Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.
Illinois health officials on Wednesday reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths in a single day since the pandemic began with 238 fatalities.
As Chicago and Illinois officials prepare to roll out a coronavirus vaccine once one is available, there are still many questions left to be answered. Take a look at what we know below.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Dec. 3):
Health Officials Investigating Large Wedding Held at Suburban Hotel in Violation of Coronavirus Restrictions
Cook County health officials are investigating after a large wedding was held Wednesday at a north suburban hotel in violation of restrictions on gathering sizes implemented earlier this year to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The wedding took place Wednesday night at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, located at 2855 Milwaukee Ave in Northbrook. A Village of Northbrook official on Thursday clarified that the hotel is technically outside of the village's limits, noting that the village was aware of reports of the wedding.
Video taken from outside the hotel showed the bride and groom entering a luxury car for what appeared to be a send-off from the reception as a large crowd gathered nearby, waving to the couple, with few members of the group wearing masks and no social distancing in place.
A spokesperson for Hilton said in a statement that the hotel is independently operated but the company was "shocked" by the event and contacted its ownership.
“The safety and wellbeing of our guests and Team Members has always been and remains our top priority," the statement from Hilton reads. "We were shocked to learn that one of our independently owned and operated hotels chose to host an event that disregarded both local regulations and Hilton's brand standards. We immediately connected with the hotel’s ownership to understand the facts and are now addressing our expectations with them directly."
"Hilton prides itself on having industry-leading cleaning and event protocols to protect our guests and Team Members during the COVID-19 pandemic. This incident is not representative of our portfolio of hotels and the extraordinary levels of hospitality offered by our hard-working Team Members every day," the spokesperson added.
The owners of the hotel did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The Cook County Department of Public Health said it was investigating legal options over the event.
"We are appalled that this event was allowed to proceed. We are considering citing the hotel and are investigating our legal options today," CCDPH's Senior Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Rubin said in a statement.
Illinois Reports 10,959 New Coronavirus Cases and 192 Deaths
Illinois health officials on Thursday reported 10,959 new coronavirus cases and 192 deaths, matching the second highest number of deaths in a single day after setting a record the day before.
The 10,959 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases reported Thursday lifted the total number of cases to 759,562 statewide since the pandemic began, officials said. IDPH noted for the second consecutive day that some data reported was delayed from the past holiday weekend but did not specify which data was delayed.
The deaths reported Thursday brought the death toll to 12,830, according to IDPH. Illinois saw its largest one-day death toll ever reported in a 24-hour period the day before, with 238 fatalities on Wednesday. Thursday's 192 deaths matched the now second highest single-day record set during the first wave of the pandemic on May 13.
A total of 106,778 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, IDPH said. That figure was up from Wednesday's number following a slowdown over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when daily testing numbers were in the 60,000 to 80,000 range.
In all, the state has performed 10,806,364 tests since the pandemic began, officials said.
The state’s average rolling positivity rate on all tests conducted declined slightly to 10.4% on Thursday from 10.6% on Wednesday, after that figure increased for the two days prior. In the last seven days, the average positivity rate for individuals tested for the virus stands at 12.3%, which was down from 12.5% the day before.
A total of 5,653 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide as of Wednesday night, officials said. Of those patients, 1,170 were using ICU beds, authorities say, and 693 were on ventilators.
Gov. Pritzker Says He Will Get COVID Vaccine Once One is Approved
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he plans to get the coronavirus vaccine once one is approved.
The governor said he would "absolutely" get the vaccine to help ease any possible concerns but "not jumping ahead of someone more at risk."
Pritzker said decisions on who get the vaccine and when will be determined by the FDA, but noted that a vaccine advisory team will also be analyzing trial data to determine if the vaccines are safe.
"There are competing views where some want to be at the front and some don't want to at all," Pritzker said.
Pritzker said the state is expecting more than 100,000 doses, according to early estimations, for its initial shipment.
The CDC said the first doses should go to healthcare workers who care for COVID-19 patients and those working in nursing homes when a vaccine becomes publicly available.
The "first mass air shipment" of COVID-19 vaccines arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Friday as airlines and pharmaceutical companies continued to prepare for large-scale distribution.
