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After complaints from some suburban and downstate officials seeking greater local control in fighting the coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday said he would divide Illinois into smaller regions under his reopening plan, separating Chicago and suburban Cook County from other areas not hit as hard by the pandemic.

The governor’s move comes as the state reported another 1,187 coronavirus cases and eight additional deaths from COVID-19. It’s the fourth time this month that the daily caseload has topped the 1,000 mark. The rolling seven-day positivity rate – the percent of positive cases among those newly tested – also crept up to 3.1%, from 2.6% less than a week ago.

The newly reshuffled reopening plan is based on the 11 regions in the state’s Emergency Medical Service regions that are used by state public health officials. Chicago’s collar counties will also be divided into three separate regions under the governor’s updated plan.

The Chicago Democrat cast the retooling as part of a “a more granular approach in this phase of the response to COVID-19.”

Pritzker said the new, smaller regions will give the state more flexibility to combat coronavirus if a locality experiences an outbreak, “to carefully, but deliberately — depending on the severity of the situation — control the spread of the virus while continuing to allow a region to be open to the greatest extent possible.”

Read more here.

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Beginning tomorrow, July 8th, Bolz Road will be closed to traffic between Sandbloom Road and the entrance to the stone quarry for 8 to 10 weeks, weather permitting, to allow construction crews to safely and efficiently construct the new Bolz Road roadway realignment and install new watermain and storm sewer. Traffic will be routed around Bolz Road using Sandbloom Road, IL 62 and IL 25 as shown below:

Motorist are advised to watch for construction workers, construction vehicles entering or leaving the closed roadway, and obey flaggers and other traffic control devices bordering the work zone.

The full KDOT press release can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Work to rehabilitate the Higgins Road (Route 72) bridge over the Fox River in East and West Dundee is set to begin Thursday, July 9, weather permitting, the Illinois Department of Transportation said.

Higgins Road from Third Street to River Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction, with lane widths reduced to 10.3 feet. In addition, left turns from Higgins Road onto Water and River streets will not be allowed. A recommended alternate route is Van Buren Street.

Access to businesses within the work zone will be maintained during construction.

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Illinois has been divided into four different regions that can progress through the phases of reopening the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders in DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties argue their communities should not be on the same timeline as suburban Cook County and the city of Chicago.

A push intensified Tuesday to let the collar counties progress separately from Cook and Chicago toward Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 bench marks for reopening the economy.

Leaders representing DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties called on Pritzker to remove their areas from the Northeast region under the Restore Illinois plan, which also includes Cook, Grundy, Lake, Kankakee, Kendall and Will counties.

County leaders, mayors and at least one state representative say the coronavirus situation in their communities is much different from what it is in Cook County and Chicago, where the high concentrations of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.

Read more here.

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JB Pritzker’s ten-page plan of, “A Public Health Approach To Safely Reopen Our State,” can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Editorial note: According to the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 28 people in all of zip code 60010 (population 46,350 in 2017) have tested positive.

Zip code 60010

Slightly more than 4% of the residents of suburban Cook County and the five collar counties who tested positive for the coronavirus have died.

Of the 11,745 people who contracted the disease in suburban Cook County and in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, 473 have died as of Tuesday. That’s more than half the deaths statewide, according to the most recent data from health departments in each of those counties and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The suburban death rate from the virus is slightly higher than the state rate of 3.7%. However, less than 1% of the state’s population has been tested, and only about 20% of those tested are confirmed cases, according to IDPH figures.

Read the full Daily Herald story here.

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As social distancing concerns grow with the rising temperatures this spring, suburban forest preserve officials say they continue to monitor the size of crowds at their facilities but intend to keep most open to the public.

That could change quickly depending on public behavior.

Despite social media initiatives, ample signage and rangers walking the grounds, there have been cases where crowds needed to be dispersed at preserves. In some instances — such as with Rocky Glen Waterfall near Lemont and the Swallow Cliff Stairs near Palos Hills — sites were closed because of overcrowding.

“We may close more sites,” said Carl Vogel, director of communications for the Cook County Forest Preserve. “That’s absolutely a possibility. But we want people to follow the guidelines and help us keep the forest preserves open.”

Read more here.

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“Dear Barrington 220 Community,

First and foremost, I want to say thank you. On Tuesday, March 17 registered voters in the Barrington 220 community overwhelmingly passed a $147 million bond referendum, which will greatly impact the future of our schools.

According to preliminary results, the question was approved by voters with 63% yes votes and 37% no votes.

Especially at a time like this, when our nation and our community are facing unprecedented challenges, it is amazing to see the Barrington area stand behind our schools. Together we will get through this pandemic challenge and our community will be stronger than ever before.

This vote is the culmination of a three year community engagement process, which involved collaboration and feedback from parents, students, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, community members, and architects, about the future of our schools. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, along with your community support at the polls, Barrington 220 will be able to:

  • Significantly enhance safety and security at every school
  • Better prepare our students for a successful future
  • Protect the community’s investment in our school buildings by repairing things like roofs, windows, electrical systems, plumbing systems, heating and air conditioning

We will soon begin working with our architects and engineers to develop detailed project plans and drawings. Construction will likely begin in Spring 2021 and will happen in phases over several years.

Thank you again for your support in making sure Barrington 220 remains a destination school district in the years to come.”

The 220 email can be viewed here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 received approval for its request to borrow $147 million for building projects, including safety and security upgrades at all its schools.

Unofficial results with nearly all votes counted from Tuesday’s election show 6,045 were in favor and 3,781 were opposed in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Officials said the $147 million will pay for basic projects, including upgrades to school safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said the next move will be to hire a construction manager, architect and bond counsel to assisting in financing the work.

Read more here.

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If you would like to skip the crowds and the politics on March 17, early voting starts today through March 16. To view early voting locations, times and more information for your county, click on the corresponding link: 

Please note: The Barrington Hills Observer does not support the Barrington 220 Referendum.  We’ll share our reasons for voting “No” later this week.

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