Region 5 continues to edge toward COVID-19 resurgence mitigation; Sen. Dale Fowler urges following CDC guidelines

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) spent part of his Sunday in a Zoom meeting with area mayors, legislators, members of Gov. JB Pritzker's staff and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"The governor's office has given us a warning," said Fowler, speaking from his district office in Harrisburg. "For that I'm thankful."

According to Fowler, the call was a warning that Region 5 could very well be placed on resurgence mitigations if the regions's 7-day rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 continues to climb.

According to Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan, the 11 Illinois regions must keep that rate below 8 percent.

As of Oct. 8, the rate for Region 5 was 7.3 percent, as noted on the IDPH website. Data shows that the region's rate has climbed steadily from 5.9 percent on Sept. 28.

Fowler said getting a "heads up" from Pritzker's office is a plus.

"They have changed their protocol to at least schedule a call like this morning to give us a heads up that our numbers are increasing," he said.

Fowler said the task for the public is clear.

"I want to encourage everyone to follow the CDC guidelines," he said.

Those guidelines include staying home unless it's necessary, wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.

"We don't want our businesses to take any more of a critical hit than they already are taking," said Fowler.

Counties in Region 5 include Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, and Williamson.

Eight of those counties currently exceed the 8 percent threshold, according to the IDPH website. They are Union (16.7), Saline (13.5), Pulaski (13.3), Johnson (14.5), Jefferson (12.1), Hamilton (8.3), Gallatin (10.2), Edwards (11.4), and Alexander (12.1).

Perry County has the lowest rate at 1.9 percent.

Fowler is encouraging everyone to get tested, noting that there are mobile testing site throughout the region.

On Friday, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) announced via his Facebook page that he had tested positive for COVID-19.