Pritzker outlines 5-phase plan to reopen Illinois

As of 5.6.20

From WTTW News in Chicago

A plan is in place to reopen Illinois, even as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined the plan Tuesday, calling it a way to “safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold” during the pandemic.

More deaths linked to COVID-19 were reported in Illinois on Tuesday than in any 24-hour period previously: 176.

But the governor's message was focused on moving forward.

“We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished – and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our health care systems, and saves the most lives,” he said.

The five-phase, regional plan, called “Restore Illinois,” is based on data, science and guidance from public health experts and stakeholders across the state, according to the governor.

It splits the state into four regions – northeast, north-central, central and southern Illinois – based on Illinois Department of Public Health emergency medical services regions. Each region can move independently through the five phases as businesses, education and recreational activities are restored, according to the governor’s office.

Illinois has already gone through phase one of the plan in which the virus was spreading rapidly and strict stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines were put into place. That phase ended on April 30 when Pritzker’s initial stay-at-home order expired, according to the governor.

On May 1, the state entered phase two of the plan when the modified stay-at-home order began, Pritzker said. During this phase, the rate of infection and number of patients hospitalized is increasing at “an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even downward trajectory,” according to the plan.

Moving from phase two to phase three will be driven by the COVID-19 positivity rate in each region and measures of maintaining regional hospital surge capacity, according to the plan. In order to move to phase three, a region must meet all of the following criteria:

– A positivity rate under 20% and increase of no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period
– No overall increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illnesses for 28 days
– Available surge capacity of at least 14% of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds, and ventilators
– Testing available for all patients, health care workers, first responders, people with underlying conditions, and residents and staff in congregate living facilities
– Begin contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis

The earliest any one region could move into phase three of the plan is May 29, according to Pritzker. In that phase, manufacturing, offices, barbershops and salons can reopen with capacity limits and other safety precautions, according to the plan. Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed and face coverings and social distancing will be required.