Illinois residents who believe they have been exposed to someone with coronavirus should still quarantine for two weeks, even if they test negative, the state's top doctor said Monday.
"You cannot test out of quarantine," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. "So remember, still 14 days for quarantine after your exposure. It can take up to 14 days to develop the symptoms of the disease, if in fact you caught it."
Under CDC guidelines, an exposure to coronavirus is defined as coming into prolonged close contact (defined by the CDC as being within six feet for 15 or more minutes) with an individual who has begun to experience symptoms of the virus within 48 hours of that contact.
Health officials have been urging people to get tested before symptoms develop.
"We are finding infected individuals earlier, both because people are getting tested when they are contact traced or when they may have been exposed to someone who is sick," Gov. Pritzker said last week. "Don't wait until you develop symptoms. The earlier you test, the more likely you can limit the spread of the virus to your family, friends or co-workers."
Illinois reported 10,573 new cases Monday, marking the state's fourth consecutive day above 10,000. The state is expected to top 500,000 cases for the pandemic so far Tuesday.
It's important to note, however, that the health department recently changed its reporting of daily cases, adding in "probable" cases, which include positive results from rapid antigen tests.
"The virus is winning right now," Pritzker told residents during his daily coronavirus press briefing Monday.
Several Illinois regions are now set to enter even tighter mitigations to curb the spread of coronavirus in both southern Illinois and part of the Chicago area.
Regions 5, 7 and 8, which include Will, Kankakee, Kane and DuPage counties in Illinois, as well as the southern part of the state, are set to enter Tier 2 mitigations Wednesday.
"The situation has worsened considerably in certain areas of the state, with massive increases in the rates of community transmission specifically in three regions," Pritzker said.
Tier 2 adds further gathering size limitations and reduces table sizes for restaurants and bars to a maximum of six, among other restrictions for sports and recreational events.
Already all of Illinois is under increased mitigations imposed by the state on a region-by-region basis. The restrictions follow a three-tiered plan, the first of which eliminated indoor dining at restaurants, reduced gathering sizes and more.
Region 1 has been under Tier 2 mitigations since late last month.
Pritzker warned last week that the Illinois Department of Public Health is "looking at proposing further regional and statewide restrictions because the rise in cases and hospitalizations is unsustainable." On Monday, he once again said he couldn't rule out the possibility of another stay-at-home order.