Illinois Recording the Lowest Number of Hospitalizations and Test Positivity Rates Since March 2020
Illinois will move to a full reopening, also known as Phase 5, the final phase of the Restore Illinois plan, on Friday, June 11, 2021. On Friday, the state will eliminate all capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and all other venues. Mask requirements for vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals continue to align with CDC guidelines.
The state reaches this point as it records the lowest number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, the lowest test positivity rate, and more than 68% of Illinois residents age 18 and over who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“A strong economy requires that people not only feel safe, but truly be safe, as they go about their lives as workers, neighbors, consumers, and friends – and thanks to the lifesaving power of vaccinations, that day is finally here for Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I invite all Illinoisans to feel the hope and joy of this moment while also recognizing that this pandemic is still very present for the world at large – not to mention those here at home who have not been or cannot be vaccinated. As we take this next step forward, let’s do so with a renewed commitment to empathy, to community, and to making each day together count. You did it, Illinois.”
Today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting 366 new confirmed and probable cases, 764 people in the hospital with COVID-19, and a test positivity rate of 1.3%. These are some of the lowest COVID-19 statistics reported in Illinois to date. Additionally, IDPH is reporting 209 people with COVID-19 in the ICU and 103 people on ventilators. These are also some of the lowest counts we’ve seen since the pandemic began.
Currently, 11.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Illinois residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting more than 68% of residents age 18 and older in Illinois have received at least one dose of vaccine and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated. Additionally, more than 88% of Illinois seniors have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“It is a very exciting time as we reach the point where businesses can operate without capacity limits and we are seeing the return of large events we’ve enjoyed in the past,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, it is important to remember that we are still in a world pandemic and not everyone has the protection of one of the safest and most effective vaccines ever. Currently, there is not a vaccine authorized for children younger than 12 years and some adults have chosen not to be vaccinated. For these reasons, it is important for unvaccinated people to continue to wear masks while in public and to socially distance. The virus can continue to spread among unvaccinated individuals, which could lead to additional mutations and new, more virulent variants.”
In accordance with guidance from the CDC, fully vaccinated people in Illinois can resume activities without wearing a mask except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Consistent with CDC guidance, fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons are required to wear a face covering in certain situations including (1) on public transportation, planes, buses, trains, and in transportation hubs such as airports and train and bus stations; (2) in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and (3) in health care settings. Individuals in schools and day cares must also continue to wear face coverings per guidance issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
According to the CDC, it is critical that schools use and layer prevention strategies. Schools providing in-person instruction should prioritize two prevention strategies:
Municipalities and businesses in most industries may choose to continue to implement public health mitigations as they deem appropriate, including requiring face coverings.
To help businesses recover from the pandemic, the Governor, in partnership with the General Assembly, announced $1.5 billion in funding next year to support business grants, tourism, workforce, affordable housing, violence prevention, capital projects and other investments throughout Illinois. This investment follows the $580 million invested last year for Business Interruption grants to aid businesses in pandemic impacted industries and childcare providers.
“Today’s advancement to Phase 5 is a significant milestone in our work to combat the virus and get the Illinois economy back on track. Through Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, we have continued to lead on testing, vaccines and providing economic relief programs that are essential to supporting the return of workers and businesses amid the pandemic,” said Acting DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia. “Now, as businesses are set to fully reopen across the state, DCEO remains committed to implementing key programs that will not only reinvigorate our small businesses, workforce, and tourism, but that will build back our state’s economy stronger than ever before.”
Businesses and communities can learn more about Phase 5 recommended public health practices by visiting IDPH’s website.