Gov. Pritzker says he’s rooting for Metro East as its COVID-19 positivity rate falls

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Gov. J.B. Pritzker thanked the medical professionals, Illinois National Guard, and all the unsung heroes that have helped the state become a leader in COVID testing.

Gov. Pritzker says the state reached three positive milestones and is not only the number one testing state in the Midwest but is tied for third nationally.

The major milestones include:

  • 74,000 tests processed in a one-day period
  • 52,000 tests processed in a day, tied third nationally behind California and New York
  • 5 million tests processed since the onset of the pandemic

Those more than 5 million tests have resulted in 275,735 positive COVID cases and 8,457 deaths in the state.

Gov. Pritzker said the state has worked hard to make testing accessible.

“For families businesses, schools and churches, that means there is a measure of safety here that doesn’t exist most other states,” said Pritzker.

Gov. Pritzker touted the work of those involved in growing the testing program.

He explained in March, Illinois’ three state health labs could only perform a few hundred tests a day. By May, the statewide number was up to 20,000 tests per day. The state then added more labs to get to an average of more than 50,000 tests per day.

The governor also says the state’s increased capability has allowed Illinois to pioneer a flexible outbreak response through its mobile testing teams. The teams can be moved anywhere on any given day to places like meatpacking plants, nursing homes, less able to access traditional clinics.

Gov. Pritzker said mobile testing units are also helping in places with a high level of community spread like the Metro East.

Gov. Pritzker says things are starting to get better in that region.

“The Metro East is coming down in its positivity rate. We are rooting for them,” said Gov. Pritzker. “I am prayerful and hopeful that they are getting there and we can remove the mitigations on them.”

According to the Illinois Regional COVID-19 metrics, the 7-day rolling positivity rate for Region 4 is 7.3%. Region 4 includes the Metro East.

The state put new COVID-19 restrictions in place for Region 4 in the beginning of the month. On Sept. 9, the positivity rate was at 9.8%.

An official with the St. Clair County Health Department, one of the counties in Region 4, says the department has been rigid about its contact tracing efforts and getting residents to wear masks.

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