Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.
One of the state's 11 health care regions will see enhanced coronavirus mitigation restrictions go into effect Thursday as the areas' metrics continue to rise.
Meanwhile, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state health officials on Wednesday laid out plans for the future distribution and administration of a vaccine when it becomes available.
Here are the latest updates from across Illinois on the coronavirus pandemic today (Oct. 22):
‘You Are Not Immune,' Lightfoot Gives Warning to Young People As Indoor Bars Close
As Chicago officials announce the shut down of indoor bar service and early closures of non-essential businesses, Mayor Lori Lightfoot reminded young people that the coronavirus can still reach them.
Lightfoot warned young people that they "are not immune" to COVID-19 Thursday as the city sees a major surge in virus cases over the past week.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said that during contact tracing efforts, health officials have found that people ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 39 spend "most of their time" at bars and restaurants in the city.
"We know bars are significant for the spread, especially among younger Chicagoans," Arwasy said.
On Monday, Arwady warned specifically against inviting people over for home gatherings. She clarified Thursday that most Chicagoans spreading the virus likely contracted it from a bar or restaurant, bringing it into the home.
As of Thursday, indoor dining can remain open through city, but indoor bar service must close beginnign at 6 a.m. Friday. Arwady said bars are more likely to spread the virus because they are considered more a "gathering space."
"People are less likely to be out just with their family (at bars)," Arwady said. "And more likely to have more interactions that perhaps you're not just at a table with your family."
Arwady added that the "loud environment" of a bar likely adds to the likelihood of coronavirus spread as more people have been seen to remove masks and speak close together.
Restrictions Heightened Even More in 1 Illinois Region as Positivity Rate Rises Again
Increased restrictions will soon begin for one Illinois region already under heightened mitigations due to rising positivity rates during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
Region 1, which has been under increased restrictions, including the suspension of indoor dining and bar service, since the start of the month, will now move to "Tier 2 mitigations."
Beginning Sunday, gathering sizes must be limited to 10 people instead of 25 and only six people will be allowed per table at restaurants, a drop from 10, the governor said.
Here's the full list:
Bars and Restaurants
- Reduce party size from 10 to six individuals
Meetings, Social Events and Gatherings
- Maximum indoor/outdoor gathering size of 10 individuals
- Applicable to professional, religious, cultural and social group gatherings
- Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning
- This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general business guidance, such as office, retail, etc.
- Not applicable to sports, see sports guidance
- Maintain lesser of 25 people/25 percent of capacity
- No groups more than 10 individuals
- Does not apply to fitness
These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places, officials said.
“We’ve said all along that if things don’t start to turn around after two weeks in Tier 1, we can add more stringent measures to help usher in the progress we need to see to get things more open again,” Pritzker said in a statement.
According to Pritzker, the region - which holds Rockford, Dixon and Galena - has seen its positivity rate rise by nearly two points since Oct. 14 - a trend seen statewide. As of Thursday, the region's positivity rate was at 11.9%, well above the 8% threshold required by the state.
The announcement comes on the same day heightened mitigations begin in another Illinois region.
Chicago Shuts Down Indoor Bar Service Again, Restricts Hours for Businesses as Cases Spike
Chicago will once again shut down indoor bar service and force non-essential businesses to limit hours as city officials warn a second surge of the coronavirus is underway.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the new restrictions during a Thursday briefing, suspending indoor bar service just weeks after reopening such establishments as colder weather begins to limit outdoor options.
The restrictions will also force non-essential businesses to close their doors by 10 p.m.
The newest restrictions, which take effect at 6 a.m. Friday and continue for at least two weeks, include:
- Business curfew on non-essential businesses beginning at 10 p.m.
- In effect nightly from 10 p.m. -6 a.m.
- Last call for serving liquor at 9 p.m.
- Take-out and curb-side pick-up at restaurants still permitted
- Bars, breweries, and taverns without a food license are prohibited from operating any indoor service
- Increased emphasis of current guidelines
- Max. 6 people in your personal bubble (e.g., no household gatherings >6 people of non-household members)
- Face coverings in all indoor and outdoor public settings
The city warned that if the positivity rate increases above 8% for three straight days, the city will once again close indoor dining as well. Currently, the seven-day positivity rate is at 6.4%, marking a rise that health experts say can't be explained by an increase in testing.
