The entire State of Illinois is set to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan on Friday.
During a special briefing Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker said Illinois' deliberate plan to re-open the state is working because its metrics are going in the right direction, unlike other states. The governor said statewide, COVID-related deaths per day are down 65% from a high six weeks ago and all cases are down 76% from a high seven weeks ago.
"From a peak in the first week of May, the number of COVID-positive hospitalizations, including in the ICU, has dropped by over 60%. We've seen a 67% decrease in ventilator use since reaching a high in mid-April."
Phase 4 includes the re-opening of fitness centers, indoor dining, movie theaters, museums, zoos, childcare and schools.
Pritzker said he is prepared to move parts of the state back to more stringent rules if the virus starts to surge.
"If we start to see hospitalizations go up and are unmanageable we would cut back on elective surgeries, that's one example of a change we could make. But, we're taking this as it comes."
The governor said the metrics the state has been following to move things forward in phases will be the same metrics used to consider taking a step back if conditions worsen.
To meet the demands of a re-opening economy, the State of Illinois is creating a more aggressive approach on testing.
Pritzker said they're getting ready to launch 12 mobile community testing teams that can suppress emerging outbreaks.
"These mobile teams operate in partnership with a network of commercial labs that we've contracted with on a regional basis, allowing the delivery of results on an expedited basis."
The Illinois Department of Public Health's website has a new tool to help residents track the virus in its local areas.
The tool is a map that shows every county in Illinois. By looking at this map, counties colored blue are meeting target indicators, whereas counties colored orange have more of a caution or warning about socializing more.
IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says there are other indicators for residents as well.
"Those indicators include the number of new cases over the last week, test positivity, emergency department visits, and hospital emissions for COVID-like illness. As well we're looking at the number of deaths, and the percent of ICU beds available in the area."
The percentage of cases that are part of a cluster and the amount of testing that has been done in the county you selected are also indicators on the website.
Right now the only county in Illinois that is orange is Cass County near Springfield.