Taking a Step Back: Lake and McHenry Counties Enter COVID-19 Mitigation

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. – Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in North Suburban Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, beginning 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. 

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As of Oct. 25, the region’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 8.4%. Region 9 has seen a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. See the Local Newsreader’s daily COVID-19 tally for suburban Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich and Mundelein, Ill. here.

On Oct. 13, the Lake County Board extended a state of emergency declaration through Nov. 10. Mobile testing will be available locally through Nov. 25.

What is Mitigation?
Mitigation measures are strategies, such as restrictions on certain activities, put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. Region 9 restrictions will remain in effect until the region’s positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% over a 3-day period.

Mitigation measures taking effect October 31 in Region 9 include the following: 

Bars 

Restaurants and bars may not have dining indoors after Oct. 31.
  • No indoor service 
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside 
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)  
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart  
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • No dancing or standing indoors 
  • Reservations required for each party 
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 

Restaurants 

  • No indoor dining or bar service 
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m. 
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart 
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • Reservations required for each party  
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity 
  • No party buses 
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable 

Mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places. Residents are encouraged to limit their exposure by voting early, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and watching their distance from others while voting.

“The rate of new infections is surging in our region—a steeper curve than we saw in the spring,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department. “We successfully flattened the curve then, and we can do it again. Our success depends on all businesses and residents doing their part, participating with contact tracing if you are called, and being extremely cautious to eliminate chances for this virus to spread. Please do not let your guard down in social settings, even around close friends and family who don’t live in your home.”

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 9 in the coming days to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place.

“We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and keep the region informed about community transmission,” said Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health.  “If we work together, we could avoid further mitigations and potentially see a return to Phase 4 restrictions in the next two weeks. But that’s a goal that can only be achieved by following those preventative measures we’ve stressed for the past several months and working with your local health department to complete their case investigations.”

Additional Information

Everyone should continue to follow the 3 Ws to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Watch your distance

For trusted information on the COVID-19 pandemic from reputable state and federal sources, visit the State of IllinoisIllinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.

By Margo Pelak

Margo Pelak is founder and managing editor of the Local Newsreader, which covers hyper-local news in Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich and Mundelein. She resides in Hawthorn Woods with her husband Dennis and two wild beasts named Ladybug and Juney P.

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