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Despite nearly hitting vaccination goals, rising hospitalizations pause Pritzker’s bridge plan

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s bridge reopening plan is on hold with more people going to the hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

In its daily announcement of new positive COVID-19 cases and deaths, the Illinois Department of Public Health said worsening case counts and hospital capacities are likely to keep the state’s residents and businesses in their existing state of regulation.

“The number of people being admitted to the hospital in Illinois due to COVID-19 continues to increase,” state officials said Tuesday. “As long as new hospital admissions continue to increase, the state will not advance to the Bridge Phase and on to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan.”

Unless Pritzker and health officials change course in the coming days, this would be a reversing of course from Pritzker’s March 18 pledge to move forward with easing back restrictions once 70% of the state’s elderly population is vaccinated, though he did warn that a sudden increase in infections could change things.

IDPH officials said the number of cases of COVID-19 has seen an increasing trend and urged all residents to continue to mask up, socially distance, and avoid crowds to reduce transmission and bring the metrics back in line to transition to what they’re referring to as a “Bridge Phase.”

The governor’s multiple classifications, levels, and phases that his administration has put in place have become the target of criticism. Some say his administration is “moving the goalposts” by manipulating benchmarks to fit his objectives.

The news comes as data from last year reflects the toll Pritzker’s closure orders have taken on the state’s business community. An analysis of data from Harvard University by the Illinois Policy Institute found that 35% of small businesses had closed compared to the months before the pandemic. That’s a higher percentage than any other Midwestern state, except Michigan.

This article was originally posted on Despite nearly hitting vaccination goals, rising hospitalizations pause Pritzker’s bridge plan

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