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Southern Illinois, including Metro East, on track for some rules to lift May 29, governor says

Southern Illinois, including Metro East, on track for some rules to lift May 29, governor says

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ILLINOIS — Southern Illinois, including the Metro East, is on track for some restrictions to be lifted by around May 29, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a Monday news briefing. 

The governor has divided the state into four regions that must meet health metrics to move through a five-stage reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic. The next phase could begin as early as May 29 and will include reopening manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons to the public with capacity limits and safety precautions in place. All gatherings of 10 or fewer people will also be allowed. 

All regions except the Chicago area are on track to enter that phase by May 29, though trends will need to continue through most of the month, Pritzker announced Monday. Chicago has not met the requirement that fewer than 20% of COVID-19 tests administered are positive. Chicago tests positive at a 22.3% rate. 

In the Southern Illinois region, about 10.5% of tests have been positive, according to the governor's office. 

Southern Illinois has also so far met the requirement that hospitalizations remain stable or decrease over 28 days, with COVID-19 hospitalizations decreasing by 54.3% since May 1. 

All regions have met the requirement that there be at least 14% availability of hospital beds, intensive care unit beds and ventilators.

In Southern Illinois, about 46% of hospital beds, 28% of intensive care unit beds and 81% of ventilators were available, according to Pritzker's office Monday. 

Illinois health officials also on Monday announced 1,266 new cases Monday and 54 additional COVID-19 deaths. That brought the state total to 79,007 confirmed cases and 3,459 deaths since the start of the outbreak.  

Among cases in the state, an aide to Gov. Pritzker tested positive over the weekend, prompting the governor and all senior administration officials to work from home for an undetermined amount of time. 

Pritzker has tested negative twice, with the last test administered Sunday, according to his office. All other senior staff members also tested negative.

The employee showed no symptoms and was close to Pritzker, according to the office.

Pritzker said during a virtual news briefing from his Chicago home Monday that he would not identify the staff member. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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