PEORIA (WEEK) -- The greater Peoria area, and the region it belongs to under the state's COVID-19 response plan, is at risk of moving backwards, which could result in bars closing and restaurants' operations limited due to an increase in positivity rates and hospitalizations.
Gov. JB Pritzker, speaking at the Peoria City/County Health Department on Thursday, addressed the risk of moving back in the Restore Illinois plan and emphasized the use of preventative measures to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"I'll be frank. We need to see some change here in the Peoria area when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic," Pritzker said.
The governor reminded the public of the health metrics set in place for what could set a region back -- seven of 10 days seeing an increase in positivity rates, plus a consecutive-seven day increase of hospital admissions.
Region 2 has seen four consecutive days of hospitalization increases and seven days straight of an increase in positivity rates.
"Those are two things, that working together -- if we have seven days of hospitalizations going up and seven days of (the) positivity rate going up, we are going to have to move this region backward and that is something any of us does not want to do," Pritzker said.
If the region sees three more days of hospitalization increases, bars could close again and restaurants could see a reduction of services, Pritzker said.
"The specifics of the reversal will be determined and dependent upon the types of activities that are most likely causing, or could cause, greater community spread of the virus," Pritzker said.
PCCHD Administrator Monica Hendrickson said the restrictions would be tailored to each county under a specific region.
Region 2, of 11 regions in Illinois, consist of Peoria, Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford counties.
At the press briefing, Pritzker said Region 2's seven-day rolling positivity rate, as of Wednesday, is at 4.3%, compared to the statewide rate of 3.8%.
Pritzker added much of the increase in cases is tied to those 29 years old and younger, large social gatherings and a spread of the virus to close family members.
"I want to urge Peorians to follow the mitigations more rigorously. Wear a mask everywhere you go in public. Do not enter a bar or restaurant or enclosed space if it looks crowded," Pritzker said.
"If the public can act, we can prevent this region from moving backward," Pritzker added.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike echoed Pritzker's statements Thursday, reminding people to wash their hands, wear a mask and to social distance properly.
"We're trying to do all that we can do so we can keep businesses going, but there may be a point where we reach a certain threshold where we have to reduce capacity again temporarily. Maybe restaurants will have to go back to takeout," Ezike said.
Also present at Thursday's briefing were state Sen. Dave Koehler, state Rep. Ryan Spain and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis.
This story will be updated.