CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois will move into the Bridge Phase of reopening on May 14 and could fully reopen as soon as June 11, Governor JB Pritzker announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
The update comes as Illinois public health officials reported 1,778 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 40 related deaths Thursday.
In a statement, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city will follow suit and move to the city's Bridge Phase on May 14, which broadly follows the same guidelines.
Governor Pritzker said the number of new cases and hospitalizations has leveled off, enabling the move into a less restrictive tier of reopening.
"We believe that we will look good in terms of getting to the bridge, and again fingers and toes crossed. We will also go on to the final phase by, you know, four weeks later," said Dr. Ezike.
The move into the Bridge Phase will allow for greater capacity limits at bars and restaurants as well as events such as weddings and festivals.
As part of the Bridge Phase, officers, personal care, retail, museums, theaters, health and fitness classes and amusement parks can operate at 60% capacity. Festivals and general admission outdoor events can have up to 30 people per 1,000 square feet. For social events, including wedding, 250 people are allowed inside and 500 outside.
For a full list of Bridge Phase metrics, visit the state website.
Minor league baseball game capacity will be doubled, which is exciting news for the Kane County Cougars. Their spring training started Thursday, and their first game is May 18.
"It gives us gives us the opportunity You know, to get more people in here to enjoy the ball game and I think there's a lot of people out there just dying to come to a ball game for sure after what's going on in the past year," said Curtis Huang, the team's general manager.
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Governor Pritzker said Illinois will move into Phase 5, which removes nearly all COVID restrictions, as soon as June 11, barring a resurgence. All health metric
"Whenever we reach Phase 5, we will continue to follow CDC guidelines on masking to keep this pandemic at bay," Pritzker said.
The governor also announced a shift in vaccination strategy Thursday, with vaccines being given to more doctor offices. Pritzker said more than 1,000 offices have signed up to give vaccinations and pediatric doctors are also signing up for when vaccines will be available for children.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, nearly 80 percent of those 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine while just over 55 percent of those 16 and older have gotten at least one shot as well. Both statistics top the benchmarks the governor set back in March.
This comes as Chicago goes full steam ahead with the goal to fully re-open the city come July 4.
Mayor Lightfoot is bringing back the Chicago Auto Show and several arts and entertainment events for the summer.
There have been 1,348,176 total COVID cases, including 22,136 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 96,296 specimens for a total of 23,103,484since the pandemic began.
The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from April 29-May 5, is 3.8%.
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As of Wednesday night, 2,055 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 483 patients were in the ICU and 243 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
A total of 9,646,432 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday night. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 70,063 doses. There were 99,599 doses reported administered in Illinois Wednesday.
Cook County Health is expanding hours at several mass vaccination locations. Starting May 11, the following five sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday:
Matteson, 4647 Promenade Way (Pfizer)
River Grove- Triton College, 2000 5th Avenue (Pfizer)
South Holland- South Suburban College, 15800 State Street (Pfizer)
Des Plaines, 1155 E Oakton Street (Pfizer)
Forest Park, 7630 West Roosevelt Road (Pfizer)
The deaths reported Thursday include:
-Adams County: 1 male 70s
-Cook County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 3 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
-DuPage County: 1 male 70s
-Franklin County: 1 female 70s
-Fulton County: 1 female 60s
-Grundy County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 90s
-Kane County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
-Kankakee County: 1 male 50s
-Lake County: 1 female 60s
-LaSalle County: 1 male 60s
-Macon County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s
-McLean County: 1male 30s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
-Morgan County: 1 male 60s
-Peoria County: 1 female 70s
-Perry County: 1 male 50s
-Pike County: 1 male 70s
-Rock Island County: 1 female 40s
-Sangamon County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
-St. Clair County: 1 female 90s
-Tazewell County: 1 male 70s
-Whiteside County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s
-Will County: 1 female 70s