Breaking down what Illinois' coronavirus numbers mean

Governor JB Pritzker says the state is looking good when it comes to advancing to the next phase, but what does a local doctor think? Will we reopen at the end of May?

May 29 is the date that Illinois could start to reopen non-essential businesses -- that’s if the metrics are met. The governor says those metrics include stability in hospitalizations, ICU bed and ventilator availability, and a 20-percent or lower positivity rate. 

“All of the other regions are on track to meet all of the criteria and the Chicago and Northeast region are very close,” said Governor Pritzker.

Chicago and the collar counties are in the Northeast region -- one of four the state has been divided into for the reopening plan. In just one day, the Northeast region’s positivity rate has dropped from 22.3-percent to 21.4. 

“I know that in the past we had certainly rollouts that have been later pushed back. I think it's possible that that happens again,” said Mercedes Carnethon, an epidemiologist and professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. 

She said we shouldn’t get wrapped up in a specific date, but rather focus on our task of social distancing, which she said is working.

As for the collar counties who want to break apart from the Chicago region?

“People travel. So if we say that it's ok in this far out little county for people to circulate, for restrictions to be lifted, what's that to stop individuals from a higher burden area from visiting those counties?” said Dr. Carnethon.

She said we must double down during this stay-at-home order and focus on the good -- that our region is inching closer to reopening. 

“I think we can take that as a positive sign that most of the metrics are being met, but we can't loosen our vigilance at this point,” said Dr. Carnethon.