PEORIA – COVID-19 mitigations imposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health were lifted and indoor dining resumed Friday in Region 4, which includes seven counties east of St. Louis.


The mitigations were imposed in August due to rising positivity rates which, at one point, reached 10.5%. On Friday they were at 5.8%.


Region 1, which includes Rockford, Dixon and Galena, is now the only region in Illinois still dealing with mitigations. They continue to report a 7-day rolling positivity rate above 8%.


New COVID-19 testing sites popping up


Because testing continues to be an important tool in containing COVID-19, IDPH is sponsoring pop-up testing sites around the state. Two pop-up sites are planned for the Peoria area:



8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 28-30, Chillicothe Public Library, 430 N. Bradley Ave.


9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, Limestone Community Pool, 1605 W Garfield Ave. in Bartonville

Testing is free at both sites and simple nasal swabs will be used. Results will be available in four to seven days. Anyone can get tested, regardless of symptoms.


Hospitalizations continue to gradually increase in Peoria County. On average, more intensive care unit beds are being occupied by COVID-19 patients than in the past, said Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson.


"We are now seeing 20 beds in use daily regarding COVID-19," she said.


Deaths have become a daily occurrence. With six more announced on Friday, there have been a total of 17 in the Tri-County Area since last Friday.


White House insiders could have infected thousands


Those working in the White House could have carried COVID-19 across the country in the matter of days, according to an investigation by USA TODAY.


President Trump and his political aides attended a religious summit outside of Atlanta, a campaign rally in Pennsylvania and a private fundraiser in Minnesota – events that in some cases included thousands of people. The Supreme Court nomination ceremony on Sept. 26 at the White House Rose Garden has been deemed a potential superspreader event.


Reporters examined photos and videos from news coverage and social media posts on events that officials attended in the days leading up to testing positive for COVID-19. Trump, first lady Melania Trump, senior adviser Hope Hicks and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany are among more than 20 to test positive for COVID-19. Reporters determined that more than 120 people came dangerously close to Trump and others who later tested positive.


Vaccine expected in January


A Trump administration official leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic says the U.S. can expect delivery of a vaccine starting in January 2021.


Dr. Robert Kadlec, Department of Health and Human Services' assistant secretary of preparedness and response, said in an email Friday that the administration "is accelerating production of safe and effective vaccines ... to ensure delivery starting January 2021," according to the Associated Press.


Bradley University cancels spring break


In an effort to minimize exposure to COVID-19 on campus, administrators at Bradley University are pushing back the start of the spring semester to Jan. 27 and canceling spring break.


Starting a week later will allow both students and faculty to quarantine after any holiday travel, said Walter Zakahi, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, in a campus-wide memo issued Friday.


Out of the 280 tests administered on campus this past week, only three have come back positive, according to information on BU’s COVID-19 dashboard.


Makers of Trump’s COVID-19 "cure" seek FDA emergency use approval


The drugmaker Regeneron submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval of an experimental treatment Trump was given to combat COVID-19, according to The New York Times.


Trump claimed the antibody cocktail cured his case of coronavirus, but there is no evidence that the drug is what helped the president feel better – he was given several drugs during his hospitalization.


If approved, access to the drug would be extremely limited at first, with probably only enough for about 50,000 patients, said the company.


Information from USA TODAY and the New York Times was used to compile this report.


Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.