coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Top Doctor on New CDC Quarantine Guidance, Wedding at Suburban Hotel

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' top doctor offered up some recent clarification surrounding new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortening the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Meanwhile, management of a north suburban hotel that hosted a large indoor wedding reception has apologized, saying they "sincerely regret" allowing the event to proceed in violation of the state's coronavirus restrictions.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Dec. 4):

People Under the Age of 18 May Not Receive Early Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine: Ezike

Preliminary doses of the coronavirus vaccine may not be given to people under the age of 18, Illinois' top doctor said Friday.

"I will put the caveat that at this point, we know that this vaccine might be for 18 and over until we hear otherwise," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. "So there are still many moving parts to the plan."

Her comments echo those made by Dr. Jose Romero, the chair of the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. Romero said Friday he hopes to see trials testing COVID-19 vaccines in young children beginning in the second quarter of 2021. If the vaccines prove to be safe and effective, children under the age of 18 could get their shots in the second half of next year, he said.

"I don't think we're going to see it in the first half of this coming year," he said during an interview on MSNBC, adding that kids could still get a vaccine before the fall semester. "We need to see how the studies progress. We need to see that data in order to make sure that it is safe and effective in children."

A vaccine cannot be distributed to children until it's been rigorously tested in children in clinical trials.

Pfizer, which submitted an emergency use application to the Food and Drug Administration for its coronavirus vaccine on Nov. 20, is already testing kids 12 and older.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC on Monday that the company expects to test its vaccine on children between the ages of 11 and 17 later this year, but he added that testing on children under the age of 11 won't begin until sometime next year.

Illinois Reports 10,526 New Coronavirus Cases and 148 Deaths

Illinois health officials on Friday reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, lifting the total number of cases to more than 770,000 statewide, along with an additional 148 deaths.

The 10,526 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases reported Friday lifted the total number of cases to 770,088 since the pandemic began, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Friday's metrics marked the third time in the last four days that the state has reported daily new cases in the five-figure range.

The 148 deaths reported Friday brought the death toll to 12,974, according to IDPH. Illinois saw its largest one-day death toll ever reported in a 24-hour period on Wednesday, with 238 fatalities, followed by 192 deaths on Thursday, which matched the now second highest single-day record set during the first wave of the pandemic on May 13.

A total of 112,634 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, IDPH said. In all, the state has performed 10,918,998 tests since the pandemic began, officials said.

The state’s average rolling positivity rate on all tests conducted declined slightly to 10.3% on Friday, from 10.4% Thursday and 10.6% on Wednesday, after that figure increased earlier in the week. In the last seven days, the average positivity rate for individuals tested for the virus stands at 12.1%, which was down 12.3% on Thursday and 12.5% the day before.

A total of 5,453 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide as of Thursday night, officials said. Of those patients, 1,153 were using ICU beds, authorities say, and 703 were on ventilators.

Watch Live: Pritzker to Discuss COVID Vaccines in Illinois During Daily Briefing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to focus on a potential coronavirus vaccine during his daily COVID-19 update Friday.

What exactly the governor plans to discuss surrounding the vaccine remains unclear.

Previously, the governor has revealed that vials of the vaccine will be stored in the state's Strategic National Stockpile and has said there are no current plans for a statewide mandate.

 “There aren’t any mandates in place,” he said earlier this week. “It’s certainly something that is always under discussion. What I know is that we’re going to be focusing on those populations that are most vulnerable, and also the people who treat the most vulnerable, and not just healthcare workers, but others who may work with the most vulnerable.”

The CDC has voted 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.

Where COVID Vaccines Will be Stored in Illinois

Shipments of coronavirus vaccines that arrive in Illinois will be stored in the state's "Strategic National Stockpile," Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed.

"We're simply bringing the vials of the vaccine that get delivered to Illinois to our Strategic National Stockpile," Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday. "In Illinois, that's just what you do when you receive - whether it's PPE for distribution across the state or any other items, obviously very important ones as PPE was early on in this, I mean it still is - and so that's what the Strategic National Stockpile is intended to be for."

The governor was responding to reports that Peoria would serve as a "hub" for the vaccine in the state, which NBC affiliate WEEK reported Thursday. The exact location of the stockpile, however, remains unclear.

