Last week, Gov. Pritzker announced a five-phase plan to reopen Illinois as we try live our lives with some form of normalcy during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pritzker claims Illinois is currently on phase two and could enter the third phase in the coming weeks. “We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished–and to do so in a way that best supports our residents’ health and our healthcare systems, and saves the most lives,” Pritzker said.
Here is a breakdown of the phases:
The state has been broken down into four different regions, based on combinations of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 11 Emergency Medical regions, each one able to move through the phases at their own will if they pass all the requirements.
Phase 1: Rapid Spreading
In this phase, the rate of the infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted in the hospital are high or rapidly increasing. Only essential businesses remain open and there are strict stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines put into place.
Phase 2: Flattening
During phase 2, the rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds should have increased, but at a slower rate, moving toward a flat and even downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Residents can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities, being directed to wearing a mask when outside. This is the phase Illinois is in now.
Phase 3: Recovery
In phase 3, the rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds should be stable and declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons are allowed to reopen to the public capacity with other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer. Citizens will still have to wear face masks and practice social distancing. Within the next few weeks, if requirements are met, the earliest regions can move to this phase is May 29th.
Phase 4: Revitalization
When regions reach phase 4, they would need to see a continued decline in the COVID-19 positivity rate and hospitalizations while maintaining surge capacity. All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars can reopen, travel resumes, and child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face masks will still be required.
Phase 5: Illinois Restored
A vaccine or highly effective treatment will have to be widely available, or elimination of any new cases over a sustained period. The economy would have to fully reopen with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals, and large events are permitted and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open.
Here’s a closer look at the full plan.
By Amaris Edwards, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks