Gov. J.B. Pritzker imposed tighter restrictions designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in suburban Chicago amid a sustained surge in COVID-19 cases that has shown no sign of slowing down.
The strict rules will take effect Wednesday in Regions 5, 7 and 8, which include Will, Kankakee, Kane and DuPage counties as well as the far southern tip of the state, Pritzker said Monday.
The coronavirus pandemic has continued to rage in those parts of the state during the past two weeks, when Pritzker imposed the first level of restrictions, which included a ban on indoor dining.
“The virus is winning the war,” Pritzker said.
WTTW News is renewing its commitment to covering COVID-19. Find our full coverage of the pandemic here.
Pritzker blamed the worsening state of the pandemic on residents who are not wearing masks, washing their hands and keeping 6 feet of distance from those who are not members of their households.
The governor also called on local officials to enforce the rules — calling it “good politics” while acknowledging that it would incense a vocal minority.
New daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 are up nearly 380% since Oct. 1, while the state’s test positivity rate is up more than 180% in the last five weeks. In addition, hospitalizations and deaths per day are up more than 150% in the same time period, Pritzker said.
Those three regions join the northwestern corner of the state — Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties — under the second level of restrictions crafted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Pritzker said that part of the state has been hardest hit, in part because of surging cases in Iowa and Wisconsin.
The ban on indoor dining and bar service as well as a cap on indoor gatherings at 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity will remain in place in every Illinois region.
The tighter restrictions will be in place for at least two to three weeks.
The new rules mean no more than six people may be seated at the same table at bars and restaurants and outdoor recreational activities are limited to no more than 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors. Group exercise is limited to 10 or fewer people, except at fitness centers.
State health officials reported 10,573 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 14 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, including a woman from Will County who was more than 100 years old. The state has reported more than 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day for four straight days.
The seven-day statewide positivity rate is 11.4%, according to IDPH data.
In Chicago and suburban Cook County, the seven-day test positivity rate is 12.2%, according to IDPH data.
In Region 5, the seven-day positivity rate is 11.5%; in Region 7 it is 16.4% and in Region 8 it is 13.7%, according to IDPH data.