by Tianbin Chen
Recently, one announcement that restore Illinois Region 6 is at risk of going back to Phase three was opposed by the leaders around the champaign county. Led by Deborah Frank Feinen, Mayor of City of Champaign and Diane Wolfe Marlin, Mayor of City of Urbana, the letter says returning to Phase three restrictions is “troubling and disappointing for everyone in our community.”
Champaign county is right at the heart of Region 6, surrounded by Douglas county and Effingham county. Region 6 was currently at Phase four of restoration. Going back to Phase three means that the State can only allow gathering 10 people or under, no more dining-in, and education would become fully remote. Currently in Phase 4, gathering of 50 or less people, in-person education and outdoor recreation are permitted.
The Illinois department of Public Health (IDPH) has made specific recommendations that under what conditions regions could go back to Phase three. Factors could be a sustained rise in positivity rate, a sustained increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness, a reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities and significant outbreak in the region that threatens the health of the region.
Leaders around the Champaign county believe that returning to Phase three would hurt local businesses and citizens’ living standards. They also mentioned that the huge effort Champaign county has made was beyond the requirements of IDPH. Mayors claim that Champaign county has created a measurable safety for residents and there is no need for Champaign county going back to Phase 3.
The letter says that “Champaign county stands out in our state and in our nation as an exemplar.” Based on data that the Illinois department of Public Health has collected, in Region 6, there is an upward trend of test positivity rate besides the UIUC ‘s numbers. However, out of two hundred and fifty-one positive cases, only 24 cases were from the Champaign county as of October 11th. The Region 6’s seven days positive rate was 2.2 percent, while the UIUC was as low as 0.2 percent. The data gives big support to the belief why Champaign county should be a separated consideration in Region 6.