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Illinois meets metrics to move to Phase 4 while several states see COVID-19 surges

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CHICAGO (WREX) — Every region in the state will move to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, according to Gov. JB Pritkzer and public health officials Thursday.

On a statewide level, Illinois flattened the curve, passed the peak and saw a sustained decline in key metrics since the coronavirus pandemic began. Looking at 7-day rolling averages – which smooth out daily fluctuations and allow trends to emerge – Illinois is seeing marked declines in cases, deaths, case positivity and covid-related hospitalizations.

The news comes as several states in the south and west begin to see surges.

The U.S. saw a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day, with 45,557 diagnoses reported Wednesday. That tops the previous highest daily count from April 26 — during the first peak of the pandemic in the U.S. — by more than 9,000 cases.

As all four regions of the state move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on June 26, the state has built up its daily testing capabilities, surpassing 30,000 tests in a 24 hour period for the first time Thursday.

Illinois is continuing to test, launching 12 mobile community testing teams. The testing teams will move throughout the state to mitigate and suppress emerging outbreaks, including places like meatpacking plants, nursing homes or other traceable gatherings.

The mobile teams will operate in partnership with a network of commercial labs that the state has contracted with which will allow test results to be quickly delivered.

The state also continues to build up its statewide contact tracing capacities, increasing the ranks of contact tracers by 20% since June 1 for a total of over 550 active contact tracers across the state. 250 new tracers will join their ranks in the coming weeks as Illinois continues to scale up operations, including using new technology to multiply the state’s effectiveness in its contact tracing efforts.

In addition, all of Illinois’ 97 local health departments have applied for funding support totaling $230 million to increase contact tracing. Those funds will be disbursed in the next few weeks.

Community based organizations will have the opportunity next month to obtain funding through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to collaborate on contact tracing efforts alongside their local public health departments.

“We’ve seen what’s happened in other states that have allowed politics or short-term thinking to drive decision-making. Many other states are now seeing significant increases in cases, hospitalizations, and intensive care bed usage and they’re being forced to move backward and stay at home – that’s not the story in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Here, we have been gradually restoring business and leisure activities in a highly deliberate manner, guided by doctors’ advice. Illinoisans are following the mitigations that we can each do ourselves, like wearing face coverings, keeping 6 feet distance between us, and washing our hands frequently. It’s because of the people of Illinois that we’re seeing a trajectory of relative success where other parts of the country are not.”

The state health department also launched a new county monitoring tool, which you can visit by clicking here.

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13 WREX Newsroom

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