IDPH: Will, Kankakee counties ‘on target’ for relaxed COVID-19 restrictions Thursday

Lesser mitigations could include lifting of ban on indoor dining, bar service

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Will and Kankakee counties are “on target” to see relaxed restrictions starting Thursday.

The IDPH said in a news release Wednesday the South Suburban Region is on track to move out of the strictest mitigations, known as Tier 3, and into Tier 1 as it’s continued to see a declining COVID-19 test positivity rate and adequate hospital bed capacity.

The state also announced Monday it was tweaking the requirement for regions to see sustained decreases in COVID-19 patients in hospitals to allow for a relaxing of mitigations sooner. The state is launching an effort to increase hospital staffing.

Steve Brandy, a spokesman for the Will County Health Department, said the region has been “inching closer” to relaxed mitigations for weeks. The rolling average test positivity rate stood at 7.4% on Sunday, well below the 12% threshold for lesser restrictions.

“We’re hoping for good news,” Brandy said.

The region also had adequate hospital bed availability, about 75%, as of Tuesday, according to the IDPH.

Most notably, Tier 1 would allow for limited indoor dining and bar service at the lesser of 25 guests or 25% capacity per room, according to the IDPH rules.

The South Suburban Region is one of only two regions out of 11 which are still operating under the strictest mitigations.

Tier 1 would also mean greater capacities at retail shops and health clubs, and the potential restart of organized recreational activities like youth sports.

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Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.