Currently, Chicago is reporting an average of more than 600 new coronavirus cases daily, the "highest daily rate since the tail end of the first surge at the end of May," officials said. On Thursday, Lightfoot said the average daily case rate had increased by more than 50% in the last week.
As of Monday, Chicago was seeing a seven-day rolling average of 508 new cases per day, according to the city's coronavirus data dashboard. The increase marks a significant jump from the roughly 300 new cases per day rolling average the city was seeing just three weeks earlier when restrictions were eased.
The rise in cases also comes with a "worrying increase" in hospitalizations, officials said.
According to city data, hospitalizations for non-ICU COVID patients and suspected cases were up 45% since Sept. 22.
"We are no doubt, whatsoever in the second surge," Lightfoot said Thursday. "This is what it looks like."
She said while the surge is not surprising, she attributed it largely to the fact that COVID thrives in places "where people let their guard down."
Watch Live: Lightfoot, Chicago's Top Doctor to Update Reopening Plan at 1 p.m.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city's top doctor are expected to update the city's coronavirus reopening plan Thursday afternoon.
Details on what the update might include weren't immediately available, but the pair scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. in Chicago's City Hall.
Lightfoot warned Monday that some phase three restrictions could be brought back as the city enters what she said was a "second surge" of coronavirus.
"To further fight the spread of COVID-19, the city is considering additional measures in the coming days, including bringing back restrictions on businesses," a release from the mayor's office read Monday.
In a press conference to "sound the alarm" this week, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city won't wait until the state-mandated 8% positivity threshold to increase restrictions.
Both Lightfoot and Arwady declined to specify which restrictions would be among the first brought back.
"We will be looking to, you know, make decisions about what needs to happen in the publicly regulated spaces, but the most important thing is people's behavior in their own homes and with those they love," Arwady said.
Lightfoot warned that if the numbers continue rising, the city could see returns to phase three restrictions.
"We will not hesitate to take the steps to save our city and save our residents," she said.
New Coronavirus Restrictions Go Into Effect Thursday in Illinois' Region 5, Pritzker Says
As coronavirus cases continue to surge around the state of Illinois, one of the state's 11 healthcare regions will see enhanced mitigation strategies put into place as a result of increasing positivity rates.
According to data available through the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, has exceeded the 8% threshold for its seven-day positivity rate for three consecutive days.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that the region will see new coronavirus mitigation standards put into place on Thursday, including a prohibition on indoor dining and bar service.
There will also be outdoor seating and cut-off times of 11 p.m. on a daily basis for those eateries and taverns.
Gatherings of more than 25 people are also dramatically restricted under the proposed mitigation strategies, and party buses are also banned under the rules.
Ezike Reveals What it Would Take to Achieve ‘Herd Immunity' With Coronavirus Vaccine
On Wednesday afternoon, Illinois health officials laid out their plans for the distribution and administration of a future vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, detailed what would be required for the immunization to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Ezike, speaking at a daily press conference held by Illinois state officials Wednesday, said that in order to achieve so-called “herd immunity” with the vaccine, approximately 80% of the state’s population would have to receive the treatment.
“Once a safe and effective vaccine is available, CDC planning assumptions indicate that 80% of the population would need to be immunized to achieve this herd immunity,” Ezike said. “That’s when they think a sufficient proportion of the population would be immune to this disease, which would then make spread very unlikely.”
Under the provisions of the state’s “Restore Illinois” plan, Phase Five would only be reachable when a vaccine or effective treatment was made widely available for the virus. That phase would eliminate all restrictions levied by state officials, including occupancy limits and limits on gathering sizes.
The vaccine, which is still in development by a myriad of companies around the world, is of course not publicly available yet, but the CDC has asked state governments to begin putting together their plans to distribute the vaccine quickly and effectively to the general public when it does become available.
According to Illinois health officials, the vaccine will be distributed to local health departments through the I-CARE immunization registry, and those departments will then administer the vaccine to individuals in those communities.
Those in vulnerable populations, including first responders, healthcare workers, and staff and residents of long-term care facilities, would be given first priority for the vaccine when it becomes available.
The vaccine would then become available to the general public as production ramps up, and Illinois officials say that the treatment will be made available at no cost once it is ready for public use.
