Indoor service returns

Server Alexis Denault delivers two burgers with steak fries at Burgers & Beer last month. As of 5 p.m. Friday, restaurants and bars could return to indoor service as Region 7 returned to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois COVID-19 mitigation plan.

Region 7, which includes Kankakee and Will counties, has returned to Phase 4 restrictions as of 5 p.m. Friday, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

On Aug. 26, Pritzker moved the region to stricter mitigations following three consecutive days of a rolling positivity rate above 8 percent. On Friday, the region had reached the threshold to lift mitigations of three consecutive days of a rolling positivity rate below 6.5 percent. Friday’s rate was at 5.6 percent.

The change means the two counties will be allowed to have indoor dining and bar service along with larger gathering sizes as outlined in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.

The return is “because residents chose to be all in for each other, for their small businesses, for their bars and restaurants, for their kids, for their neighbors,” Pritzker said in a press release. “Let that be a testament to the power of a community that embraces doctor-recommended mitigations proven to reduce risk and slow the spread. We can’t outrun this virus, but with the tools we know to work – masks, distancing, handwashing, and respect for public health and each other — we can beat it back enough to keep our businesses open and our neighborhoods safer all at once.

“Don’t let up now, Region 7, let’s keep this success going.”

The announcement from the state came the same day as warnings of positivity rates for 24 counties.

A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

The counties currently reported at a warning level are Bond, Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Edwards, Effingham, Greene, Jasper, Jo Daviess, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Rock Island, St. Clair, Shelby, Washington, Wayne, Williamson, Wabash and Union. Iroquois County had previously been at the warning level but has since leveled off.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 270,327 cases, which is up 2,120 from Thursday. The state has logged 8,411 deaths, up 20 since Thursday.

The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Sept. 11-17 is 3.6%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 61,918 specimens for a total of 4,982,856. As of Thursday evening, 1,481 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 329 patients were in the ICU and 149 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.