on the IDPH website; but that is true … on the website you can see that Chicago and the region surrounding Chicago has now dropped below 20 percent in terms of positivity rate, and that’s a gating factor for moving into the next phase.”
The shift from Phase 2 to Phase 3 will see major changes in daily life: Offices, manufacturing, salons and retail stores can reopen, and gatherings of 10 people or fewer will be allowed.
After that, it will be another 28 days at the earliest before the Northeast Region can progress to Phase 4. Under that phase, restaurants, bars and schools can reopen and gatherings of 50 or fewer people will be allowed again.
It will not be possible for any region to hit Phase 5 — the final part of the reopening plan — until there’s a vaccine, a widespread and effective treatment or no new cases for a prolonged period.
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