NOTE: Watch the press conference live beginning at 11 a.m. in the player above.
Cook County officials are set to discuss COVID mitigation measures Thursday nearly one week after encouraging heightened measures across the county due to a rise in suspected omicron cases.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and leaders from Cook County Health and the Cook County Department of Public Health are expected to hold a press conference beginning at 11 a.m.
Their address comes just after Chicago announced plans to begin requiring proof of vaccination at several indoor spaces in the city, including bars, restaurants and gyms in January in an attempt to curb a surge in cases.
County health officials warned Friday that "suspected cases of the omicron variant are rising... and are likely to escalate quickly," prompting them to issue new mitigation recommendations in Chicago's suburbs. It remains unclear if Thursday's address will include additional mitigations.
"CCDPH is issuing Increased mitigation practices for individuals and businesses," the county health department said in a release. "CCDPH urges suburban Cook County residents to follow them to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must continue to work together to keep each other healthy and to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system."
The first confirmed omicron variant case in suburban Cook County was reported last week in an asymptomatic person who was fully vaccinated, though it remains unclear if the person had received a booster shot.
Additional cases were expected as officials said there were other cases "being genotyped for omicron."
Now, with the holidays approaching, area health officials are urging the public and businesses to follow the following mitigations:
VACCINATION and BOOSTERS:
- If you are fully vaccinated, get your booster once you are eligible.
- Two dose vaccines – at least 6 months post your second dose (16 years and older)
- One-dose vaccines – at least 2 months post your original dose (18 years and older)
- If you are not vaccinated, please get vaccinated. Vaccination against COVID-19 will protect against severe disease and death, even with the emergence of the omicron variant. Initial data indicates that boosters are especially important now, to provide extra protection against this new variant. Boosters are available for all adults, and for people 16 years and older with the Pfizer vaccine.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, please do not gather indoors with others outside your household.
- Anyone wishing to celebrate the season with others is strongly urged to get a COVID test 2-3 days before the event, and to test again the morning of the event. Stay home if you have a positive test and follow CDC isolation guidance.
- Wear masks to protect yourself and others.
- Workplaces are strongly urged to hold virtual holiday gatherings to avoid large groups of congregating employees.
- Establishments are urged to require patrons to be fully vaccinated for entry, and/or provide proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of entry.
- Large gatherings are defined by the CDC as those where many people from multiple households meet. Large events include conferences, trade shows, sporting events, festivals, concerts, or large weddings and parties.
- Masking requirements are still in effect for indoor spaces and activities. All people age 2 years old and older who can medically tolerate it must wear a mask in indoor public settings.
The state of Illinois crossed several thresholds on Wednesday, once again breaking the 2021 record for daily COVID cases and reporting its two millionth coronavirus case since the pandemic began.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state recorded 16,581 confirmed and probable cases of COVID in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day total so far this year.
The number is also the second-highest single-day COVID case number since the start of the pandemic, falling short of the 17,608 cases that were recorded on Nov. 5, 2020.