Illinois Releases First Shipments of Rapid Antigen Tests Across State
Illinois on Wednesday sent its first shipments of rapid antigen tests to local health departments in the state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced.
The shipments include more than 200,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests, which will be used in pilot programs "to gather more data about their accuracy and sensitivity," Pritzker said.
"For now, the majority of the initial tests delivered to us are going to local health departments directly, ensuring resource access and flexibility on a local scale across the entire state," Pritzker said. "That means, depending on the needs of the community, the local health department can choose to distribute their tests for any of a number of localized needs, including for K-12 settings, first responders, federally qualified health centers, or homeless service organizations, as well as an array of other options."
The early shipment will also be used to launch pilot testing in K-12 schools, long-term care facilities and state-owned residences.
Abbott's newest BinaxNOW rapid tests hit the market last month and were distributed to states "en masse" by the federal government.
The millions of new tests from Abbott Laboratories are about the size of a credit card and can be developed with a few drops of chemical solution.
Federal health officials say about half of the nation’s daily testing capacity now consists of rapid tests.
The federal government is allocating the tests to states based on their population, rather than helping them develop a strategy based on the size and severity of their outbreaks.
Still, the rapid tests have posed problems when it comes to reporting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some states lump all types of tests together in one report, some don't tabulate the quick antigen tests at all and others don't publicize their system. Because antigen tests are more prone to false negatives and sometimes require retesting, most health experts say they should be recorded and analyzed separately. But currently the vast majority of states do not do that and post the results online.
Illinois had not been including such antigen tests in its numbers until last week as state health officials said antigen tests previously comprised less than 1% of tests performed and were not included before due to a "limited number of antigen tests and limited information about antigen test accuracy."
"Currently, this Abbott BinaxNow test has FDA emergency use authorization for people suspected to have COVID-19 within the first seven days of symptom onset," Pritzker said. "In other words, we’re still learning more about what the test’s role could be in screening efforts and other settings. Here in Illinois, we’ll take what we learn from the data about accuracy of results and scale up or adjust our programs as needed. At the end of the day, our main focus is just getting the best tests out to as many people as possible – we’ve had more success in that effort compared to many other states, and we’ll keep working at it as long as we’re fighting this pandemic."
The state expects to continue receiving shipments of the tests from Abbott and the federal government on a weekly basis through at least the end of the year, totaling more than 3 million tests for Illinois, officials said.
The tests are manufactured in Illinois and Abbott has hired more than 2,000 employees in their new plant in Gurnee as the company works to keep up supply, Pritzker said.
Illinois Officials Detail Plans for Future Distribution, Administration of Coronavirus Vaccine
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced Wednesday that the state has begun to formulate plans for the distribution and administration of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus when it becomes available in the future.
According to the governor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked every state in the nation to create a distribution plan in line with the agency’s recommendations, and Illinois’ plan will circulate around usage of the I-CARE registry, which tracks immunizations for children throughout the state.
According to health officials, the ultimate goal among health officials will be to vaccinate up to 80% of the state’s population when the treatment becomes publicly available. At that point, Ezike says that the state will have achieved a sufficient amount of “herd immunity” to keep the virus from spreading through the population again.
Achieving that “herd immunity” will not come in the form of a mandate to receive the vaccine, Ezike said, reiterating what health officials have been saying about a potential vaccine since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The vaccine will not be mandated,” Ezike said. “We will work to provide information about vaccines and the importance of vaccines, and also about the approval process.”
To help distribute the vaccine, state health officials will make the treatment available to local health departments through the I-CARE registry. That registry tracks immunization records for children in the state.
“Working through I-CARE means that we’re being as efficient as possible in our preparations for when a vaccine is ready, all while ensuring safety every step of the way,” Pritzker said.
When that vaccine becomes available, state health officials say that priority access will be given to vulnerable populations, including frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and staff and residents of long-term care facilities in the state.
Ezike said that the plan is to ultimately ramp up production to where anyone in the state can receive the vaccine, but warned that the process could potentially take “months and months” to complete.
While some healthcare providers may charge a small fee to administer the treatment, Ezike says that the state’s plan is for there to be no cost to individuals to receive the vaccine, and that “no one will be turned away from getting a vaccine due to an inability to pay.”
