BREAKING: The Quad-Cities’ Region 2 is one of only two in Illinois which would be eligible at this point to leave Tier 3 covid-19 restrictions next week, according to statistics from the Illinois Department of Health.

Nine of the 11 regions in Illinois fall short of the criteria to reduce Tier 3 restrictions, with only a few days to go to improve those numbers in order to be eligible for reduced mitigations.

Illinois covid cases exploded in the fall, causing governor JB Pritzker to enact mitigations on Nov. 20.

Nine of the regions have seen an increase in the percentage of positive covid numbers over the past week, as cases have begun to rise in the wake of the holidays. While the Quad-Cities has also seen a rise, its overall numbers are below the metrics for it to escape Tier 3 mitigations.

The only other region in the state currently on track to re-open is Region 7, including Will and Kankakee counties.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said last week that he would be considering allowing some of the regions in the state to drop down a level in restrictions if they were able to meet certain criteria before the middle of this coming week. Pritzker will be making an announcement regarding any potential easing of restrictions on Friday, Jan. 15.

“On Jan. 15, exactly one incubation period from New Year’s Day, any region that has met the metrics for a reduction of mitigations will be able to move out of Tier 3 of our mitigation plan,” Pritzker said during his online press conference briefing on covid Thursday.

According to the metrics put forth by Pritzker on Nov. 20, a region can move down to phase 4 mitigations if it sees a test positivity rate less than 12% for three consecutive days and more than 20% of ICU and hospital beds are available, as well as declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in seven of the previous 10 days.

According to numbers released this weekend, the Quad-Cities’ Region 2 saw its positivity rate go up to 9.6 percent, up from 8.9 percent a week earlier, but still below the 12 percent threshold needed. Region 2 saw good numbers in regard to its seven-day rolling average number of COVID-19 patients in the region’s hospitals, going down to 305 on Jan. 7, down from 331 a week earlier and falling on nine of the past 10 days. The Quad-Cities Region hits the trifecta in regard to reduced mitigations due to its rolling average of hospital bed availability, as the three-day rolling average availability was 22.4 percent for surgical beds and 23.8 percent for ICU beds on Jan. 7 — making it 11 consecutive days that both numbers have remained above the 20 percent threshold, also a positive sign.

If the Quad-Cities Region 2 can continue along its current path or even see a decline in its numbers, it will be eligible on Friday to have a reduction in its mitigations, which would open the door (literally) for a number of businesses and activities, including indoor dining and more.

JB Pritzker during his press conference.

Illinois has been in Tier 3 mitigations since Nov. 20. The restrictions shut down indoor dining and other indoor recreation venues like theaters, casinos and live performance venues, suspended indoor dining entirely, and lowered capacity for outdoor dining and other activities.

Pritzker touted the mitigations as helping the state avoid even more catastrophic numbers, saying Illinois “did not experience the post-Thanksgiving uptick that plagued much of the country,” and that the mitigations and their duration has put the state on the course to open up more safely.

“Since Nov. 30, I have maintained – at the advice of Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, the [Illinois Department of Public Health] and other infectious

disease experts – that it would be unwise to downgrade any region from our current Tier Three mitigations while in the holiday season, when people were particularly prone to gather in multi-family groups and do it without masks – the things that could deliver the worrisome ‘surge upon a surge,’” Pritzker said during an online press conference. “I’m cautiously optimistic as there are some early signs indicating that some regions have made real progress and won’t reverse that progress this week or next.”

So far, the Quad-Cities can remain cautiously optimistic as well.

For ongoing coverage of the situation, check in with your free, fact-based local media, QuadCities.com.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.