While some coronavirus metrics in the state of Illinois are beginning to trend downward, including positivity rates and hospitalizations, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that it is “too early” to know whether the Thanksgiving holiday had an effect on those statistics.
Speaking at his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday, Pritzker says that although the state is nearly two weeks beyond Thanksgiving, the typical incubation time for coronavirus, the state is not out of the woods yet in terms of a potential upswing in cases, hospitalizations or deaths related to the holiday.
“It’s likely too early for us to have yet seen the bulk of Thanksgiving-related hospitalizations yet,” Pritzker said.
Even with recent declines in the number of patients hospitalized because of the virus, Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike both say that the hospitalization numbers in the state remain 14% higher than what the state saw during the spring peak of the virus, and that any surge in cases from Thanksgiving could have a huge impact on bed availability.
“So far, we haven’t seen our positivity rate start to creep back up, which is a good sign, but we also haven’t seen it substantially fall – not a good sign,” Pritzker said. “It may be that our mitigations are working to offset the expected surge in cases. But we won’t know that for sure for at least two more weeks.”
According to researchers, hospitalizations tend to be a so-called “lagging indicator” when it comes to coronavirus, usually lagging behind by one-to-two weeks from any increases in cases or hospitalizations.
With several holidays upcoming, and with hospitals still seeing limited availability of beds, Pritkzer and health officials are encouraging state residents to keep their guard up, continuing to abide by COVID-19 mitigation strategies and delaying travel planned for the holidays.