CHICAGO – Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike Thursday announced framework for Illinois to advance to Phase 5 of the state’s Restore Illinois Plan.
A release stated the newly announced metrics will offer Illinois a “bridge” between the state’s current Phase 4 restrictions and the “new normal” operations of Phase 5. The “Bridge Phase” will serve as a transition period with higher capacity limits and increased business operations. All regions of the state will move through the Bridge Phase and ultimately to Phase 5, together. The state’s mask mandate will continue in accordance with current CDC guidance.
The “bridge” will allow for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations. To advance into the Bridge Phase, the entire state must reach a 70% first dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and over, maintain a 20% or lower ICU bed availability rate and hold steady on COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, mortality rate, and case rate over a 28-day monitoring period.
To advance to Phase 5, the state must reach a 50% vaccination rate for residents age 16 and over and meet the same metrics and rates required to enter the transition phase, over an additional 28-day period. Currently, every region of the state is in Phase 4 of the five-phase Restore Illinois mitigation plan.
“COVID-19 has not gone away, but the light we can see at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter as more people get vaccinated,” Pritzker said. “It’s time to begin to cautiously move toward normalcy, and it’s imperative that we do so in a way that maintains all the progress we’ve made to date. With projections from the Biden Administration indicating that weekly vaccine deliveries to Illinois will surpass one million doses in April, it is fully in our power to turn the page on this dark and devastating chapter even as we race a tough clock: the new variants. I invite all Illinoisans to join me in wearing your mask and getting vaccinated when it’s your turn. Step by step, we can get out of this the same we came into it – together.”
Pritzker also announced that all Illinois residents age 16+ will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12th, with additional announcements to come about populations who will be made eligible prior to universal eligibility due to an increasing national vaccine supply and the state now averaging 100,000 vaccine administrations per day.
“We want and need to move forward, but we must be measured and cautious in the approach,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “Rather than flipping a switch and saying we’re now in Phase 5, we’re looking at it more like a dial – dialing back some of the capacity restrictions that helped reduce transmission, and ultimately the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. We don’t want to move too quickly and risk a significant reversal of our progress.
An outline of Phase 5 can be found here.