Illinois’ statewide positivity rate for the coronavirus fell to 3% this weekend – down from last Saturday’s rate of 5.5%.
The rate, which measures the percentage of people who tested positive for the virus within a seven-day period, is a key indicator of its spread. It’s also a key metric in moving Illinois to the next phase of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan, under which each of the state’s four regions must have “at or under a 20 percent positivity rate and increasing no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period” to move forward.
When Illinois moved to the third phase of the reopening plan on May 29, the Illinois Department of Public Health listed the statewide positivity rate as 8%.
Other metrics include ventilator and intensive care bed availability. As of Sunday, 562 COVID-19 patients are occupying of Illinois’ 3,882 total ICU beds and 328 patients with the coronavirus were on the nearly 6,000 ventilators in the state.
In an analysis of data through June 11, The New York Times found that Illinois is among the states seeing the largest decreases in new COVID-19 cases compared to the previous two weeks.
The soonest Illinois could move to phase four of the governor’s plan – which would allow gatherings of up to 50 people and the reopening of spas, fitness centers, theaters and restaurants and bars to indoor diners – is June 26.
Republican state senators say the falling number of cases, as well as mass gatherings of people protesting the death of George Floyd, should prompt Pritzker to loosen restrictions sooner.
In a letter to the governor, the senators say the governor should use a 14-day timeline rather than 28-days to move between phases.
“Illinois remains one of the most restrictive states in the nation,” they wrote in a letter dated June 10. “The data provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health supports such a move.”
Moving to that tighter time frame would have allowed each of Illinois’ regions to move forward last Friday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 627 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and 19 deaths.
Labs tested 22,000 specimens from Saturday to Sunday; at least 20,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 each day since Tuesday.
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