Illinois' health department issued new recommendations urging residents to stay home and work from home as much as possible.
The guidelines, which come just before the the Thanksgiving holiday, recommend that for the next three weeks, residents "stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries."
Here's a look at the recommendations:
Work from Home if Possible
For the next three weeks, work with your employer to plan to work from home unless it is necessary for you to be in the workplace. We ask employers to make accommodation for this. Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open.
Participate in Essential Activities Only
For the next three weeks, stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries.
Limit Travel and Gatherings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts tell us that gatherings and travel in and out of communities present a high risk of spreading the infection. In our current situation, with a rising prevalence of the virus, attending even small gatherings that mix households, or traveling to areas that are experiencing high rates of positivity, is not advised and is potentially dangerous. Please, travel only if necessary.
Illinois health officials again reported more than 12,000 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Wednesday, setting a record for the highest single-day report of new cases for the second consecutive day as the state also marked the deadliest day of the pandemic since May.
The new recommendations follow a warning from Pritzker that the health department was looking at the possibility of added restrictions on a region level or possibly even statewide.
Already, all of Illinois' healthcare regions were under increased mitigations from the state, shutting down indoor dining and bar service and limiting gathering sizes.
On Wednesday, three of those regions entered Tier 2 of the state's mitigation plan, limiting party sizes at tables for outdoor dining and further restricting gathering sizes. Only one other region was already under such restrictions.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said some Illinois regions have seen more than triple the number of coronavirus hospitalizations than they did during the first wave of the pandemic and a group of doctors warned that the state could "surpass its ICU bed capacity by Thanksgiving."
The state saw its hospitalization numbers continue to increase on Wednesday, with 5,042 residents currently in hospitals due to coronavirus-like illnesses. Of those patients, 951 are currently in intensive care units, and 404 are on ventilators.
All three statistics are the highest metrics the state has seen in their respective categories since the first peak in COVID-19 cases earlier this year.