Pritzker Defends Coronavirus Data Used To Ban Indoor Dining

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker defended the metrics used to guide his regional COVID-19 resurgence mitigation plan, which have triggered restrictions on indoor service at restaurants and bars across most of the state.

Coronavirus positivity rates in all but one region of Illinois are above the 8 percent fail-safe threshold that leads to increased restrictions under the governor’s Restore Illinois plan and executive orders.

“Let’s be clear,” Pritzker said. “Well-meaning and reasonable people can have fair disagreements about how and where to draw lines and connect dots, but when every single metric in every single corner of our state is trending poorly, we have to take meaningful action to keep our people safe”

In addition to a positivity rate that has risen by 3.4 percentage points since Oct. 1, the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 rose by 73 percent, while the number of coronavirus patients in the state’s intensive care units is up by 61 percent this month, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data Pritzker shared at a briefing Thursday in Chicago.

Of the two regions where restrictions have yet to be imposed: Region 6, the Champaign EMS region, is on track to see restrictions announced Friday, having already averaged two days above the 8 percent mark. And Region 2, the Peoria EMS region, saw its positivity rate rise to 7.9 percent on the most recent day for which data was available.

The restrictions can also be triggered by a period of seven out of 10 days with both increasing positivity rates and an increasing rounded rolling average number of new daily hospitalizations of people with coronavirus symptoms. That led to the first tier of mitigations in suburban Cook County and Chicago before the regions also triggered restrictions by spending three days above the 8-percent mark.

“Bars and restaurants are spreading locations,” Pritzker said. “We need to clamp down because we need to bring the numbers down. They’re headed in the wrong direction, and unfortunately bars and restaurants are the location — no fault of the people who own them or operate them or even people who visit them — but it is true that those are places where there is a higher transmission likelihood than other locations.”

Tiered mitigations restricting indoor dining and limiting the size of gatherings have been imposed on nine of the state’s 11 regions. Region 3, the Springfield emergency medical services region, Thursday became the latest to trigger the additional measures. One region — Region 1 in Northwest Illinois — has advanced to the second tier of mitigations. “Tier 2” includes a 10-person gathering size limit and a six-person limit at outdoor tables.

Pritzker was asked whether the first two tiers of limitations that be enough to curb the spread.

“I don’t know. I really would like to know the answer to that. This virus is unknowable, seemingly,” he said. “We didn’t know when we put the stay-at-home order back in March, we didn’t know if that was enough. We

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Governor bans indoor dining in Chicago as virus cases surge

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Surging COVID-19 cases in Chicago prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday to ban indoor dining and bar services and limit the number of people gathering in one place.

The rules taking effect Friday will force diners and bar patrons outdoors and shut down service at 11 p.m. No more than 25 people may gather at one time, or fewer if that number would exceed 25% of room capacity.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us, because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring,” Pritzker said, referring to the start of the pandemic, when health care resources were pushed to the limit because of the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases.


Chicago, which comprises Region 11 of the state’s 11 COVID-19 monitoring regions, joins six other regions subject to what the Pritzker administration calls “resurgence mitigations.” A day earlier, Pritzker imposed the restrictions on Region 10, Cook County outside of Chicago and Lake County to the north.

After a summer of declining case numbers — Illinois fared better than many other states, particularly in the South and West — they began climbing again in August and jumped precipitously this month. There were 4,000 new infections and 46 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing total cases to 382,985 with 9,568 deaths.

There were 2,758 hospitalized, an 86% increase from a month ago, and both intensive care patients at 595 and the 241 on ventilators represented increases in the 70% range.

Other regions which hit the mitigation bar did so when positive rates of COVD-19 test results topped 8% for three consecutive days. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state public health director, said the latest additions, Cook County on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday, have seen the troubling rise in numbers of sick people requiring inpatient treatment as well as a jump in positive test results.

“Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems,” Ezike said.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, predicted the action taken by the governor, pointing out that while COVID-19 is not as prevalent in Chicago as during the pandemic’s early days in March, the number of confirmed cases is doubling every nine days.

“COVID is widespread here in Chicago, and we need you to double down on the things that you know work,” Arwady said. “Please as much as you can, if there are interactions you’re having that are not essential, back off on those.”

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Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago.

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Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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No Indoor Dining In Northbrook Under New Coronavirus Restrictions

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 are already in place in Regions 7 and 8, including DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties.

