Chicago Ineligible For Reduction Of Tier 3 COVID-19 Restrictions

Jonah Meadows

CHICAGO — Only two Illinois regions are eligible for a reduction in restrictions aimed to stem the spread of the coronavirus as of Friday, a week ahead of the first opportunity for the loosening of statewide COVID-19 mitigation mandates in past for the past seven weeks. Chicago is not among them.

Each of the state's 11 COVID-19 resurgence mitigation regions have been subject to Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions since Nov. 20. This week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced state officials would reconsider the statewide restrictions on Jan. 15 — a full two-week incubation period after the New Year's holiday and enough time for any potential post-holiday surge in new cases to be detected.

In order to qualify for reduced restrictions, a region must meet three criteria:

  • First, the seven-day rolling average of test positivity must remain below 12 percent for three consecutive days.

  • Second, the three-day rolling average of available surgical and intensive care beds in the region's hospitals must remain above 20 percent for three days in a row.

  • Third, the seven-day rolling average of the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the region must have fallen on seven of the previous 10 days.

Although the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the criteria along definitions of the Tier 3 mitigations the week before they were imposed in November, Pritzker has said public health experts persuaded him that they should remain in place into January.

In Chicago, or Region 11, hospitalizations have been falling fast enough to loosen restrictions but there are still insufficient hospital beds available to allow for it — surgical bed availability was 4 percentage points below the minimum 20 percent threshold.

The city's 10.6 percent positivity rate, while still below the 12 percent threshold, rose by 1.5 percentage points during the most recent week where data is available. The test positivity rate is on pace to surpass the threshold next week if the trend continues.

Statewide, there were 3,777 people in Illinois reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday night, down by more than 27 percent during the past month.

Among those in the state's hospitals, there were 780 people in intensive care units and 422 people on ventilators — 28 fewer people in the state's ICUs and 42 fewer people attached to breathing machines as compared a week ago .

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Positivity data through Tuesday and hospitalization averages through Thursday were released Friday. Find the latest metrics from all regions below:

Region 1 (Rockford EMS region)

  • Positivity: 10.4 percent on Jan. 5, up from 8.9 percent a week earlier

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 170 on Jan. 7, identical to the prior week. Since the average declined on only six of the previous 10 days, the region is ineligible for a reduced tier.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 21.3 percent for surgical beds and 25.3 percent for ICU beds, each falling by about 1.5 percentage points over the past seven days.

Region 2 (Peoria EMS region)

  • Positivity: 9.6 percent on Jan. 5, up from 8.9 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 305 on Jan. 7, down from 331 a week earlier and falling on nine of the past 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 22.4 percent for surgical beds and 23.8 percent for ICU beds on Jan. 7. Both have remained above the 20 percent threshold for 11 consecutive days. The region is eligible for reduced restrictions.

Region 3 (Springfield EMS region)

  • Positivity: 8.3 percent on Jan. 5, down from 8.6 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 198 on Jan. 7, down from 218 a week earlier. The average fell on nine of the prior 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 19.9 percent for surgical beds and 21.8 percent for ICU beds. Average ICU bed availability has remained above the 20 percent threshold for only one day, making the region ineligible for reduced restrictions.

Region 4 (Edwardsville EMS region)

  • Positivity: 13.5 percent on Jan. 5, up from 12.7 percent the prior week, making the region ineligible for reduced restrictions.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 187 on Jan. 7, down from 191 a week earlier and falling on seven of the prior 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 11.1 percent for surgical beds and 16.8 percent for ICU beds on Jan. 7. Surgical bed availability has remained below the 20 percent threshold for 11 consecutive days, while average ICU bed availability has been below the threshold for two days in a row.

Region 5 (Marion EMS region)

  • Positivity: 11.4 percent on Jan. 5, down from 12.6 percent a week earlier and remaining below the 12-percent threshold for the past five days.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 124 on Jan. 7, down from 131 a week earlier. It feel on only three of the previous 10 days, making the region ineligible for a reduction in Tier 3 restrictions.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 31.3 percent for surgical beds and 14.2 percent for ICU beds on Jan. 7, with ICU bed availability below the 20 percent threshold for the past 11 days.

Region 6 (Champaign EMS region)

  • Positivity: 9.5 percent positivity on Jan. 5, up from 8.9 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 191 on Jan. 7, up from 179 a week earlier. The average rose on eight of the previous 10 days, making the region ineligible for reduced restrictions.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 20.2 percent for surgical beds and 30.2 percent for ICU beds, with both remaining above the 20 percent threshold for the previous 11 days.

Region 7 (Will, Kankakee counties)

  • Positivity: 11.6 percent positivity on Jan. 5, up from 10 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 153 on Jan. 7, down from 166 a week earlier. It fell on eight of the previous 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 20.1 percent for surgical beds and 25.7 percent for ICU beds. Surgical bed availability has been above the 20 percent threshold for 11 consecutive days, while ICU bed availability has been above it for eight days, making the region eligible for a reduction in Tier 3 restrictions.

Region 8 (Kane, DuPage counties)

  • Positivity: 10.5 percent positivity on Jan. 5, up from 9.1 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 407 on Jan. 7, down from 440 a week earlier. The average fell on nine of the past 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 21.4 percent for ICU beds but only 13.3 percent for surgical beds. The surgical bed has remained below the key threshold for three days, making the region ineligible for reduced restrictions.

Region 9 (Lake, McHenry counties)

  • Positivity: 10.5 percent positivity on Jan. 5, up from 9.1 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 268 on Jan. 7, up from 259 a week earlier. Increases on five of the previous 10 days make the region ineligible for reduced restrictions.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 13.3 percent for surgical beds and 23.3 percent for ICU beds, a decrease of about 5 percent in the past week.

Region 10 (Suburban Cook County)

  • Positivity: 10.6 percent positivity on Jan. 5, up from 9.1 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals was 1,015 on Jan. 7, up from from 1,086 a week earlier. The rounded rolling average fell on each of the past 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 16 percent for surgical beds and 20.4 percent for ICU beds. With surgical bed availability below the 20 percent threshold for two days in a row, the region is ineligible for reduced restrictions.

Region 11 (Chicago)

  • Positivity: 10.6 percent positivity on Jan. 5, up from 9.1 percent a week earlier.

  • Hospitalizations: The seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the city's hospitals was 855 on Jan. 7, down from 970 a week earlier and falling on each of the prior 10 days.

  • Bed Availability: The three-day rolling average availability was 16.7 percent for surgical beds and 23.7 percent for ICU beds. Surgical bed availability has been below the 20 percent threshold for two days, making the city is ineligible for reduced restrictions.

This article originally appeared on the Chicago Patch