DuPage County Board Discusses Open DuPage

Health Update: COVID-19 Cases Are Up In DuPage County
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At the latest DuPage County meeting the group discussed “Open DuPage”, a planning guide for reopening “non-essential” facilities in DuPage County.

More About The Plan

The document doesn’t provide the authority for non-essential facilities to open: rather it gives guidelines for how businesses like retail, commercial office spaces, manufacturing industry, and restaurant/food services in DuPage County should re-open when the state allows it.

“This proposal was developed in concert with the DuPage County Health Department and Choose DuPage,” said DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. “The idea was to incorporate some of the best practices and thoughtful planning that industry leaders have already done in the areas of retail, manufacturing, office space, and restaurants and to come up with a gradual phased re-opening plan.”

Cronin said he has discussed the plan with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Criteria For Re-Opening

Businesses would have to meet several criteria before they re-open in phases. Those are:

  • Downward trajectory of the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive in DuPage County
  • Downward trajectory of new COVID-19 hospitalizations at hospitals in DuPage County
  • Healthcare system able to safely care for all patients, including having appropriate personal protective equipment for healthcare workers
  • Sufficient capacity to interview and isolate all new cases and to identify and notify each case’s contacts in order to prevent future spread

Once businesses have met the criteria and get the Ok from the state of Illinois they can re-open in four phases, which varies from each industry.

Health Concerns

Karen Ayala, the executive director of DuPage County Health Department says the plan does involve risks.

“There are no plans that would allow us to open up our communities while at the same time reducing health risks or reducing the spread of the virus amongst our residents,” said Ayala. “This plan however attempts to balance those risks. Opening our economy and communities is a necessary step that we all must understand we must take. However it is also important to understand that these steps will increase the spread of the virus across our communities, to our neighbors, our families, and our friends.”

The discussion of Open DuPage brought out mixed feelings.

“This is a difficult balance to strike. We all know what the risks are associated with COVID-19. It is not a hoax, it’s not something that should be disregarded, it isn’t a plot to undermine our freedom,” said Robert Larsen from District 6. “By the same token the restrictions that have been put in place have real costs. Real human cost, not just business cost.”

Recently the county’s coroner office reported a spike in overdoses, and the sheriff’s department has also reported a rise in crime.

Board member Dawn DeSart, from District 5, said she wants to re-open businesses as soon as possible, but was concerned about the availability of anti-viral products for the public if DuPage County were to re-open.

“If I got to the store today I won’t be able to buy Clorox Wipes, I won’t be able to buy Lysol, or hand sanitizer…you cannot buy these protective solutions to keep ourselves safe. So I’m concerned about that,” said DeSart.

The full discussion about Open DuPage can be found on the county’s website and the draft of the document is on the Choose DuPage website.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.


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