Pritzker declined to offer details at how the vaccine doses would be secured, but said Illinois' Emergency Management Agency was working with state police and other authorities to "make sure that the vaccines get to where they're supposed to get to."

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Strategic National Stockpile program aims "to deliver critical medical assets to the site of a national emergency."

"The SNS assets are available from the federal government to save lives, prevent disease, and facilitate basic health care service when there is a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or an industrial accident," IDPH's website reads. "The SNS contains drugs, antidotes, and medical/surgical supplies designed to enhance response to weaponized biological agents such as anthrax, plague, and tularemia. The SNS is built on the assumption that a natural or terrorism related biological event has the potential to rapidly strain, if not deplete, local supplies of medical materiel."

Illinois' Top Doctor Clarifies Latest Quarantine Guidance From CDC

Illinois' top doctor offered up some recent clarification surrounding new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortening the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that while the agency recommends people exposed to someone with the virus can stop quarantining after 10 days as long as they have no symptoms, it does not mean that someone won't develop symptoms after those 10 days.

"Risk of that happening is 1-10%," Ezike said.

She also noted that while people can stop quarantining after seven days if they also receive a negative test and no symptoms, "you still have to quarantine between the time you took the test and when you got the negative result."

Ezike said the change in guidance aims to encourage additional compliance.

"Better adherence can reduce stress by less infections," she said.

The new guidelines released Wednesday will allow people who have come in contact to someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days if no symptoms are reported, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result. That’s down from the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic.

Dr. Henry Walke, the agency’s coronavirus incident manager, said on a call with reporters that the sample for the negative test should be collected within 48 hours of the final day of quarantine.

“We continue to refine our guidance to prevent transmission and protect Americans,” Walke said. “Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to follow critical public health action by reducing the economic hardship associated with a longer period, especially if they cannot work during that time.”

Walke added that regardless of the length of quarantine, people should monitor their own symptoms for a full 14 days after an exposure.

The policy change has been discussed for some time, as scientists have studied the incubation period for the virus. The policy would hasten the return to normal activities by those deemed to be “close contacts” of those infected with the virus, which has infected more than 13.5 million Americans and killed at least 270,000.

While the CDC had said the incubation period for the virus was thought to extend to 14 days, most individuals became infectious and developed symptoms between 4 and 5 days after exposure.

Pritzker Urges Illinois Residents to Donate Blood During Pandemic, Holidays

Dec. 3: Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers daily coronavirus update for Illinois, urging residents to donate blood during the pandemic.

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.

Management of the hotel apologized Thursday, saying they "sincerely regret" allowing the event to proceed in violation of the state's coronavirus restrictions.

"The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry and our family-owned business," a statement from the the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook read. "However, our hope to keep the hotel afloat and employees working should not outweigh health and safety. We are committed to working with state and local health authorities to ensure our hotel is abiding by all safety measures and mitigation guidelines."

Management said staff "immediately reviewed" the hotel's bookings to "ensure any business that is inconsistent with the state’s guidelines are not held at this property."

"It will take time, but we hope to rebuild the trust of our guests, staff and community have placed in us for so many years,” Holly Allgauer-Cir, general manager for the hotel, said in a statement.

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."

Earlier Thursday, Cook County health officials said the venue will likely be issued "notices of violation" for allowing the event, which violated statewide restrictions on gathering sizes and indoor dining.

According to Cook County Health Department Co-Lead and Senior Medical Officer Dr. Rachel Rubin, the department plans to issue notices to the hotel for violating "at least a couple of different ordinances, including our order of not allowing indoor dining."

The violation notices likely won't result in immediately fines or penalties, Rubin said, but she noted that the department is still working with its legal team to determine next steps. Repeated notices are escalated to the Cook County State's Attorney's office, which can decide on penalties, if any.

Rubin said the newlyweds and attendees won't be cited for the event because "we don't cite individuals for their behavior." Other businesses involved in the wedding, such as caterers, could still receive violation notices, however.

"This event should not have happened," Rubin said. "It's put a lot of individuals in danger. I don't even know where to begin. This is the kind of thing that we've been trying to avoid and educate the community about since day one."

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