While some residents have expressed concern that the vaccine process may be rushed in an effort to get it out to the general public, both Pritzker and Ezike reassured residents that any vaccine purchased and distributed by the state will have gone through the rigorous requirements necessary to keep the population safe.
“Illinois will not distribute a vaccine until we have one that is proven safe and effective,” Pritzker said. “We have a highly qualified team of experts from the private and public sectors teamed up to evaluate the public data and process when the vaccine data is made available over the coming weeks or months, and I’ll make sure that you can hear from them when the time comes.”
DuPage County Sends Message to Residents Ahead of New Coronavirus Restrictions
“We need to act and take this virus seriously," Karen Ayala, executive director for the DuPage County Health Department, said in a statement. "Although some people may feel tired of COVID-19, this is not the time to let your guard down. Everyone must come together to slow the spread of this virus in our communities to prevent illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths related to COVID-19. The actions we take today will directly influence what happens in our schools, businesses, and communities in the coming weeks."
DuPage is one of four suburban counties that will see enhanced coronavirus restrictions go into effect on Friday after their regions exceeded the 8% positivity rate threshold for three consecutive days.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday afternoon. The new restrictions include the closure of indoor service at restaurants and bars as well as increased limitations on gathering sizes and sports activities. All party buses will also be banned.
Region 8, which holds DuPage and Kane counties, has seen its positivity rate spike dramatically, rising from 5.6% on Oct. 8 to 9% on Oct. 17, the last date for which data is currently available.
Region 7, which is comprised of Will and Kankakee counties, will also see those stricter mitigations begin Friday and Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, will have the new rules go into effect on Thursday.
Illinois Reports 4,342 New Coronavirus Cases and 69 Deaths as Positivity Rate Rises Again
Illinois health officials reported 4,342 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, along with 69 additional deaths, as the statewide positivity rate in testing again increased.
In all, 355,217 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the state during the pandemic, according to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported Wednesday were the highest since mid-June and brought the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities to 9,345.
In the last 24 hours, 66,791 tests were returned to state laboratories, meaning that the state has performed 6,950,105 total tests during the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate increased once again, going up to 5.7%, an increase from the 5.5% reported Tuesday, which was also up from the day before. That number is the highest the state has reported since early June.
According to new data, hospitalizations rates also increased. As of Tuesday evening, 2,338 people were hospitalized with coronavirus, with 502 patients in the ICU and 194 on ventilators.
Wednesday's figures were reported one day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that new restrictions would take effect in four suburban counties to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Regions 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) and 8 (DuPage and Kane counties) have both exceeded the 8% positivity rate threshold for three consecutive days, automatically triggering enhanced mitigation efforts.
Those increases in positivity rates mean that all indoor dining and bar service will be suspended effective Friday in those four counties, and bars and restaurants will be required to close at 11 p.m., with outdoor service only.
Capacity limits will also be enforced for outdoor seating at those venues, and gatherings of over 25 people will be prohibited under the restrictions. All party buses will also be banned in those four counties.
Region 7 had already been under the enhanced mitigation rules earlier this year, but will now go back to those policies for at least the next two weeks, according to Pritzker’s office.
Region 8 has seen its positivity rate spike dramatically, rising from 5.6% on Oct. 8 to 9% on Oct. 17, the last date for which data is currently available.
Two other Illinois regions are currently under the enhanced mitigation rules, including Region 1 in northwestern Illinois. Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, will have the new rules go into effect on Thursday as a result of elevated positivity rates.
Indoor Dining, Bar Service Suspended in 4 Suburban Counties Amid New COVID-19 Restrictions
Residents in four suburban counties will see enhanced coronavirus restrictions go into effect on Friday, as Regions 7 and 8 in the state’s healthcare system have exceeded the 8% positivity rate threshold for three consecutive days.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday afternoon. The new restrictions will take effect Friday in the impacted counties, and will include the closure of indoor service at restaurants and bars in the affected counties.
Region 7, comprised of Will and Kankakee counties, had already been under the enhanced mitigation rules earlier this year, but will now go back to those policies for at least the next two weeks, according to Pritzker’s office.
Region 8, comprised of DuPage and Kane counties, has seen its positivity rate spike dramatically, rising from 5.6% on Oct. 8 to 9% on Oct. 17, the last date for which data is currently available.
