East St. Louis Metro Area Given Increased COVID-19 Restrictions; What Does This Mean For Freeport?

Caution is necessary to avoid seeing a return to lockdown-like restrictions.

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A region of 7 counties in southern Illinois, including the East St. Louis metro area, will be put under increased restrictions after surging COVID-19 case numbers. The new restrictions will take effect on Tuesday, August 18th.

This region is the first portion of Illinois to see COVID restrictions re-tightened after Illinois opened many parts of the economy in late May.

“Region 4 is the first of the 11 regions to reach resurgence criteria, but we hope it will be the last,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngoze Ezike said in a press release.

For 14 days restaurants and bars will be ordered to close by 11pm and gatherings will be limited to 25 people, among other restrictions.

The IDPH press release said that if the situation does not improve during the 14-day period, indoor dining may be shut down again. 

What does this mean for Freeport?

Of course, in the short-term this does not mean anything for Freeport and the region – northwest Illinois was not included in this round of restrictions. 

But aside from foregoing day trips to the St. Louis metropolitan area, residents of northwest Illinois should be mindful of future increases in COVID cases close to home.

Freeport and Stephenson County are grouped with 8 other counties to make up Region 1, one of the 11 regions created by the Pritzker Administration’s COVID response plan.

Region 1 has had the lowest amount of positivity rate increases of any of the 11 regions in Illinois. The region has also seen COVID hospitalizations decrease in the last 7 days of data available on the IDPH website. 

However, this does not mean that caution is not needed. 

Two nearby counties, Jo Daviess and Winnebago, have moved on and off of the IDPH’s warning list in recent weeks.

Region 9 and Region 2, the counties which border our region to the east and south respectively, have each seen 7 days of positivity rate increases in the last ten days. 

The IDPH will continue to monitor health trends across the state. If any announcements are made about northwest Illinois, The Voice will cover them.

Freeporters should continue to follow CDC guidelines, which include mask wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing when leaving the house is necessary.