CHICAGO – For the first time, the Chicago region is now meeting the criteria to move into Phase 3 of the governor’s coronavirus reopening plan.

The northeast region is now at a 19.9% positivity, which is below the required 20%. That is based on seven-day rolling averages, the state said.

“Every region is so far meeting all the metrics,” Pritzker said. “Remember they need to go through a time period and there needs to be an averaging of those metrics.” 

While the deadline is May 29, Gov. Pritzker said that could be moved up.

“Every region is poised if it maintains the metrics that it’s at now to move on to phase 3 in a few short days,” Pritzker said.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 3,239 new cases of COVID-19 and 138 new deaths were identified across Illinois Thursday, bringing the statewide totals up to 87,937 cases and 3,929 deaths.

For the first time, the state eclipsed 500,000 coronavirus tests, with 512,037 tests performed.

Phase 3 of the governor’s plan is called Recovery.

Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. Gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer. Face coverings and social distancing will continue to be required.

The state’s unemployment rate has spiked to 20.7% as more than 1 million Illinoisans claim they are out of work since the COVID-19 pandemic started shuttering Illinois businesses.

To help, Gov. Pritzker  announced the launch of “Get Hired Illinois,” a new portal designed to connect workers with available job and career training opportunities across the state.

Gov. Pritzker also announced that beginning in June, Illinois residents will have free access to online workforce development courses via a partnership with Coursera.