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    COVID-19 resurgence mitigations were eased for the state's Region 5-Southern Illinois, on Jan. 16, then again on Monday, going from Tier 2 to Tier 1, and to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan, and allowing for limited indoor dining.
    On Jan. 15, Region 5, — it includes Marion and Jefferson counties — had moved to Tier 2 mitigations from Tier 3. Region 3 also moves to Phase 4 status.
    Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the latter announcement during a virtual COVID-19 update just after noon that day.
    The other regions changing status were: Regions 1, 2 and 6 to Tier 1; Regions 8, 9, 10 and 11 to Tier 2.
    Regions 4 and 7 remain at Tier 3. The state's 11 health regions — Clinton County is in Region 4 — have been at Tier 3 restrictions since Nov. 20, 2020.
    A region can move to Phase 4 after meeting these metrics: A test positivity rate less than or equal to 6.5 percent for three consecutive days, as measured by the seven-day rolling average; and less than or equal to 20-percent available staffed ICU hospital beds for three straight days, on a seven-day rolling average; and no sustained increased in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 for seven of 10 days, on a seven-day average.
    Phase 4 allows for gatherings of 50 people or fewer; the opening of health care providers, schools, manufacturing, personal care services and health clubs with Illinois Department of Public Health-approved safety guidance; and openings of bars, restaurants, retail shops, cinemas and theaters with capacity limits and and IDPH safety guidance. 
    A region can move to Tier 2 mitigations if: there is a test positivity rate less than 12 percent for three consecutive days; and more than 20 percent of intensive care unit and hospital beds being available, as well as declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in seven of the previous 10 days.

gruenkeDoug Gruenke    The Criminal Justice Reform Act, House Bill 3653 —formerly House Bill 163 — passed in both chambers of the Illinois Legislature last week, and awaits Gov. J.B. Pritzker's signature.
    The bill has the support of the governor and state attorney general Kwame Raoul, but not local legislators or law enforcement officers.
    The bill, controversial among law enforcement entities, passed, 32-23, in the Illinois Senate in the early-morning hours of Jan. 12. It then  passed, 60-50, in the Illinois House just before 5 a.m. on Jan. 13. There were eight legislators who did not vote.
    The bill moved during the lame-duck session of the 101st General Assembly.
    The Criminal Justice Reform Act was received by legislators at 3:04 a.m. on Jan. 12, with debate on the bill starting around 4:01 a.m. according to state Sen. Jason Plummer (R-54, Edwardsville).  Legislators passed the bill at 4:49 a.m. on Jan. 12.
    Plummer, who voted no on the bill, posted on his Facebook page: “Who could’ve possibly read and reviewed this bill in less than an hour? This issue deserves a thorough and serious discussion. Sadly, it was instead jammed through the legislature during the early-morning hours of this lame-duck session. 
    "This is not how our system of government is supposed to work. These types of shenanigans do not lead to a healthy democracy and, in this instance, they make our law enforcement personnel, our families, and our communities less safe.”

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 Sun., Jan. 17 443.39 
 Tues., Jan. 19 443.41 

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