March 18, 2021 Press Release from the Governor's Office details a metrics-based pathway for the full reopening of Illinois, and also announces that all Illinois residents 16 years and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12th.
The newly announced metrics offer Illinois a bridge between the current Phase 4 restrictions and the 'new normal' operations of Phase 5. This 'Bridge Phase' will serve as a transition period with higher capacity limits and increased business operations, without prematurely embracing a reckless reopening before the majority of Illinois residents are vaccinated.
The key takeaways from the release are provided below.
To advance into the Bridge Phase, the entire state must reach a 70% first dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and over, maintain a 20% or lower ICU bed availability rate and hold steady on COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, mortality rate, and case rate over a 28-day monitoring period. To advance to Phase 5, the state must reach a 50% vaccination rate for residents age 16 and over and meet the same metrics and rates required to enter the transition phase, over an additional 28-day period.
To prevent a large increase in new COVID-19 cases, Illinois will revert back to an earlier phase if over the course of 10 days the state experiences an increasing trend in COVID-19 and COVID-like illness hospital admissions, a decrease in ICU bed availability, an increase in the mortality rate, and an increasing case rate.
In an update to current Phase 4 mitigations and the capacity limits of the bridge to Phase 5, individuals with proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) 1-3 days prior to an event or outing do not count against capacity limits. The mitigation plan announced today also includes additional adjustments to current Phase 4 mitigations, made in coordination with business leaders and health experts, to ensure mitigations reflect the latest science and are consistent across industries.
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As a result of the increased allocation of vaccine doses from the federal government, all Illinois residents will be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning April 12th. At that date, every jurisdiction that receives vaccine from the State of Illinois’ allocation will be instructed to move to widespread eligibility.