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Metro East could face tighter restrictions, including closing some public venues, amid virus rebound

Metro East could face tighter restrictions, including closing some public venues, amid virus rebound

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker again warned on Wednesday that if the Metro East does not rein in its coronavirus outbreak, it may soon see stricter protections reimposed, such as the full closure of bars or other public venues.

Pritzker said that virus trends are going in different directions in the state’s 11 regions — “the majority of which are the wrong direction.” Although the nation has seen its rate of positive tests decline over the past four weeks, Illinois’ has climbed.

That leaves state public health officials working to tailor restrictions to each region’s hot spots.

“Now we’re trying a more scalpel-like approach,” Pritzker said on Wednesday.

Illinois announced Sunday that the Metro East’s recent percentages of positive tests had risen above 8% for three days in a row, triggering 11 p.m. bar and restaurant curfews — the first area in the state to see such measures restored.

On Wednesday, the state reported that the region’s positive test rate, after a steady rise for the past few days, had grown to 9.5%.

St. Clair, Madison and Monroe counties reported 141 new cases, and 8,691 cases in total.

Across the Mississippi River, St. Louis trend lines remain at “pretty stubborn numbers,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said Wednesday.

She also said that recent transmission seems more concentrated between family members and neighbors, instead of at identifiable “clusters” linked to certain public spaces in the city.

There are similar signs elsewhere in Missouri.

“We’re seeing a lot of household contacts right now,” said Maria Davis, the public information officer for the Cape Girardeau County Health Department. Earlier in the pandemic, she said that was often the case at workplaces, but that a local mask order has reduced them.

Across the St. Louis region, the seven-day average of new daily hospital admissions tied to the virus remained unchanged, at 40 — matching the threshold that, if exceeded, cannot be sustained by the health care system, according to area medical leaders.

Missouri reported 1,258 new cases, for a total of 70,675. St. Louis tallied 35, or 5,728 in total. St. Louis County listed 126, totaling 17,094.

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