Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said residents should prepare to continue dealing with coronavirus for at least another six months as he issued a plea for people to "keep social distance."
"We don't have to do this forever," Pritzker said while speaking in Quincy, Illinois, where he said positivity rates are on the rise. "You've seen there's progress on vaccines and treatments and, you know, we're not there yet. We're not there yet. And frankly, we're not going to be there until 2021. In my humble opinion, I'm not a doctor, but that's what my observation is, that we're not going to be able to take off the mask and go about everything we were doing, you know, seven, eight months ago, for a few more months, maybe six plus months. So let's all work together on this."
Illinois reported 1,231 new cases of the virus on Monday, along with 18 additional deaths, a sharp increase from the single death reported Sunday.
Monday's case number was lower than recent days, but the state also reported roughly 10,000 fewer test results in the last 24 hours compared to the previous day.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate also continued to rise, going up to 3.8% from the 3.6% reported a day earlier.
Illinois health officials recently said four state counties reached "warning" levels for their coronavirus metrics. Adams, LaSalle, Peoria and Randolph counties were all named by the state's health department for reaching "two or more COVID-19 risk indicators."
According to IDPH, the concerning numbers coming out of the four counties are due in large part to "outbreaks associated with business and risky behavior," pointing to large social events and gatherings, travel to hotspots, increases in cases among people 29 and younger, inconsistencies in compliance with requirements and more.
Pritzker delivered his coronavirus update from Adams County Monday, sounding the alarm for area residents.
"What's happening here in Adams County is alarming and if these trends continue in the negative direction, the state will need to take immediate action to impose additional mitigations to slow the spread and keep more people from getting sick," he said. "I want to urge the residents of Quincy and all of Adams County to follow the mitigations more rigorously. Wear a mask everywhere you go in public, do not enter a bar or restaurant or any enclosed space if it looks crowded, and keep six feet of physical distance."
He continued to plea with residents to wear masks and follow public health guidance.
"This coronavirus is just horrible. But if we all took off our masks, it would be much, much worse," he said. "We just have to learn to live with it."
Last week, Pritzker warned that the state would not hesitate to take "immediate action" should coronavirus metrics continue to rise, a warning he reiterated on Monday.
"And we're counting on local residents to hold your elected leaders accountable. Demand that they take action because if they don't, they'll drive the entire region back to closed bars and restaurants and greater job losses or even another stay-at-home order," Pritzker said.