BELLEVILLE (WSIL) -- Illinois public health officials are rolling back recent COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the Metro East.
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that Region 4, the Metro East, will return to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9.
The Pritzker administration says Region 4's rolling average positivity rate of COVID-19 has fallen from a high of 10.5 percent on August 27 to a current rate of 5.8 percent.
“We are excited to see that after weeks of mitigation measures and sacrifice, Region 4 has reduced its positivity rate and can return to Phase 4,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “It takes communities working together to reduce the spread of the virus and lower the positivity rate. I want to thank Region 4 for its hard work to decrease the risk for all of Illinois.”
With mitigations lifted, indoor dining and bar service can resume, along with larger gathering sizes as outlined in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.
“I’m thankful that our businesses will now be able to operate at a higher capacity and hopeful that we will see many of the recently-lost jobs return to the area. I do not believe these restrictions should have been enacted on the region in the first place because they were based on the wrong metric, which itself was based on flawed and incomplete data. Moving forward, I continue to urge the Governor to focus on regional hospitalization rates, which are a much more accurate assessment of the actual COVID-19 situation,” said State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo).
Region 4 includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties.