Pritzker OKs indoor dining in Kankakee, Will counties
Indoor service is back on the menu at bars and restaurants across Chicago’s far south suburbs after an improved COVID-19 testing positivity rate prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday to lift restrictions on Will and Kankakee counties.
The eased coronavirus guidelines were set to kick in Friday evening, also allowing gatherings to increase from 25 to 50 people. The Democratic governor called it a “testament to the entire state and to the power of community” as he dished out the good news at an unrelated news conference in Rock Island.
Pritzker’s health team banned indoor service in the region three weeks ago after the testing positivity rate — which indicates how quickly the virus is spreading — jumped over 8%. That’s the threshold set by the state to trigger rollbacks in reopening efforts.
Will and Kankakee counties are now down to 5.6% positivity, sending them back to the Phase 4 reopening guidelines in place for most of the state.
The resumption of indoor service in the suburbs capped a week of high but encouraging coronavirus numbers that saw the statewide testing positivity rate fall consistently after a mid-summer surge.
State public health officials announced 2,120 more residents were confirmed to carry the virus among the latest batch of nearly 62,000 test results. The virus also killed 20 more Illinoisans, raising the state’s pandemic death toll to 8,411 since March.
Illinois has added an average of 1,961 new cases per day so far this month — not far from the rate of 2,172 per day during a peak month of May — but booming testing numbers mean the average testing positivity rate over the last week is at 3.6%, as low as it’s been in about two months.