ELGIN, IL — Public health officials lifted some coronavirus restrictions in Kane and Cook counties on Monday, with new cases on the decline in the area.
Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties) and Region 10 (suburban Cook County) moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 on Monday, meaning gaming centers, casinos and cultural institutions can reopen, while indoor fitness classes, meetings and other gatherings can restart with a 10-person limit.
However, indoor dining at bars and restaurants is still banned under Tier 2 mitigations.
Regions 8 and 10 moved to Tier 2 on Monday along with Regions 9 (Lake and McHenry counties) and 11 (Chicago).
Those regions loosened restrictions after meeting the state's three benchmarks to leave Tier 3: having less than 12 percent positivity rate for three straight days, more than 20 percent of ICU beds available, and declining hospitalizations for seven out of 10 days.
As of Tuesday, the positivity rate in Region 8 had been under the 12 percent threshold for 37 straight days, while hospitalizations have been dropping steadily since reaching an all-time high Nov. 22, according to statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The region's positivity rate stood at 8.2 percent Saturday, the most recent day for which testing data is available.
More than 20 percent of the ICU beds in Region 8 have been available for 37 days, but a lack of medical/surgical beds prevented the region from moving to Tier 2 sooner. The IDPH is no longer using the availability of medical/surgical beds to determine coronavirus-related restrictions in any region.
Hospitalizations in Region 8 have fallen six of the past 10 days, the state’s data shows.
Regions 1, 2 and 6 returned to Tier 1 mitigations, which allow restaurants and bars to reopen at 25 percent capacity, while Regions 3 and 5 are once again under Phase 4 restrictions. Phase 4 permits gatherings of up to 50 people and allows entertainment businesses to reopen with limits.
Tier 3 restrictions were still in place Tuesday in Regions 4 and 7.
No region can revert beyond Phase 4 restrictions until a coronavirus vaccine is widely distributed in Illinois.
For a region to move from Tier 2 to Tier 1, it must record a positivity rate below 8 percent for three consecutive days, more than 20 percent of ICU beds must be available for three days and no sustained increase in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 patients.