With the coronavirus rapidly spreading across Illinois and hospitals seeing overwhelming numbers of patients, state health officials have urged residents to play it safe this Thanksgiving.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, has encouraged Illinoisans to avoid traveling to areas of high risk, which she explained includes many places.
"Let's not gamble with a virus that has already stolen from us, robbed from us," the doctor said. "...Things are getting worse and so those initial plans that you made several months ago or several weeks ago, they may need to change."
In line with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are advised to celebrate virtually or only with members of their own household. For those who want to visit with other family members or friends, it's recommended you quarantine for 14 days prior to a gathering.
"We're in for a rough ride," Ezike said. "Just how bumpy it really gets depends on each of us. Let's hang in there together and be all in, Illinois."
Illinois health officials reported 11,632 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases Monday, marking the 11th consecutive day in which the state has seen more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.
At his daily coronavirus news briefing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker acknowledged the state was already seeing the consequences of significantly rising cases rates and hospitalizations - even before winter.
Illinoisans can expect much worse, he said, if mitigation measures aren't followed leading up to Thanksgiving.
""I'm very concerned as we approach Thanksgiving," Pritzker said last week. "I'm very concerned as these numbers rise."
The governor also warned the numbers seen across the state were "not sustainable," and while he doesn't prefer it, Illinois would revert to a stay-at-home order if necessary.
In the city of Chicago, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a stay-at-home advisory last week in response to surging cases, she pleaded with residents to cancel their normal Thanksgiving plans.
"A major portion of spread is happening in our homes and private venues," the mayor said Thursday. "In these venues people feel safe and let guard down. We must reverse this trend."