Moving toward Phase Three; Dentist offices re-opening

Progress toward ‘Phase 3’ re-opening

Last week Governor Pritzker announced a plan for re-opening Illinois. My House Republican colleagues and I have released our own plan, which we believe better reflects the different conditions around the state. However, it is the Governor’s plan which is currently in place, and in regards to that plan, there is some progress to report.

The Governor’s five-phase plan split the state into four regions and set certain data-driven benchmarks for moving toward more re-openings. We are currently in Phase Two, “Flattening” and the next step is Phase Three, “Recovery.” Under that phase, offices, factories and retail businesses would be able to re-open, but with facial coverings and social distancing. So, are we getting close to moving to the next phase?

Under the Governor’s own data guidelines, we are moving in the right direction. To move to Phase Three, a region’s number of positive tests must drop below 20% and remain there for two weeks. Our area, and the rest of downstate, are now below that mark (9.1% in the north-central region which includes Livingston and Woodford counties, 6% in the central region, which includes Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties). A region must have not had any increase in hospitalizations for coronavirus for four weeks. Thus far, all four regions are reporting significant decreases. All four regions are also meeting the requirement for “surge capacity” in hospitals. Click here to see the full data set, with charts and tables.

I am glad to see the scientific data coming in so favorably for our region. I have said before that we need to rely on medical data to advise us as we move toward a safe re-opening of businesses. The news on this front is encouraging. We should begin moving forward soon.

Dentist offices now allowed to resume normal procedures, with precautions

Under the recent stay-at-home orders, Illinois dentists had to stop seeing patients except for emergencies, but that is no longer the case. As of Monday, dentists around the state were advised by the Department of Public Health that they could resume seeing patients for routine care.

“IDPH has carefully monitored the daily number of newly reported COVID-19 cases,” the agency’s new guidance says. “If the trend continues as anticipated, certain models indicate there will likely be a decrease in the burden of COVID-19 illness in Illinois towards the end of May 2020. With that in mind, there is a need for a plan to resume safe and routine oral and dental treatment.” IDPH goes on to cite the potential problems that come from people not being able to access regular dental care.

Dentists’ offices are being advised to follow federal CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the illness while seeing patients. While most of us don’t get all that excited about a trip to the dentist, this is still good news. It is a sign of progress, a restoration of an important service, and one more small step toward getting back to normal.

More news from around the state

The latest update from Public Health includes another death in Iroquois County

$75 million for Illinois hospitals to fight coronavirus

‘Disruptive situation’ for Illinois pork producers

Three business sue Pritzker, challenge his power to shutter services

Area mayors urge Pritzker to re-draw map for quicker re-opening

$25 million in grants fast-tracked to accelerate infrastructure projects

Crop planting progress much better than last year

For additional helpful resources, click here.

For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov or my website at repbennett.com and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at dph.sick@illinois.gov.

My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).