Pritzker OKs in­door din­ing in Kanka­kee, Will coun­ties

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MITCHELL ARMENTROUT AND MITCH DUDEK Staff Re­porters

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.

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