Cook County issued a stay-at-home advisory Friday, urging residents to only leave home for essential activities to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The guidelines for residents of suburban Cook County are in alignment with the city of Chicago's advisory that was issued the day before. Both take effect at 6 a.m. Monday and will last at least 30 days, officials said.
The advisory reads as follows:
- STAY HOME. As much as possible, please refrain from any non-essential activities and stay home. If you must go out for essential activities, such as work, to attend school, get tested for COVID-19, get a flu shot, or to shop for groceries:
- Wear a mask consistently and correctly over your nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with others and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others who do not live with you.
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water.
- LIMIT GATHERINGS. As much as possible, please refrain from attending or hosting gatherings with people who do not live in your household. This includes recommendations to postpone holiday gatherings or host virtual celebrations to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- LIMIT TRAVEL. As much as possible, do not engage in any non-essential travel, including vacations or trips to visit relatives or friends.
- WORK FROM HOME. As much as possible, CCDPH is calling on employers in suburban Cook County to re-establish telework protocols for staff who are able to work from home.
“Now more than ever, we must come together to stay apart,” the Cook County Department of Public Health's Senior Medical Office Dr. Rachel Rubin said in a statement. “We know limiting gatherings with friends and family can be hard, but we also know that virtual celebrations will save lives.”
County officials said Friday that more than 99,000 people in suburban Cook County have been diagnosed with coronavirus, with positivity rates in testing standing at 15%.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a similar advisory on Thursday, saying the city had reached a "critical point" in the second surge of the coronavirus pandemic.
The advisory, which was issued alondside other restrictions, "calls on all Chicagoans to follow clear measures to protect their community and help us flatten the curve."
“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “The gains we have made this past year have been the result of our willingness to work together. Even in this difficult moment, we will continue to unite as we always have for our city in order to halt the rise we’re seeing, shake out of the fatigue we’ve been experiencing, and make the crucial difference in what our future is going to look like.”
Here's what is included in Chicago's new advisory:
• Only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food,
or receiving deliveries. If you do leave home, practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times.
• Do not have gatherings in your home with anybody outside of your household (except for essential staff such as home health care workers or educators), even with trusted family or friends.
• Avoid all non-essential, out-of-state travel; if travel is essential, quarantining or testing negative prior to travel is required, depending on which state a traveler is originating from.
• Comply with city and state orders, including wearing face coverings, limiting gatherings, and mandating early closure of non-essential businesses at 11 p.m.
• Practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others if you go outside to get fresh air.
• Use remote modes of communication like phone or video chat instead of visiting friends or family, especially on holidays such as Thanksgiving.
According to the city, "residents are strongly advised to adhere to the advisory." It will be in effect for 30 days.
In addition to the advisory, the city will also impose new restrictions for meetings and social events, limiting both to no more than 10 people, inside or outside. The capacity limits, which also begin at 6 a.m. Monday, apply to events like weddings, birthday parties, business dinners, social events and funerals, the city said. They do not apply to industries that already have restrictions, such as fitness facilities, retails stores, personal services and movie theaters, however.
The latest restrictions also come one day after the Illinois Department of Public Health urged residents to stay in their homes and only leave for "essential activities." The health department also asked employers to let employees work from home if possible and recommended against gatherings or travel.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has hinted at the possibility of another statewide stay-at-home order could be in store as the state's coronavirus metrics rapidly climb.
"I'm very concerned as we approach Thanksgiving," Pritzker said earlier this week. "I'm very concerned as these numbers rise. And as a result, as I've told you, for days, you know, we are looking at really all the possibilities - the possibility that we would have to go back a phase, the possibility that we would have to ultimately have a stay-at-home order - those are not things that I prefer to do. But those are things that these numbers are not sustainable."