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Pritzker refuses to commit to a date to lift restrictions

J.B. Pritzker-060119
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, discusses the House action to put a constitutional amendment to implement Pritzker’s graduated income tax on the November 2020 ballot in Springfield, Ill., Monday, May 27, 2019. Voters decide whether to eliminate Illinois’ flat-rate tax system which critics claim is regressive. Rep. Robert Marwick, D-Chicago, the sponsor of the amendment which underwent nearly 3 ½ hours of debate on the House floor, looks on. (AP Photo/John O’Connor)

Pritzker refuses to commit to a date to lift restrictions

May 04, 03:00 PM May 04, 03:00 PM

Illinois will continue with public gathering restrictions in place for the immediate future.

On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was noncommittal on when the state could move from Phase 4 to his Bridge Phase.

“It feels to me, it looks to me, if you look at all the hospital admissions data, like we’re in decent shape and moving exactly as I would hoped we would toward the Bridge Phase,” Pritzker said.

The Bridge phase will allow for higher capacity limits (60%) at places like gyms, museums and spectator events and increased business operations during the transitional period between the current Phase 4 and a full reopening in Phase 5.

In order for Illinois to advance to the Bridge Phase, the entire state must reach a 70% first-dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and older, plus maintain the required metrics of at least 20% ICU beds availability, and maintaining a steady or dropping rate of hospitalizations and case rates for COVID-19 over a 28-day period.

Illinois health officials reported hospital numbers are down, but so is the number of people getting vaccinated. The CDC reported 8% of Americans have skipped their second shot of either the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The number of Illinoisans who have been fully vaccinated, receiving both of the required two shots, or one Johnson & Johnson shot, has reached 4,119,343, or 32% of the state population.

Pritzker said coronavirus variants, particularly the UK variant, have played a role in his administration’s decision to hold off on further reopening.

“You can see the numbers rise very quickly,” he said. “That is why we have been very careful not to move to the Bridge Phase while we watch that variant in Illinois.”

Of the 1.341,777 million COVID-19 cases in Illinois since the pandemic began, only about 2,500 involved the UK variant.

Officials reported on Monday 2,049 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, accounting for a 7-day case average of 2,658, the lowest since the same average was reported April 3.

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