Those increases in positivity rates mean that all indoor dining and bar service will be suspended effective Friday in those four counties, and bars and restaurants will be required to close at 11 p.m., with outdoor service only. Capacity limits will also be enforced for outdoor seating at those venues, and gatherings of over 25 people will be prohibited under the restrictions.
All party buses will also be banned in those four counties.
Two other Illinois regions are currently under the enhanced mitigation rules, including Region 1 in northwestern Illinois. Region 5, located in southeastern Illinois, will have the new rules go into effect on Thursday as a result of elevated positivity rates.
The news comes as Illinois continues to see record gains in coronavirus cases. The state has reported more than 26,000 new cases of the virus in the last seven days, a new record during the pandemic. The state’s rolling seven-day positivity rate now stands at 5.5%, the highest it has been since early June.
Those gains in cases and positivity rates have led to more talk of restrictions being put into place in Chicago and in other locations, but it is unclear at this time whether any statewide mandates could be put into effect to address the issues.
‘Not About Punishing Anybody:' Officials Defend COVID-19 Restrictions in Suburban Counties
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the decision to re-impose coronavirus mitigation strategies in parts of the state are meant to be temporary and are based on science and contact tracing.
Those restrictions, which mainly target bars and restaurants, were chosen very carefully, Pritzker says, and are meant to put a stop to spiraling positivity rates and case numbers.
“It’s not about punishing anybody,” he said. “We didn’t pick it because it sounds good or because we want to do it. It’s because all studies done about bars and restaurants show they’re significant spreading locations, and we’re trying to stop that as best we can so that those places can reopen indoor service.”
Illinois Health Officials Identify 3 Primary Locations Where COVID-19 Spreads Most Easily
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says that contact tracing and a multitude of studies have shown that there are three primary locations where coronavirus is spreading in Illinois and the rest of the United States.
“The top three places that come up over and over again statewide are people’s workplaces, schools and restaurants and bars,” she said. “The one thing we can immediately act on is bars and restaurants.”
That data point poses a major problem, as state health officials try to walk a delicate line between allowing businesses to remain open, for children to continue receiving as much in-person education as is safely possible, and to allow bars and restaurants to continue to serve customers.
Ezike broke down each of those challenges in her remarks Tuesday.
“In terms of the workplace, there are simply people who can’t work from home,” she said. “We’re not going to not have people go to school. We’ll continue to let local health departments and school districts decide on what will keep children and teachers safe. The one thing we can act on is bars and restaurants.”
These Illinois Regions Could See Additional COVID-19 Restrictions Due to Rising Positivity Rates
As enhanced coronavirus restrictions go into effect in four different healthcare regions in Illinois, there are still more regions where additional mitigations could soon be implemented.
As of Tuesday, there are four more regions in the state that are currently seeing increasing positivity rates that have exceeded 7%. If those regions exceed an 8% positivity rate for three consecutive days, then they too would have additional COVID-19 mitigation strategies put into place.
If any region hits that rate, then indoor dining and bar service would be suspended, and gatherings would be restricted to 25 or fewer people.
Here's a breakdown of the regions that are nearing mitigation thresholds:
Region 3 (Western Illinois)
This region, which includes Springfield, is dangerously close to the 8% threshold that would trigger the enhanced restrictions, currently sitting at 7.5%.
That rate has shot upward in recent days, as it had been sitting at 5% as recently as Oct. 8. The region has seen 10 straight days of positivity rate increases, and could be one of the next regions to trigger restrictions.
Region 4 (Southwestern Illinois)
This region, located next door to St. Louis, has already had enhanced coronavirus restrictions put into place this year, but could be heading back in that direction, as the region’s seven-day positivity rate now sits at 7.4%.
The region’s hospitalization numbers will also merit watching, as 27% of the region’s hospital beds are available in the event of a surge in COVID-19 patients. The state will trigger restrictions if that number dips below 20%.
Region 9 (McHenry, Lake Counties)
This region has seen its positivity rates shoot upward in recent days, rising from 5.7% on Oct. 8 to 7.5% on Oct. 17.
Hospitalization rates are on a very slow ascent in that region, but the region still has plenty of availability of both regular hospital beds and ICU beds, according to the IDPH.
