CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Modeling data used to determine when Illinois will reach its “peak” number of COVID-19 cases now indicates that won’t happen until mid-June, Governor JB Prtizker said during Monday’s daily coronavirus press conference.

Pritzker said “the timeframe of plateauing near a peak has been expanded from mid-May into mid-June.”

“In many ways, this news is disheartening,” he said. “…What we’ve been aiming to do since early March is slow down the exponential rate of transmission. When we do that, it leads to a slow rate of infections over a longer period of time, giving our healthcare system the ability to treat those who have complications and giving our pharmaceutical researchers time to develop effective treatments and potentially a vaccine. …A longer timeframe might not sound like good news to some, but I promise you it’s saving lives. “

In a partial justification of the five-phase plan announced last week that would regionally re-open parts of the state, Pritzker said Monday that easing all of the state’s restrictions by the end of May would jeopardize what the state has already accomplished in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

“Lifting all of our mitigations at the end of May would like lead to a second-wave of outbreak in each and every one of the four regions,” he said. “That’s why the Restore Illinois plan gradually loosens mitigations in each phase while introducing the face-covering requirement.”

So far, all four of the regions are “on pace” to move into Phase 3, he said, “with one exception in the Northeast Region.”

Phase 3 of the plan allows gatherings of 10 people or fewer for any reason; “personal care” businesses can reopen with social distancing practices and personal protective equipment; fitness centers can resume one-on-one instruction, among other allowances.

The Northeast Region is comprised of Kankakee, Will, Grundy, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties; it’s COVID-19 test-positivity rate is at 22.3 percent, which is higher than the 20 percent cap needed to move into Phase 3.

That rate will be monitored over a 14-day period and assessed again, he said.