Metro East Restrictions Lifted, Rules Remain for Region 1

Metro East Restrictions Lifted, Rules Remain for Region 1

Citing a downward trend in the COVID-19 positivity rate for the Metro East (Region 4), Governor Pritzker announced on Friday that the area would return to the same Phase 4 rules as most of the rest of Illinois. The area includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, and Washington counties.

Indoor dining and bar service, along with larger crowd size limits (50 people for gatherings) will resume. The region had been under stricter mitigations since mid-August, when IDPH reported the state’s positivity rate had surpassed 8 percent. The Governor had stated that restrictions would remain in place until the positivity rate dropped below 6.5% for three consecutive days, which it did on Friday.

Region 1, including much of Northern and Northwestern Illinois, remains under tightened restrictions. The region includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago Counties. The positivity rate for the area has been increasing slightly during the week and remains above 8 percent.

National Manufacturers Month

The Illinois Manufactures’ Association is partnering together with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to recognize National Manufacturers Month throughout October. The month-long celebration highlights the work of those in the manufacturing industry and the vital role it plays in Illinois.

Throughout the state, approximately 555,000 men and women are employed in the manufacturing sector. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, over 56 billion in manufactured goods were exported in 2019. This month-long awareness campaign celebrates the state’s innovate sector and underscores how the manufacturing industry drives the economy.  

National Manufacturers Month is also an opportunity to promote and advocate for future growth and development within the manufacturing industry. According to the IMA, over the next decade it is estimated that 300,000 men and women will leave the industry as they retire, creating well-paying positions and opportunities for future Illinois students and residents.

Especially as the state continues to confront the daily realities of the COVID-19 health pandemic, Senate Republicans note it is more important than ever that lawmakers support the industries that create jobs and opportunities in the state.

Harvest Underway for Most of Illinois

While many Illinois industries are still struggling with the COVID economy, the state’s agriculture sector is having a mostly positive harvest.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), farmers have harvested just over a quarter of the state’s corn and soybean crop, well ahead of their progress at the same time in 2019.

Only 46 percent of Illinois corn acres are rated as good or excellent, along with 43 percent of the beans, with much of that having to do with the wet spring and early flooding, as well as the August derecho that caused damage in parts of Northern Illinois.

The crops themselves are getting more valuable by the day, however, with corn and soybean prices rising substantially over the last month, meaning a potentially better bottom line for farms. During the week, soybean prices broke the $10.50 per bushel mark, the highest level since 2018, and corn prices rebounded to nearly $4 per bushel.

Madigan Hearings Postponed Until After Election

Earlier last week, the appointed democratic chairman of the Illinois House Committee tasked with investigating allegations of wrongdoing involving House Speaker Michael Madigan announced that panel will hold no further hearings until after the election.

The panel was formed to look into issues brought to light in a deferred prosecution agreement between ComEd and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. According to the office of the U.S. attorney, "ComEd admitted it arranged jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts, for various associates of a high-level elected official for the state of Illinois, to influence and reward the official’s efforts to assist ComEd with respect to legislation concerning ComEd and its business.” The “high-level elected official” was later identified as Madigan.

The committee is scheduled to meet again on November 5th.

State Records First West Nile Death of 2020

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the state had recently its first West Nile death for the year. So far, 24 cases of the virus have been reported in Illinois this year.

According to IDPH, West Nile Virus, which is transmitted via mosquito bite, remains a risk until the first hard frost of the year. While four out of five people infected with West Nile will show no symptoms, the risks are higher for individuals over 50 and those who are immunocompromised.

Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.

REDUCE – eliminate or refresh each week, all sources of standing water. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. 

REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535.

REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.  The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.