coronavirus illinois

Holiday Shopping: Tips for Staying Safe During Coronavirus Pandemic

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday released new guidance for how to celebrate the holidays safely during the coronavirus pandemic

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Holiday shopping is usually a time for crowded stores, long lines and rushes to scoop up the best deals, but what will things look like during the coronavirus pandemic?

Already, several stores have announced online deals and virtual sales events.

If you have to go into a store, there are some precautions you can take.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday released new guidance for how to celebrate the holidays safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state's top doctor suggested tips for traveling, shopping and gathering with loved ones during Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays.

“COVID-19 has changed the way we work, live, and play, and will now change how we plan to celebrate the holidays,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “While the safest way to celebrate is with members of your household and connecting with others virtually, we know, for many, the holidays are all about family and friends, so we want to provide some tips on how to celebrate safer.”

Among the guidance was:

  • Try to do gift shopping online by looking at local store websites and choosing pick-up options. 
  • Grocery shopping online with delivery and curbside pick-up is also available in many locations. 
  • If you need to shop in-person, try to go at a time when stores are not as busy.

"There is no free pass in the season of giving when it comes to COVID-19," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday. "When confronted with decisions about the upcoming holiday season, many people who have erred on the side of caution up to now might face new temptation to let their guard down.Let me be blunt: the virus isn’t taking a holiday. It only wants to find new hosts. And if you think it’s ok to let your guard down because some people seem fine after they get COVID-19, I’ll remind you that many young people in their 20s and 30s and 40s are experiencing 'long-hauler' symptoms of this virus — pulmonary issues, months long breathing and coughing issues, exhaustion. Even for healthy, young people, that’s not a walk in the park, so don’t treat it like one. The safest thing to do is take precautions.

"Dr. Ezike and I want to be with our families and friends during the holidays too," he added. "We are all human beings, and we all want to see and spend time with our loved ones whom we’ve spent the better part of a year worrying about."

Illinois health officials on Wednesday reported 2,862 new coronavirus cases and 49 additional deaths over the last 24 hours as Pritzker warned that all of the state's 11 health care regions have seen an increase in testing positivity rates.

According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Wednesday's figures bring the state’s totals to 327,605 cases and 9,074 deaths since the pandemic began.

Nearly 53,000 tests were reported Wednesday, bringing the state's seven-day positivity rate to 4.6%.

Pritzker said Wednesday that the latest figures indicate the state is moving in a "concerning direction."

"Unfortunately, all 11 regions have seen an increase in positivity compared to where we were at last week’s update. Statewide, our positivity rate has grown by more than one full percentage point in the last week alone. And in most regions, COVID-like hospital admissions have increased in the same time period," he said during a news conference.

"To date, Illinois has had relative success in keeping this virus at bay, and we’re still doing better than many of our neighbors, but we can’t let up – and these numbers are indicating a concerning direction," he continued.

"We are seeing changes in positivity averages around the state level off, with three regions that were decreasing last week now sitting at a stable level," he said during a virtual update last Wednesday.

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