September 22, 2021

Pritzker says state might ease more COVID-19 restrictions soon

Illinois could be in bridge phase as soon as next week

Illinois could ease more COVID-19 restrictions as soon as next week if health metrics continue in a positive direction, Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday.

That would mean the state shifts to a bridge phase that increases capacity at festivals, social events, concert and other activities.

“It looks to me like we’re on a decent trajectory. I can’t say exactly what day that is,” Pritkzer said. “It looks to me, if you look at all the hospitalization admissions data, we’re in decent shape and moving exactly as I would hope toward the bridge phase.”

After a decline in COVID-19 infections in February through mid-March, cases and hospitalizations started to climb, bringing fears of a significant surge, although metrics have been inching back down.

Hospital patients being treated for COVID-19 is one key metric experts watch carefully to ensure enough beds are available for new patients.

Illinois hospitals were treating 1,963 COVID-19 patients Sunday night. Average hospitalizations have steadily declined in the last week.

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered dropped to 16,920 Sunday, although officials said that low count is partly because some retail pharmacies have not yet reported their tallies.

The seven-day average is now 78,440. The last time vaccinations fell to a comparable level was Saturday, Feb. 20 with 13,264 shots.

Illinois reported 2,049 new COVID-19 cases Monday; the seven-day average is 2,658. Twenty-eight more people died of the respiratory disease.

The federal government has delivered 11,802,395 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 9,410,057 shots have been administered.

So far, 4,119,343 people – 32% of Illinois’ population – have been fully vaccinated. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna require two doses several weeks apart.

The state’s positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 3.4%, based on a seven-day average.

Total cases statewide stand at 1,341,777 and 22,047 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.