Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that he and state health officials will no longer be holding daily coronavirus briefings, but will provide updates "as needed."
Pritzker said he and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will end in-person COVID-19 updates because coronavirus numbers are "moving in the right direction."
"I’ll start with some housekeeping that might bring some relief to our tireless press corps this holiday season," Pritzker said. "We are moving away from daily press conferences, and instead returning to an as-needed basis."
Friday marked the 42th consecutive weekday coronavirus press briefing for the Illinois officials and the 155th since the pandemic began.
"I can promise you’ll still be hearing from Dr. Ezike and me often, as we provide regular updates on vaccine distribution, the status of our regions in the Restore Illinois plan, and general statewide COVID-19 trends," Pritzker said.
Friday also marked a major milestone in Illinois' fight against the coronavirus, as state officials report over 17,000 people in the state outside Chicago have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Pritzker announced.
The death toll of the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois surpassed the grim milestone of more than 15,000 lives lost on Friday as the state reported an additional 181 deaths and 7,377 new confirmed and probable cases.
According to the latest data from IDPH, Friday's figures bring the total number cases of the virus to 886,805 and the number of deaths to 15,015 statewide.
In the last 24 hours, state officials say 112,292 test specimens have been turned in to state laboratories, bringing the statewide total to 12,259,595 during the pandemic.