ILLINOIS — With more than 6.3 million vaccine doses administered in Illinois, the light at the end of the tunnel — the last days of the coronavirus pandemic — is closer to becoming reality. And yet Phase 5 — the full reopening of Illinois — is elusive, with a promised “Bridge to Phase 5” pushed back due to rising coronavirus hospitalization numbers, despite the state hitting vaccine milestones outlined by the governor’s plan.
According to state health officials, “Once 70 percent of residents 65 and older have been vaccinated and barring any reversals in our COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths for a 28-day monitoring period, the Bridge to Phase 5 will begin with increased capacity limits in both indoor and outdoor settings.”
But last week, IDPH noted, “The number of people being admitted to the hospital in Illinois due to COVID-19 continues to increase. As long as new hospital admissions continue to increase, the state will not advance to the Bridge Phase and on to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan. ” The state is also averaging more than 2,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, although deaths have declined. On Monday, Illinois reported 11 additional coronavirus deaths.
Phase 5 would start once half of all residents age 16 and older have been vaccinated, along with stable or declining COVID-19 metrics during a 28-day monitoring period. At that point, capacity limits would be removed altogether.
For now, the state remains in Phase 4, with capacity limits requiring at least 6 feet of space between seated patrons dining in restaurants and 25 percent capacity in standing areas. Groups dining out at restaurants together are also limited to parties of 10 or fewer. At gyms, offices and personal care businesses, capacity restrictions remain at 50 percent. Some places — like amusement parks — are restricted to 25 percent capacity.
Which begs the question:
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April 6, 2021 at 09:21AM