UPDATE: Gov. Pritzker announced all of Illinois will enter Tier 3 mitigations this week. Read more here.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to make an announcement on statewide coronavirus restrictions during his daily coronavirus press briefing Tuesday, sources told NBC 5.
Details surrounding the announcement weren't immediately clear, though sources with knowledge said it is expected to include modified restrictions.
The governor has hinted at the possibility of additional statewide restrictions. Last week, he warned that a statewide stay-at-home order may be issued in the coming days if metrics don't turn around.
"The numbers don’t lie," Pritzker said at the time. "If things don’t take a turn in the coming days, we will quickly reach the point when some form of a mandatory stay-at-home order is all that will be left. With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there, but right now that seems to be where we are heading."
His warning came after state health officials issued guidance recommending that all 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."
IDPH also recommended everyone work with employers to work from home unless necessary to be in the workplace and issued another warning that "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."
Stay-at-home advisories took effect Monday morning in Chicago and suburban Cook County as coronavirus metrics continue to rise.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued the city's advisory alongside new restrictions on gathering sizes as she said the city has reached a "critical point" in the pandemic.
All 11 regions in the state are currently under some form of enhanced mitigations, including the closure of indoor dining and bar service as well as limitations on gathering sizes and more.
Most of Illinois remains under those Tier 1 restrictions, though several counties are under Tier 2, which increased limitations on gathering sizes and table sizes at bars and restaurants for outdoor dining.
If a region reaches Tier 3, elective surgeries could be suspended, gathering sizes could be restricted again, recreational spaces like gyms could be forced to close, salon and personal care services may be suspended, and nonessential retailers may be forced to shut their doors once again.
The governor's Tuesday update comes after multiple warnings about hospitalizations in the state, which have consistently increased in recent days.
Illinois had previously reached its hospitalization peak roughly six months ago, but as the state's latest wave lifts the number of average patients in Illinois facilities well above 5,000, the state is seeing record numbers.
As of Monday, Illinois was averaging more than 5,200 coronavirus patients in state hospitals, a number that is 400 more individuals than the spring high, and a 70 percent increase in the last two weeks alone, Pritzker said.
The state saw its hospitalization numbers jump Tuesday with 5,887 residents currently in hospitals due to coronavirus-like illnesses, an increase of more than 300 patients in the last 24 hours. Of those patients, 1,158 are currently in intensive care units, and 545 are on ventilators, also marking increases for both.
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.
"If we wait to take action until our hospitals are full, it will be too late, and countless patients – COVID patients as well as those with all the other ailments and injuries that bring people to the hospital – will die unnecessary deaths because there aren’t enough beds or people to staff them," Pritzker said Monday. "So we are keeping in close touch with hospitals on an individual, system-level and region-level basis to monitor who is at risk of running out of staff or ICU beds in the next three weeks. But I want to be clear. We can’t create new staff for a hospital that’s filled to the brim. We can’t staff more ICU beds if a hospital’s personnel get sick outside of work because people in their communities refuse to wear a mask or follow any of the mitigation rules."
On top of the current surge, Illinois hospitals are preparing for the potential that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays could lead to increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Several Illinois hospitals are now reporting more coronavirus patients than during the spring peak as medical professionals warn of trying months ahead, information provided by multiple hospitals reveals.
"Thanksgiving dinners have the potential to be super spreader events," Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention for the hospital system, said Monday. "It's so critically important that we do not do that. The numbers are devastating right now. Our health care system cannot absorb doubling or tripling of those numbers. It might happen if we have many super spreader events arising out of Thanksgiving."