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Illinois, Chicago officials watching COVID-19 metrics but say they have no plans to tighten restrictions

Dan Petrella and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- With neighboring Indiana and other states pausing their reopening plans or even moving backward as new cases of the coronavirus surge, officials in Chicago and Illinois said Wednesday they have no plans to alter loosened rules that took effect statewide last week.

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his "Restore Illinois" reopening plan in early May, he acknowledged that surges in hospitalizations or the percentage of people testing positive, or shortages of intensive-care unit beds or ventilators could lead him to tighten restrictions once again.

Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement Wednesday that the governor and medical experts at the Illinois Department of Public Health are watching the data closely to see whether the looser restrictions in the new phase have any effect on the state's health care system.

"The governor has been clear that he will follow the guidance of medical experts and if they advise reinstituting previous mitigations he will not hesitate to do so," Abudayyeh said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city tracks its data closely and will "not hesitate" to take action if they see an upward swing.

But, she said during an unrelated news conference, Chicago is in a good position right now.

 

"Every single day, we look at a very specific set of public health metrics. We look at hospitalizations. We look at ICU beds. We look at number of people on ventilators. We look at the amount of testing we're doing,% positivity," Lightfoot said.

"These are the metrics we've now been talking about for weeks, and what we see in Chicago, and I can't account for the rest of Illinois, is we continue to be on a downward trajectory day over day, week over week," she said.

"If we weren't," Lightfoot added, "we wouldn't be opening up. Now we're looking at this literally every single day, multiple times a day. If we see that we're heading in the wrong direction, I'm not going to hesitate to take action."

As the pandemic nears the start of its fifth month, state officials on Wednesday announced 828 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 144,013 since the outbreak began. With 30 additional fatalities also announced, the death toll stands at 6,951, officials said.

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