Could restrictions return to parts of Illinois as COVID metrics rise again?
Gov. J.B. Pritzker weighed in on whether or not added mitigations might be brought back to the state.
Plus, COVID outbreaks are causing problems for a number of Chicago sports teams.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
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Illinois COVID Metrics: Hospitalizations Up by Nearly 40% Since Start of December
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients in the state of Illinois have continued to rise quickly in recent weeks, jumping up by nearly 40% since the beginning of December.
According to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are currently 3,513 patients hospitalized due to COVID in the state of Illinois, the highest number of patients since mid-January.
Since Dec. 1, the number of patients hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19 has grown by approximately 38.5%, challenging health systems and limiting the number of available beds for other illnesses and emergency health crises.
The number of patients requiring intensive care beds has grown even more rapidly. According to IDPH data, there are currently 748 COVID patients in ICU beds around the state, representing a 48% increase over the 505 that were in ICU’s on Dec. 1.
Statewide, there are currently 375 open ICU beds, representing just 12% of the state’s total number of ICU-staffed beds.
How Long Do You Have to Quarantine or Isolate? What to Know If You Have COVID
As COVID cases continue to climb in Illinois, many are wondering what they should do if they end up with a positive test result or have been in contact with someone who has.
How long should you isolate? If you took an at-home test who do you report it to? When should you call a doctor?
Here's a look at the guidance from officials on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has.
Bulls' Next Two Games Postponed Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
The Chicago Bulls' next two games have been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak within the team, NBC Sports Chicago has confirmed.
Tuesday's (Dec. 14) home matchup against the Detroit Pistons and Thursday's (Dec. 16) road bout against the Toronto Raptors will be rescheduled at a later date.
Alize Johnson Becomes 10th Chicago Bull in Health Protocols
In what is becoming almost a daily occurrence, another Chicago Bulls player has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols.
On Monday morning, Alize Johnson became the 10th player on the team to enter protocols since Dec. 1, NBC Sports Chicago confirmed.
With the statuses of Coby White and Javonte Green pending, that leaves the Bulls, as of this writing, with eight available players for Tuesday's home game against the Detroit Pistons. The league's minimum for active players required to field a team — and, thus, hold a game — is eight.
Read more here.
Monday's Blackhawks Game Postponed Due to COVID-19 Outbreak With Flames
Monday's Blackhawks-Flames game scheduled to be played at the United Center has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak involving Calgary, the NHL announced.
The Flames had six players and one staff member enter NHL's COVID-19 protocol within a 24-hour period. Calgary's games have been postponed until at least Thursday.
"As an appropriate precaution, the team’s training facilities have been closed, effective immediately, and will remain closed for Players until further notice," the NHL said in a statement. "The League is in the process of reviewing and revising the Flames regular season schedule.
"The Flames organization has followed, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, provincial and national agencies."
Read more here.
Last Chance to Receive First Vaccine Dose at Kane County Mass Vaccination Site is This Week
The Kane Vax Hub in suburban Batavia will close in early January 2022, the county health department announced Friday.
The last chance to receive a shot at the mass vaccination clinic will be on Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m., health officials said.
A Pfizer second dose-only clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 29 and Wednesday, Jan. 5, both of which are solely for people who have received their first vaccine shot.
In January, the Kane County Health Department will offer vaccinations by appointment at the Aurora office, located at 1240 N. Highland Ave. Check KaneVax.org for availability.
COVID by the Numbers: Coronavirus Metrics in Each of Illinois' 11 Health Care Regions
Each of Illinois' 11 health care regions is reporting at least 9 out of 10 days of increasing hospitalizations as COVID-19 cases climb in areas across the state, according to newly released data.
Region 1, located in the northwestern corner of the state, has seen its positivity rate rise to 9.5% in recent days - the highest out of any region in Illinois.
Under previous Illinois Department of Public Health rules, any region with positivity rates in excess of 8%, ICU bed availability below 20%, or increasing hospitalizations would have been subjected to more stringent mitigation rules.
Full breakdown here.
Could Illinois See Increased Mitigations as COVID Metrics Rise? Here's What Gov. Pritzker Said
As Illinois health officials report an increase in COVID-19 metrics statewide over the past week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker weighed in on whether the region could see heightened coronavirus mitigations.
"We're looking at everything that has been done over the last few years, always, but what we're really focused on is making sure that people are following the masking requirements indoors," Pritzker said. "Thank you to all of you who are doing that."
When asked about his response to Chicago officials considering establishing additional COVID mitigations, Pritzker said local governments should "certainly look at stricter mitigations," if warranted.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 49,668 New Cases, 266 Deaths, 509K Vaccinations Since Friday
Illinois health officials reported 49,668 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 266 additional deaths and over 509,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,884,744 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported over the past five days bring the state to 26,801 confirmed COVID fatalities.
The state has administered 1,160,624 tests since last Friday, officials said, bringing the total to more than 40.8 million tests conducted during the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests increased to 5.8% this week, officials said. The rolling average seven-day positivity rate for cases as a percentage of total tests dropped to 4.3%, down from 4.7% one week prior.
Read more here.
Steps Chicago Could Take if COVID Metrics Keep Rising, According to City's Top Doc
Chicago officials detailed this week what steps health officials could take in order to curb the increasing coronavirus metrics across the city, including providing proof of vaccination and establishing capacity limits.
In a Facebook Live event, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said some private establishments have already started requiring proof of vaccination, and the city may follow.
"Might we begin requiring proof of vaccination for more activities and public spaces? Yes, I think we might," Arwady said. "I certainly am more interested in that than I am in needing to do some of the major shut downs."
Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, alderman for Chicago's 35th ward, said officials might consider mitigations like limiting capacity thresholds at various establishments, similar to what the city did during a major COVID surge last year.
"One option would be limiting the number of people that can attend a bar or restaurant, ya know, capping it at 50% perhaps or less," Rosa said.
Read more here.
Winnebago County Officials Issue Disaster Proclamation Amid Surging COVID Cases, Hospitalizations
Officials in Winnebago County have issued a disaster proclamation amid increasing numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the area.
In a press release, Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli has declared a local disaster for a period of seven days, retroactive to Wednesday.
According to the release, the declaration will lend additional support to the Winnebago County Health Department, as well as emergency management agencies for the county and for the city of Rockford.
The proclamation also opens up funding from both state and federal sources to combat the rising number of cases and hospitalizations.
Read more here.