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Coronavirus

Illinois remains well short of contact tracing requirements for Phase 4

IDPH reports 86 coronavirus deaths, 1,622 confirmed cases Friday

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during his daily coronavirus news conference at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Friday, April 17, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during his daily coronavirus news conference at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Friday, April 17, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

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As Illinois moved into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan Friday, public health departments across the state are already looking at what needs to be done to move into Phase 4 next month.

According to the plan, in order for a region to move into Phase 4, it needs “contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis for more than 90% of cases” in the region.

Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday that only about 30% of exposed contacts are being reached right now. The state is working to vastly increase its contact tracing workforce.

“We’re trying to get there,” Pritzker said. “It’s a large endeavor. We have 97 local health departments that we’re coordinating with. They’re doing a terrific job, by the way. More than 80 of them are already active in helping us build up this contact tracing capability.”

Pritzker said many health departments received grants and will be hiring contact tracers within the next two weeks.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike warned that scammers could pose as contact tracers. Ezike said contact tracers will never ask for personal information such as social security, bank account or credit card numbers.

If a contact tracer does call or text, the tracer will be offering services, not asking for personal information.

“You might think, 'Is this a hoax, is this spam?' if you got this text or this call, but it’s very important that you talk with this person who reaches out to you, the contact tracer,” Ezike said.

An end to daily press briefings: Pritzker will no longer be giving a daily COVID-19 press briefing, he said Friday. He gave his first update 82 days ago, and has provided one nearly every day since. IDPH will still release COVID-19 data each day and update the Restore Illinois metrics, but the televised updates will happen “only on an as needed basis.”

“I’ll continue to make myself available to the press as often as possible and, of course, COVID-19 questions are welcome at briefings, no matter the topic at hand,” Pritzker said.

Friday update: As Illinois moved into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan on Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 86 more deaths and 1,622 more confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The state has a seven-day rolling positivity rate of 8%. Illinois has now seen 117,455 cases of the virus and 5,270 people have died since the pandemic began. A total of 851,762 people have been tested.

As of late Thursday night, Illinois had 3,599 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Of those, 980 were in the ICU and 593 were on ventilators.

Regional update: As of Friday, the Northeast region (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, McHenry, Lake and Will counties) reported a positivity rate average of 14.1%. The region reported an average of 28.4% of medical/surgical beds available, 32.3% of ICU beds available and 67.8% of ventilators available.

The North Central region (Bureau, DeKalb, La Salle, Lee, Ogle, Whiteside, Carroll, Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, Putnam and Jo Daviess counties) reported a positivity rate rolling average of 6.7% on Thursday. On average, the region has enough medical/surgical beds to accommodate a 38.6% surge in COVID-19 cases. The region reported that 43.4% of ICU beds are available and 60.8% of ventilators are available.

The Central region reported an average positivity rate of 2.6%. On average, there was an availability of 47.8% of medical/surgical beds, 51.2% of ICU beds and 75.1% of ventilators.

The Southern region had an average positivity rate of 4.9%. On average, there was an availability of 46.5% of medical/surgical beds, 40.5% of ICU beds and 81.3% of ventilators.

Threshold to move into Phase 4: In order to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, each of the state's health regions must ensure that testing is available in the region regardless of symptoms or risk factors.

Testing also needed to be made available to the residents and staff of congregate living facilities, according to the plan. A system for COVID-19 contact tracing and monitoring must be in place and able to respond 24 hours after diagnosis.

In addition to these requirements, each region must report an average positivity rate of 20% or lower, increasing no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period.

Regions also must report no overall increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19 for a period of 28 days, meaning hospitalizations must decrease or remain stable.

Finally, each region must prove available surge capacity of at least 14% of ICU beds, medical/surgical beds and ventilators.

Contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis for more than 90% of cases in region must be met in order to advance to Phase 4.

Newly reported deaths:

- Boone County: 1 female 70s

- Coles County: 1 female 60s

- Cook County: 1 male 30s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 6 females 60s, 5 males 60s, 8 females 70s, 8 males 70s, 5 females 80s, 8 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 4 males 90s

- DuPage County: 1 female 30s, 1 male 30s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s

- Kane County: 1 female 70s, 2 males 80s

- Lake County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s

- Madison County: 1 male 50s 

- McDonough County: 1 male 70s

- McHenry County: 1 female 70s

- Ogle County: 1 female 50s

- Rock Island County: 1 male 60s

- Sangamon County: 1 male 50s

- St. Clair County: 2 females 90s

- Will County: 1 male 60s

- Winnebago County: 1 male 60s

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