Region 10 (Cook County outside of Chicago)
This region has one of the lower positivity rates in the state, but is still trending upward, going from 5.2% earlier this month to 7.1% as of Oct. 17.
Another statistic to monitor in that region is the hospital availability in the event of a surge in coronavirus cases, as that number sits at 28% as of Oct. 20
Will Illinois See Another Stay-at-Home Order? Here's What Gov. Pritzker Says
As multiple regions across Illinois start to see heightened restrictions due to increased positivity rates during what's being described as a "second surge" of the coronavirus pandemic, could the state see another stay-at-home order?
It's unlikely, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who noted the state's previous success in targeted mitigations.
"That's not something we're considering right now," Pritzker said when asked about the potential for another order during a press briefing Monday.
Pritzker said the state plans to continue with its current strategy of implementing restrictions in specific locations seeing increased positivity rates.
"We have resurgence plan in place," he said. "It has worked as regions have gone into it and they've come out of it."
Under the current plan, regions that exceed an 8% positivity rate for three consecutive days begin to see added restrictions, such as the suspension of indoor dining and bar service. If numbers remain too high after a two-week period, the state can either choose to allow those restrictions to remain in place, or can implement additional rules.
What Steps Pritzker Says You Should Take If You Are Bringing People Into Your Home
Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged Illinois residents to be "very careful" when hosting gatherings as the holidays near and coronavirus cases in the state continue to climb.
Though Pritzker said bars and restaurants are noticeable locations where the virus has spread, he added that private gatherings are a major source for spreading.
"I'm not saying you can't do that," Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.
He explained that Illinois residents can have the number of people over to their homes according to their region's mitigations, but should wear a mask and keep six feet of distance at all times.
With the holidays approaching, Pritzker encouraged residents to continue following guidelines for indoor gatherings and have hand sanitizer available for guests.
"These are all things we’ll have to get used to, especially in this winter season when we all want to get together with friends and family," Pritzker said.
Illinois Department of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike last week provided guidance for gathering with loved ones during the upcoming holiday season. Among the guidance was:
- If you are hosting a holiday gathering, limit the number of guests.
- Try to have as many activities outside as weather permits.
- If your gathering needs to be inside, try to increase air flow by partially opening a couple windows.
- Please prepare yourself and your guests to wear masks indoors when not eating and drinking.
- Limit your activities in the two weeks before your gathering and ask your guests to do the same. This will decrease the risk of exposure to the virus and further spread.
- Think about the seating arrangements if you are planning a meal. Keep members of the same household together and try to put space between one family and another.
- When serving food, avoid a buffet-style or potluck setting and consider having one person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
- Try to limit the number of people going in and out of areas where food is being prepared – like the kitchen and dining room.
- If you are sick, do not travel and do not attend gatherings and celebrations. Even if your symptoms are mild, you may still be able to infect others.
- To help stave off illness, get your flu vaccine now. It takes the body several weeks after receiving the vaccine to build up antibodies that will help protect you from flu, so get it now to help protect you and others during the holidays.
On Monday, Chicago's top doctor urged residents to not invite anyone into their homes or apartments as the city experiences multiple coronavirus "warning signs" and enters what officials are calling a "second surge" in the pandemic.
"Please do not invite anyone over to your house or apartment," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Monday. "This is not the time for non-essential gatherings, period."
Gov. Pritzker Resumes Daily Coronavirus Briefings
Gov. J.B. Pritzker will once again deliver daily coronavirus briefings alongside the Illinois' top public health official as coronavirus cases rise statewide during the pandemic, sparking concerns over a "second wave" of the virus.
"While we continue to see a safer pandemic landscape than back in the spring - in terms of positivity, hospital capacity, and community spread - and safer than much of the Midwest, things have changed," Pritzker announced on Oct. 19. "Every region of the state has started to move in the wrong direction. Cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths are rising statewide. So to ensure you have utmost transparency on where the state is headed, Dr. Ezike and I will resume these COVID-19 briefings on a daily basis until Illinois returns to a better standing in our handling of this pandemic."
Pritzker had delivered daily updates early on in the pandemic, but those updates were reduced to weekly briefings over the summer "as Illinois began to see relative success in keeping this virus at bay."
Watch the daily updates live here.