When will the Illinois mask term end? What Pritzker Says Has To Happen First – NBC Chicago
Gov. JB Pritzker said on Monday Illinois COVID-19 measures must be on a “good downward trajectory” before deciding whether to rescind the mask warrant which was reinstated in late August due to an increase fast cases.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Pritzker highlighted progress in dropping the number of new hospitalizations, but said the number of existing patients hospitalized with COVID-19 remains stable.
As of October 1, a total of 1,687 people had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois, a slight decrease from the number of patients reported in mid-September, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The average remained relatively stable last week.
New hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been trending downward for about a month, with 234 patients reported on September 4 compared to 159 on October 1.
In late August, Illinois saw a rapid increase in COVID cases with most cases reported in a single day since January at the time.
With hospitalizations on the rise, Pritzker reissued the state’s mask mandate, saying Illinois “was running out of time while our hospitals were running out of beds.” Weeks later, the ominous scenario became reality in southern Illinois, as none of the 88 staffed intensive care unit beds were available.
The situation has improved slightly since then, with the region reporting 7% of available intensive care beds on October 3, which is well below the 20% threshold set by the IDPH. Eight of Illinois’ 11 health care regions were reporting below threshold critical care bed availability on Monday.
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Improvements in the daily case rate were reported within weeks, the most recent seven-day average, from September 28 to October 4, to 2,743 cases, up from 2,863 cases the previous week.
Despite recent progress in some areas, Pritzker said Illinois had fallen short of the metrics that were reached in June when the state entered Phase 5, the final stage of reopening.
At the time, the state had a positivity rate of just 1.3% on testing, and 764 people were reportedly hospitalized with COVID, one of the lowest numbers reported during the pandemic. Monday’s test positivity rate was reported at 2.7%.
Hoping to scale back measures further, Pritzker called on residents to use best mitigation practices, including getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors.
Statewide, nearly 65% of people 12 and older have been fully immunized, according to data from the IDPH.