Hospital Stay Lengths Decrease in Second Wave of COVID-19: Illinois' Top Doctor
Compared to the spring, patients have remained in the hospital for a shorter period of time in the second wave of the coronavirus, according to Illinois' top doctor.
During a daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said patients, on average, stay in the hospital with COVID-19 for seven to nine days as opposed to nine to eleven days in the first wave.
"There is some good news," Ezike said. "You have a much better chance of surviving COVID in hospitals as opposed to wave one."
She added that though the average has dropped, some patients' stays can last up to weeks or months at a time. Ezike said hospital stays for patients in long term care facilities also shrunk by "a day or two."
Much of the reason for the shorter hospital stays has to do with increased medical research and more tools such as utilizing proning, Remdesivir and antibodies, according to Ezike.
Illinois Reports Highest Coronavirus Deaths in Single Day With 238 Deaths and 9,757 New Cases
Illinois health officials on Wednesday reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths in a single day since the pandemic began with 238 fatalities, as well as 9,757 new cases.
The one-day death toll was the largest ever reported in a 24-hour period, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The 238 deaths brought the statewide death toll to 12,639 since the pandemic began. The previous record was set on May 13, when 192 deaths were reported.
The 9,757 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus lifted the total number of cases to 748,603, officials said. IDPH noted that some data reported was delayed from the past holiday weekend but did not specify which data was delayed.
A total of 85,507 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, IDPH said. That number was down from more than 116,000 conducted the day before, which was the first time in five days that it was back in the six-figure range after a slowdown over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when daily testing numbers were in the 60,000 to 80,000 range.
In all, the state has performed 10,699,586 tests since the pandemic began, officials said.
The state’s average rolling positivity rate on all tests conducted increased again to 10.6% on Wednesday, up from 10.4% Tuesday which was an increase from 10.2% the day before. In the last seven days, the average positivity rate for individuals tested for the virus stands at 12.5%, which was an increase from 12.2% on Tuesday.
A total of 5,764 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide as of Tuesday night, officials said. Of those patients, 1,190 were using ICU beds, authorities say, and 714 were on ventilators.
Q&A: What We Know So Far About a COVID-19 Vaccine in Chicago
As Chicago and Illinois officials prepare to roll out a coronavirus vaccine once one is available, there are still many questions left to be answered.
The city's top doctor, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, answered several during a Q&A session at a briefing Tuesday.
Here's what we know so far:
When will a vaccine likely arrive in the city?
Chicago is expecting to see its first doses of the vaccine in the third or fourth week of December, with multiple candidates currently before the Food and Drug Administration as they seek emergency approval this month.
Who will be among the first to get it?
After the CDPH held its press conference on Tuesday to lay out plans, the CDC voted by a 13-1 margin to include healthcare workers who care for COVID-19 patients and those working in nursing homes in the very first group that will receive the vaccine when it becomes publicly available.
The big question will be which group would be next to receive the vaccine, with those with underlying medical conditions, critical workers and senior citizens all potentially next in line for the treatment. The CDC has yet to make that determination, but with shipments of vaccines accelerating as more is produced and as more companies come to market with their own treatments, that decision will need to be made quickly.
How will the vaccine work?
The vaccine will be given in two doses.
"Both of these first two vaccines that we're talking about, you get a first dose and then you get a second dose either 21 or 28 days later," Arwady said.
Here's What Gov. Pritzker Has Said About Another Stay-at-Home Order for Illinois
As health officials across the U.S. brace for a potential surge in coronavirus cases following the Thanksgiving holiday, might Illinois see another statewide stay-at-home order? Here's a look at what Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said most recently on the topic.
He last discussed the possibility on Monday, saying in his daily briefing on the pandemic that he has always kept another stay-at-home in his consideration, but that his hope was to avoid one.
"I've been very transparent with everybody that when we put the Tier 3 mitigations in place, it's short of a stay-at-home order, because we may be able to avoid a stay-at-home order. And that's our goal. That's our hope," Pritzker said, referring to the enhanced restrictions that took effect in all of the state's 11 health care regions last month to slow the spread of the deadly virus. "And if everybody follows the mitigations and if we don't see as big a surge as is being discussed nationwide, we'll be able to avoid a stay-at-home order."
