Number of active cases is staying low

Despite another COVID-19 related death being reported last week, Randolph County On Monday was at the lowest amount of active cases since late June.

On Friday, March 19, Health Department Administrator Angela Oathout reported the county’s 83rd COVID related death. Prior to that, the last death had been reported around a month ago on Feb. 17.

Oathout noted in her report on March 22 that there were only 8 active cases in the county, with one individual hospitalized. However, there were two more cases reported on March 23, bringing the number of active cases back up to 10. The county has had a total of 4,031 confirmed positive cases.

In Monroe County, Health Department Administrator John Wagner on March 23 reported that they were up to a total of 4,192 confirmed positive cases and two individuals hospitalized. As of March 22, there were only 68 active cases.

As things are starting to look better, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on March 18 announced a new reopening plan for the state, using a “Bridge Phase” between Phases 4 and 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan.

To enter the Bridge Phase, the entire state must reach a 70 percent first dose vaccination rate for residents age 65 and older. Then, to advance to Phase 5, the state must reach a 50 percent vaccination rate for all residents age 16 and older.

In the Bridge Phase, higher capacity limits will be allowed at places like museums, zoos and spectator events. Social events will be able to allow 250 people indoors or 500 outdoors. Currently these are limited to 50 people. Ticketed recreation events will be allowed to hold 60 percent of the facility’s capacity. Restaurants and bars would be able to increase capacity from 25 percent to 30 percent, with outdoor capacity up to 50 percent for standing areas. For businesses, offices, retail stores and fitness centers, capacity will increase from 50 percent to 60 percent.

For more COVID-19 updates, please see this week’s print edition.