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Chairman Franks Asking Governor’s Office to Move McHenry County to New Recovery Region

Post Date:05/08/2020 5:56 PM

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has requested that the State of Illinois move McHenry County into another “health region” to allow its businesses and commerce to open sooner.

The “Restore Illinois” plan unveiled Tuesday by Governor Pritzker divides Illinois into four regions where commerce, schools and other functions can slowly be allowed to re-open along a five-phase progression as the threat presented by the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. McHenry County is placed in the Northeast Region, which includes Cook and the collar counties. Franks, D-Marengo, said McHenry County’s much lower number of infections and deaths makes it a better fit for the neighboring region that encompasses 27 counties in northwestern and central Illinois.

“To be fair to the Governor, these boundaries were set in great part based on existing care regions defined by the Illinois Department of Public Health. However, under the Restore Illinois plan, the gradual re-opening of McHenry County’s businesses is dependent on the number of cases in Chicago and the other collar counties getting under control,” Franks said.

Franks cited today’s unveiling of city-specific reopening guidelines by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot as evidence that McHenry County’s request should be seriously considered.

“Chicago is making changes tailored to their specific situation. We’re asking for changes specific to ours,” Franks said.

Franks also has recommended that the state draw the region boundaries based on hospital capacity rather than IDPH regions. Franks has also suggested that McHenry County be treated as its own region, as it has four hospitals to handle our health needs, and a lower infection rate than the other collar counties. 

“We’re all in this fight against COVID-19 together, but when it comes to recovery, our situation is much more akin to Boone and DeKalb counties and points west than the Chicago metro area. While we must flatten the curve and slow COVID-19’s spread, we also have to recognize that the economic havoc the shutdown is wreaking on people and businesses is as serious an issue. It makes more sense to tie our re-opening to these more rural counties,” Franks said.

Franks prior to the Restore Illinois plan’s release created Resume McHenry County, a task force composed of local business, industrial and health leaders examining the best ways to reopen businesses as soon and as safe as practical. On Wednesday, Franks met virtually with the county’s mayors and city managers to discuss bringing common-sense recommendations to the Governor’s Office for ways that businesses can resume sooner. Franks also expressed his concerns Friday morning during a virtual meeting of collar-county chairpeople.

The following websites contain information about programs geared toward helping small businesses and their employees:

McHenry County has set up a resource page at www.mchenrycountyil.gov/covid19resources for community members, businesses and nonprofits needing help as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the McHenry County Department of Health website at www.mcdh.info for more information about COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself and help slow its spread.

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