Since this COVID-19 mess began, we've been hearing from listeners who aren't happy with a "one-size-fits-all" approach to dealing with the pandemic in Illinois.

We've fielded calls from people who don't like the fact that a hot-spot like Chicago affects how we go about reopening here in Rockford. In talking to a couple friends who work in media in Peoria and Springfield, they've gotten the same complaints.

It seems as though those questions/complaints have been heard, and Governor Pritzker (who'll be visiting Rockford today) has seen fit to change Illinois' approach.

Realizing that, in a widely diverse state like ours, different areas need to be treated more in keeping with their individual needs than the state as a whole, Governor Pritzker has designated 11 separate regions or zones be created so health officials can focus on what each area individually requires to deal with pandemic conditions.

Those who've suggested that Chicago become its own state aren't quite getting their wish here, but Chicago has been designated as a region onto itself. Cook County, outside of Chicago city limits has also been named a region.

Winnebago County, along with Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties has been designated as the North Region.

Here's how the rest of the state is divided, according to a breakdown from the governor's office:

  1. NORTH: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago
  2. NORTH-CENTRAL: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Woodford
  3. WEST-CENTRAL: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott
  4. METRO EAST: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
  5. SOUTHERN: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, Williamson
  6. EAST-CENTRAL: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermillion
  7. SOUTH SUBURBAN: Kankakee, Will
  8. WEST SUBURBAN: DuPage, Kane
  9. NORTH SUBURBAN: Lake, McHenry
  10. SUBURBAN COOK: Suburban Cook
  11. CHICAGO: City of Chicago

So, in theory, if Chicago has a huge flair-up of COVID-19 cases, the Chicago Region will be focused on individually rather than the entire state. The same would apply to the needs of any of the other regions.

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