SPRINGFIELD — The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate ticked down slightly on Tuesday to 8.5%, marking nearly a month that the rate has stayed below 10%.
The rolling seven-day average statewide case positivity rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point, from 8.6% the day before. The rate has remained below 10% since Dec. 8, and well below second-wave highs of 13.2% in mid-November.
The University of Illinois has completed a critical step toward obtaining federal approval for its saliva-based COVID-19 test, but some lawmakers worry it’s taking too long to help other state colleges, school districts and companies struggling to operate amid the pandemic.
On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,839 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus, among 991,719 total cases and more than 13.6 million tests since the pandemic began.
The COVID-19 death toll has reached 16,959, including 126 additional deaths reported Tuesday.
In Coles County, health officials reported 29 new positive cases, bringing the county's total to 4,555.
As of Tuesday, only four of the state’s 11 mitigation regions had not met the criteria Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration provided to return to Tier 2 mitigations, from Tier 3. Among those is Region 6, which includes Coles and surrounding counties.
Jordan Abudayyeh, the governor’s spokeswoman, said in an email Monday that the administration is “in a pause in mitigation moves to see what impact holiday gatherings have on the data.”
The entire state came under the more restrictive Tier 3 public health measures on Nov. 30 in an effort to slow the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Under Tier 3, businesses — such as fitness centers and hotels — must follow 25% capacity limits, and bars and restaurants are closed to indoor service. Tier 2 mitigations also impose a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants.
In addition, Tier 3 mitigations shut down casinos, gaming terminals, theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers, among other indoor recreation places.
The criteria for moving to Tier 2 requires a test positivity rate less than 12% for three consecutive days, greater than 20% intensive care unit and medical or surgical bed availability for three consecutive days, and a decline in the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital in at least 7 out of the last 10 days.