Pritzker added that Tier 3, which shut down indoor bar and restaurant service and imposed restrictions like stricter capacity limits on several industries was "right up against the list of mitigations that you could put in place."
"Obviously there are a number of other things that are left but a stay-at-home order is about the furthest that one could go," he continued.
If the state's metrics do not continue to improve or if there is a major surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, Pritzker said another stay-at-home order is possible but it would be different from the one issued in March at the outset of the pandemic.
"It wouldn't be exactly like the one in the spring if it did happen, but it's not something right now that we think we're going to have to do," he said.
"What we're worried about is when you see the hospitalization numbers - we're at a peak that we haven't seen before, at least we've just come off that peak by a little bit," Pritzker continued. "If we got a surge like we've had over the last three to four weeks come on top of where we are now, that would be something that would be extraordinarily worrisome for all of us."
Read more here.
Pritzker Recommends COVID-19 Testing for Residents Who Traveled for Thanksgiving Holiday
During his daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday, Pritzker said that the Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging residents who traveled for the holiday to get tested for the virus between five and seven days after their return to the state.
“If you didn’t socially distance at Thanksgiving and spent time with people who are not in your own family bubble, you may feel fine now – but you could nevertheless be passing COVID-19 onto others without knowing it,” he said.”
Chicago Could See Coronavirus Vaccine Within the Month, Health Officials Say
Chicago health officials said the city could receive the first doses of coronavirus vaccines within the month.
Chicago Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday that she expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines for emergency use authorization over the next few weeks.
"Based on the preliminary information that's been shared, we expect that they will be granted emergency use authorization because both companies have at least preliminarily showed excellent safety data and excellent efficacy data with a vaccine that looks to be more than 90 to even 95% protective," Arwady said. "But the first step is that the FDA has to grant that emergency use authorization."
Should the FDA grant emergency use authorization, Arwady said she expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make the recommendation to vaccinate the highest risk healthcare workers and long term care facilities first.
When the city eventually receives a COVID-19 vaccine, Arwady explained health officials plan to begin vaccinating all 37 Chicago hospitals for workers, but waiting on patients, as well as all 128 long term care facilities and assisted living facilities.
"That work has already been done," Arwady said. "We're in the final stages of completing the paperwork. But that's where we'll start. And then we've got a lot of plans to go from there as more vaccine is available and rolled out."
Arwady and a medical director for the Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Candace Robinson both said the city could see a vaccine in the third or fourth week of December should the approval process go as anticipated.
Robinson explained that initial vaccine supplies will be limited, with likely not enough for all healthcare works immediately.
"Based on some numbers recently released by the federal government, our initial planning is based on us receiving, Chicago specifically receiving, somewhere between 20 and 25,000 doses of vaccine," Robinson said.
In clarifying the city's plan, Arwady said the 20,000 to 25,000 range is the first doses of the vaccine, with expectations to receive allotments every week once available.
Robinson added that health officials will adjust their initial vaccination plan depending on how many doses Chicago receives.
Arwady said she is uncertain of an exact timeline for Chicagoans to be vaccinated, but antipated the campaign will last over one year. If an individual has already contracted COVID-19, she said he or she should still receive the vaccine.
Chicago Includes 46 States, Puerto Rico in Coronavirus Travel Order Update
Chicago health officials updated the city's coronavirus travel order Tuesday to include 46 states and Puerto Rico requiring a 14-day quarantine or pre-arrival negative test.
The emergency travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine for travelers from certain locations was issued in July in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus and is updated every two weeks.
Last month, the city changed the way it reports states being added to its travel order, categorizing states in a color-coded map to determine which requirements are in effect for travelers, from the original requirement of a 14-day quarantine to a negative test result depending on the severity of the state's outbreak.
Two weeks ago, the order was updated to include 46 states and Puerto Rico - but Tuesday's update moved more states in the "red" category, which has the most stringent quarantine requirements.
As of Tuesday, 19 states were categorized as "red" states, meaning travelers must quarantine for 14 days when coming to Chicago from these states: South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Alaska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma and Idaho.
Only three states are listed as "yellow," meaning they do not require a quarantine: Maine, Hawaii and Vermont.
The remaining 27 were listed as "orange," meaning they require a 14-day quarantine or negative test prior to arrival in Chicago.