According to data from 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.

(Cook County Department of Public Health)
(Cook County Department of Public Health)

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:

Bars/Restaurants

  • 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

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No Indoor Dining, Drinking In Kane-DuPage Amid Coronavirus Surge

KANE COUNTY, IL — Restaurants and bars in Kane and DuPage counties will be forced to suspend indoor service starting Friday after a surge in coronavirus cases in the region over the past few weeks.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday that Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties) and Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) will face enhanced coronavirus restrictions after positivity rates there surpassed 8 percent for three consecutive days.

Restrictions Near As Positivity Rate Tops 8% In Kane-DuPage

Those restrictions include a ban on indoor service at restaurants and bars, as well as a 25-person limit on any gatherings in those four counties, Pritzker said.

Restrictions will be lifted when the region records positivity rates under 6.5 percent for three days in a row, while public health officials will add more restrictions if the regional positivity rate remains above 8 percent for 14 days in a row.

Kane County Back On Watch List As Positivity Rate Tops 11%

Pritzker said his administration will give priority consideration to businesses in regions facing new restrictions through its $220 million Business Interruption Grants program.

“The new wave of the virus is disrupting small businesses in these regions,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker urged residents to wear masks, wash their hands and keep their distance as flu season starts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Late-Night Liquor Ban Lifted Despite Surge In Coronavirus Cases

“As cold weather approaches and flu season is upon us, we’re going to see the rippling effects of these current unfortunate trends,” Pritzker said, warning that “the massive surge of cases in our neighboring states will continue to have a spillover effect.”

“There is no easy fix for the effects of this virus on our economy and on our public health.” Pritzker continued. “But we can, and we will, manage through this.”

Check back to Patch.com for updates to this developing story.

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This article originally appeared on the Aurora Patch

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Make, give, eat: Why dumplings are the medicine we need during a pandemic – Food and Dining – Austin American-Statesman

Every culture has a dumpling, and I want them all.

Pot stickers and pierogi, pasties and samosas, empanadas and ravioli. These are just a few of the hand pies and filled dumplings that people around the world reach for at family get-togethers, annual celebrations and weekday lunches.

The dumplings I knew as a kid weren’t really dumplings. Those thick, hand-cut noodles dropped into chicken stew dumplings are still a nostalgic comfort food, but those aren’t the dumplings that currently fill my freezer.

I’ve always tried to keep a little stash of Asian, Italian, Argentinean and Eastern European dumplings for quick dinners, but this year, that stash has grown into a stockpile. It must have something to do with the anxieties and uncertainties of the pandemic — plus all this time at home to cook — that have led to a larger-than-usual supply of dumplings that I can cook for a quick lunch or dinner.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been focused on making hundreds of Asian dumplings to give away to neighbors and friends, some of whom have welcomed babies during this year of the coronavirus. Reactions are almost identical each time I hand someone a bag, usually filled with some kind of frozen pork-and-scallion stuffed pot stickers: raised eyebrows, open mouth and some exclamation along the lines of “Oh, I love dumplings!”

During the past six months, I’ve written about making empanadas, pierogi and ravioli, but it wasn’t until this month’s one-person pot sticker parties that I started to wonder why I’ve been so drawn to dumplings this year.

So I reached out to C.K. Chin, the community-building restaurateur behind Wu Chow and Swift’s Attic. His downtown Chinese restaurant is now selling frozen dumplings by the dozens, and I knew Chin would help me sort out what it is about these little pockets of joy that makes them so magical.

Unlike lasagna, brisket or a big pot of soup, which are also definitely comfort foods, dumplings aren’t necessarily meant to feed a crowd — although they certainly can. Dumplings usually start the other way, with a group of people gathered around a table, with everyone putting their labor together to make something that can be divided and shared among them.

Once you’ve made all those dumplings — no matter what kind — you can store them in a freezer to feed your future self. Dumplings embody a certain kind of optimism, Chin says.

“In Asian cultures, dumplings carry deep symbolism. They are treated with a lot of reverence and good luck because they are shaped like gold ingots. Even if you don’t believe the mythos of it, it becomes a tradition in your house,” he says.

With humble origins, dumplings don’t need much to shine. In Asian cultures, the dough is usually made with flour, water and salt, and in the right hands, those ingredients can transform into an almost transparent skin that maintains a slightly chewy texture when boiled or fried. “It takes out-of-the-box thinking to make

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