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Metro East could see looser COVID-19 restrictions

The region's positivity rate dropped to a new low of 6.3% Wednesday morning

CHICAGO — The Metro East region could see a return to looser mitigations as early as Friday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said during his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday.

Pritzker said the Metro East, which is Region 4, has had heightened restrictions since late August.

After falling from a peak seven-day average positivity rate of more than 10%, the Metro East then leveled off between an average of 7% and 8% for several weeks.

The region dropped to a new low of 6.3% Wednesday morning.

“That’s enormous progress,” Pritzker said during the briefing.

He said if the region sustains an average below the 6.5% threshold, it could see a return to the looser restrictions, enacted in most of the state, as soon as Friday.

Under the current mitigation requirements, Metro East bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m. and they cannot serve customers indoors. Tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and dancing indoors is banned.

Meetings, events and gatherings are limited to 25% capacity.

On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,630 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 42 additional deaths.

IDPH reported a total of 307,641 cases and 8,878 deaths in 102 counties. The department also reported 6,033,289 total tests have been conducted in the state.

Watch the full press conference below: