Governor Pritzker announced his five-phase plan for reopening the state on Tuesday, May 5. The plan divides the state by region.
The Incident Command Team in Sangamon County was already working on a plan to reopen the state. However, they were waiting to see how Governor Pritzker, D-Illinois, would approach reopening.
Governor Pritzker announced on Tuesday that the state would be split into four different health regions. Springfield Fire Chief Allen Reyne, a member of the Sangamon County Incident Command Team, thinks the regional approach is a good idea.
“That’s good that we got that direction,” said Allen Reyne, the Springfield fire chief and member of the Incident Management Team. "We were formulating a plan to have in place just in case we were given that task without direction."
The regions are based on the 11 different Illinois Department of Public Health emergency medical services regions.
“The state organizes Illinois by 11 regions for hospital purposes to gauge availability of beds,” said Brian McFadden, the Sangamon County administrator. "They’ve taken that basic model and then kind of combined it into 4."
Springfield falls in the central region, along with cities like Decatur and Champaign.
“Again, that’s good and bad, depends on what’s going on in those areas. But I know the central region we’re in stacks up very favorably to the north, northeast region and the southern region,” said McFadden.
Illinois is currently in phase 2 of Gov. Pritzker's reopening plan. The decision to move to phase 3 will be based on COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity in each region. Sangamon County Administrator Brian McFadden said the central region seems to be hitting the metrics set in the governor’s plan.
“Our region seems to be hitting what they’re looking for: stabilization of hospital availability, stabilization of the number of new positive cases, large amounts of testing incurring. Everyone being tested. That’s all happening here in this region,” McFadden said.
The Incident Command Team also now has clearer guidelines for what we should be doing locally.
“This gives us some direction to start at the local level to evaluate what that means for our community and to make good decisions,” Reyne said.
The Incident Command Team did originally have a similar plan to Governor Pritzker’s. They agree that the best way to reopen the state is through phases.
Illinois will not be able to move into phase 5, the final phase, unless there’s a vaccine or no new cases over a sustained period of time.