SPRINGFIELD — Region 4 of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan saw its test positivity rate dip again Thursday, putting it one day away from having mitigations lifted if the downward trend continues.
The region, which includes the Metro East area on the Missouri border near St. Louis, saw its rate dip to 6.1 percent, the second day below a 6.5 percent threshold that will allow the state to reenter Phase 4 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan.
That would allow for indoor dining and drinking at restaurants and bars, activities that have not been allowed in the region since early September. Mitigations kick in when a region sees three days above 8 percent and can be lifted when a region is below 6.5 percent for three days.
The same mitigations are now in place in Region 1 of the plan, which includes the northwest part of the state from Winnebago County to the western border. That region had an 8.8 percent positivity rate as of Monday, according to the most recent data available.
Other regions range from 4.3 percent to 6.9 percent.
Statewide, the positivity rate rose to 3.7 percent as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,059 new confirmed cases among 72,491 test results reported over the previous 24 hours. That made for a one-day positivity rate of 4.2 percent as 32 more virus-related deaths were reported.
The new deaths came in a person in their 30s, four in their 50s, three in their 60s, seven in their 70s and the rest 80 or older.
Hospitalizations for the virus rose once again at the end of Wednesday. While those numbers fluctuate considerably daily, the 1,755 COVID-19 hospitalizations were the most since June 18. The 392 intensive care unit beds in use by COVID-19 patients were also above recent averages, although that number reached as high as 400 two weeks ago and was above 1,200 at the height of the pandemic. There were 163 ventilators in use by the end of Wednesday.
In terms of statewide capacity, 34 percent of hospital beds, 37 percent of ICU beds and 78 percent of ventilators were available.
New unemployment claims jump
Meanwhile, new unemployment claims jumped by 23 percent in the state for the week ending Oct. 3, with 36,267 filing initial claims, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. That’s an increase of 6,887 from a week ago.
The number of continued claims decreased by 3 percent, however, with 507,748 drawing unemployment benefits the week ending Oct. 3. That’s down by more than 17,000 from the previous week.
Nationally, there were 840,000 claims for the week ending Oct. 3, which was a decrease of 9,000 from the week prior, according to advanced estimates by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.