Region 8 has moved to Tier 2 mitigations due to an increase in hospital staffing provided by the state, causing the Illinois Department of Public Health to adjust its metrics. The region includes both DuPage and Kane counties.
Joining Region 8 are Regions 9, 10 and 11. Additionally, Regions 1 and 6 have moved to Tier 1, and Regions 3 and 5 have progressed to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
Hospital Leaders Argue for Help
Following communication from hospital leaders and local health departments, the IDPH moved to address staffing challenges. Hospital officials also “stressed that state-facilitated staffing contracts will be critical in addressing this challenge”, according to the press release. Subsequently, the state of Illinois launched multiple health care staffing contracts to increasing hospital staffing.
“Hospital leaders have made clear the importance of staffing in their continued response to this pandemic and conveyed that staffing contracts will be extraordinarily valuable in their ability to meet the needs of their communities,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are pleased to see most of our regions move out of Tier 3 mitigations with this change, and it is critical that we maintain this progress. With new variants of COVID-19 spreading, it is more important than ever to follow the public health guidance that keeps people safe – wear and mask and watch your distance.”
Surge Staffing Program
Working in conjunction with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, IDPH launched a surge staffing program. The program ensures hospitals that have rooms available but insufficient staff will now have personnel available to staff their beds.
Moving From Tier 3 to 2
Mitigation metrics for moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2 include a test positivity rate between 8%-12% for three consecutive days, as measured by a 7-day rolling average. There must be at least 20% available staffed ICU hospital beds for three consecutive days, on a 7-day rolling average. And there needs to be a sustained decrease in the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 for seven out of 10 days, on a 7-day average.
Moving From Tier 2 to 1
In order to move to Tier 1 mitigations, a region must meet the following metrics: A test positivity rate between 6.5 and 8% for three consecutive days, as measured by the 7-day rolling average. Equal to or greater than 20% available staffed ICU hospital beds for three consecutive days, on a 7-day rolling average. As well as no sustained increase in the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 for seven out of 10 days, on a 7-day average.
Region 8 is currently at an 8.7% positivity rate, 31% ICU bed availability and has decreasing hospitalizations in 7 of the last 10 days.
Region 7 is currently at an 8% positivity rate, 25% ICU bed availability and has decreasing hospitalizations in 4 of the last 10 days.
With Region 8 now in Tier 2, organized group recreational activities are allowed to resume with a 25% capacity limitation, or 25 people or less. Meanwhile, video gaming machine operations and gambling at casinos are able to resume.
Indoor service at bars or restaurants, social events and gatherings, including weddings, funerals and potlucks are allowable in Tier 1.
Kevin Jackman reports for Naperville News 17
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