NORTHBROOK, IL — Indoor dining at Northbrook restaurants will be forbidden starting Wednesday, as state public health officials announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. All service inside bars and restaurants in suburban Cook County will be off-limits, all outdoor eating or drinking has to stop by 11 p.m. and gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 25 people.
It marks the first time the additional mitigation measures will be applied to Arlington Heights and the rest of the Cook County suburbs, although similar restrictions arein place in Regions 7 and 8, including DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties.
According tofrom the Cook County Department of Public Health, the average number of new confirmed cases rose by 75.9 percent from Oct. 7 through Wednesday, the most recent day where data is available, compared to the prior two weeks.
As of Monday, there have been 742 confirmed coronavirus-related cases in Arlington Heights, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health with 56 new cases last week. That marks an 119 percent increase in confirmed cases over the last 14 days.
In suburban Cook County overall, the positivity rate and the rate of hospital admissions has been rising sharply. As of Thursday, the most recent day when data is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rounded rolling average of daily new hospital admissions of people with symptoms of COVID-19 had risen to 49 — more than doubling since the start of October.
“We are seeing test positivity across the state increase, but for Region 10, Suburban Cook County, we are also seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations for COVID-like illness,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement announcing the new restrictions. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we were concerned about overwhelming our hospitals, and we must take action now to prevent that possibility.”
RELATED: 1 Coronavirus Death, 61 New Cases Since Last Week In Northbrook
With Monday’s announcement of new measures in suburban Cook County, Region 10, and the re-imposition of restrictions on the Metro East region, Region 4, more than half of the state’s 11 COVID-19 resurgence mitigation regions will be under some form of additional resurgence mitigation.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 28, the following rules take effect in Northbrook and other Cook County suburbs:
No indoor service
All outside service closes at 11:00 p.m.
All patrons should be seated at tables outside
No ordering, seating, or congregating at bars — bar stools should be removed
Tables should be 6 feet apart
No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
No dancing or standing indoors
Reservations required for each party
No seating of multiple parties at one table
Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings
Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
No party buses
Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable
RELATED: Coronavirus Mitigations In Region 7, 8 Start Friday
In Region 10, suburban Cook County, the coronavirus positivity rate has risen on eight of the previous 10 days but had yet to reach the 8 percent threshold, sitting at 7.7 percent as of Thursday.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the Metro East region’s new mitigation measures were triggered when its positivity rate again rose above the 8 percent mark, while suburban Cook County’s was set off by a combination of 10 days of rapidly rising hospitalization rates and positivity increases.
“Over the weekend, two more regions — Region 4, Metro East, as well as Region 10, Suburban Cook County — triggered our metrics for additional mitigations, meaning that, starting Wednesday, 6 of our 11 regions will be operating under our resurgence framework,” Pritzker said.
“Much like the four areas already operating under Tier One or Tier Two of the plan — Northwestern Illinois, Southern Illinois, and Will, Kankakee, DuPage and Kane Counties — Region 4 triggered our 8 percent positivity average threshold, the second time it has done so since mid-summer,” the governor said. “Region 10, on the other hand, is the first region in Illinois to earn additional mitigations not because of its positivity rate alone, but because its positivity rate and its COVID-related hospitalizations have both seen a sustained increase over the last 10 days.”
RELATED: Coronavirus Hospitalizations Hits Record High In Suburban Cook County
In order to relax the restrictions in Region 10, the positivity rate must average less than or equal to 6.5 percent for three days, the rounded average of hospital admissions must decrease over a three-day period and the rolling averages of hospital bed availability must remain above 20 percent.
If the positivity rate continued to rise and hospital admissions continue to increase for seven days out of a 10-day period, stricter mitigations — “Tier Two” measures such as are currently in place in the Rockford region — will be imposed, according to public health officials.
Ezike said hospitals must deal with rising coronavirus admissions at the same time as seasonal influenza. She urged members of the public to get a flu shot, wash their hands, wear a mask and keep their distance.
“We are entering flu season and our hospitals are facing both COVID-19 and flu admissions. The same things that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will help prevent the spread of flu.”
This article originally appeared on the Northbrook Patch