New restrictions hit region as COVID-19 spikes statewide

Junior+Zachary+Chalmers+takes+a+COVID-19+test+at+the+State+Farm+Center+COVID-19+testing+site+on+Oct.+9.

Cameron Krasucki

Junior Zachary Chalmers takes a COVID-19 test at the State Farm Center COVID-19 testing site on Oct. 9.

By Willie Cui, Staff Writer

On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health along with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new restrictions for Region 6 of the state’s COVID-19 response plan, which includes Champaign County.

These restrictions, which take effect on Monday, Nov. 2, include the suspension of indoor service at bars and restaurants, requiring bars and restaurants to end outdoor service by 11:00 p.m., and requiring customers to make reservations beforehand when dining out.

The restrictions also limit gatherings to a maximum of 25 people.

Schools and polling places are exempt from these new restrictions, and the University does not plan on making any changes to in-person instruction.

“We will continue courses as planned,” said Chancellor Robert Jones in a Massmail.

These mitigation measures are being implemented in response to Region 6 having “an average positivity rate of eight percent or higher” for three consecutive days, resulting in stricter mitigation measures.

“Starting Monday, (Region 6) will join the majority of the state in operating under resurgence mitigations,” said Gov. Pritzker in a press release.

On Oct. 14th, IDPH announced its decision to exclude the University’s saliva-based test results from Region 6’s testing data for the purposes of the state’s COVID-19 response plan.

“This will allow us to better identify testing needs and trends in that region,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

As a result, the seven-day rolling test positive rate for Region 6 was recalculated by IDPH while excluding the University’s saliva tests. It was most recently updated on Oct. 28, when the figure hit 9%.

In addition to these new measures, the cities of Champaign and Urbana reminded the public in a joint press release to continue following public health guidelines such as wearing a face mask in public and practicing social distancing.

In state, on campus and countywide, new cases continue to surge. There were 248 new cases of COVID-19 identified on campus during the week ended Friday, after 109 the previous week and 85 the week before.

Since Aug. 15, 3,045 students, faculty and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 using on-campus saliva tests.

The Champaign Urbana Public Health District currently reports 6,498 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Champaign County, with 527 cases considered active. On Oct. 28, there were 296 active cases in the county.

On Saturday, IDPH confirmed another 7,899 cases of COVID-19, a new single-day high for Illinois. Illinois has broken its own daily record for new cases in each of the previous four days.

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