NOTE: Watch the governor's press conference at 2:30 p.m. in the player above or click here
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to speak Thursday for the first time since the state's health department released new guidance urging residents to stay home and work from home unless necessary.
The governor, who did not hold his daily briefing Wednesday due to Veterans Day, has not yet spoken publicly about the recommendations. He is expected to deliver his afternoon address at 2:30 p.m.
The Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidance Wednesday urging residents to stay home and only leave for "essential activities."
The guidelines, which come just before the the Thanksgiving holiday, recommend that for the next three weeks, residents "stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries."
The guidance also urges employers to have employees work from home as much as possible during that time period.
"We ask employers to make accommodation for this," a release from the department states. "Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open."
In addition, health officials suggest limiting travel and gatherings.
"In our current situation, with a rising prevalence of the virus, attending even small gatherings that mix households, or traveling to areas that are experiencing high rates of positivity, is not advised and is potentially dangerous," the release states, "Please, travel only if necessary."
Illinois health officials again reported more than 12,000 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Wednesday, setting a record for the highest single-day report of new cases for the second consecutive day as the state also marked the deadliest day of the pandemic since May.
The new recommendations follow a warning from Pritzker that the health department was looking at the possibility of added restrictions on a region level or possibly even statewide.
Already, all of Illinois' healthcare regions were under increased mitigations from the state, shutting down indoor dining and bar service and limiting gathering sizes.
On Wednesday, three of those regions entered Tier 2 of the state's mitigation plan, limiting party sizes at tables for outdoor dining and further restricting gathering sizes. Only one other region was already under such restrictions.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said some Illinois regions have seen more than triple the number of coronavirus hospitalizations than they did during the first wave of the pandemic and a group of doctors warned that the state could "surpass its ICU bed capacity by Thanksgiving."
The state saw its hospitalization numbers continue to increase on Wednesday, with 5,042 residents currently in hospitals due to coronavirus-like illnesses. Of those patients, 951 are currently in intensive care units, and 404 are on ventilators.
All three statistics are the highest metrics the state has seen in their respective categories since the first peak in COVID-19 cases earlier this year.