SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Rising COVID-19 numbers across Illinois have state leaders pausing plans to move forward with reopening efforts.
Governor JB Pritzker said there has been a rise in both new cases and hospitalizations generally speaking statewide. Those two troubling metrics are raising red flags when it comes to Illinois moving on to what’s called the Bridge Phase before a full reopening.
Figures show that the number of people hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 has gone up virtually every day since hitting a one-year low on March 12. There were nearly 1,400 people in hospital beds across Illinois Monday night. That’s the most since late February.
The governor’s health team said more young people are being hospitalized as the older population continues to get vaccinated. A statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health said that as long as hospital admissions increase, the state will not advance to the Bridge Phase and into a full reopening.
The Bridge Phase is meant to bridge the gap between current COVID mitigations and a full reopening. Pritzker hoped to reach the Bridge Phase by early April with a full reopening in May, but the rise in COVID cases is causing real concern for that timeline.
Pritzker and health officials are encouraging people to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated to try and bring COVID transmission down so Illinois can move forward.