NOTE: NBC Chicago will offer a live stream of the press conference beginning at 1 p.m. Watch live in the player above.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to deliver an update Monday on the latest COVID-19 surge in Illinois as cases in the state and across the country rise to the highest numbers on record.
The governor is scheduled to deliver an address at 1 p.m. from the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. (Watch live in the player above)
The address comes on the same day Chicago and Cook County begin new mitigations aimed at reducing spread of the virus, requiring vaccination proof for those wishing to dine inside restaurants, drink at bars, work out at gyms or attend events at entertainment venues.
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Illinois Secretary of State offices will also be closed starting Monday due to a surge in infections.
Also, Illinois General Assembly leaders announced two of three planned session days would be canceled this week due to the surge. Leaders said session days the following week would also likely be canceled.
Anticipating a wave of COVID-19 patients, Pritzker last week urged hospitals to delay elective surgeries and other non-emergency procedures to keep more beds open.
“We are preparing for a post-holiday surge, and with hospital staff already working so hard, I appreciate the work hospital leadership is doing to assure capacity, including postponing non-emergency surgeries and procedures to ensure their ability to handle serious COVID cases and other emergencies without putting patients at risk,” the governor said in a statement.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, revealed Thursday that more than 500 patients per day are being admitted to hospitals because of severe COVID cases.
“We want to make sure that there is a hospital bed available for anyone for any reason,” she said. “(Whether it’s) cancer complications, appendicitis, stroke, heart attack, car crash, or COVID-19.”
In addition to delaying non-emergency procedures, hospital leaders are also implementing other strategies, including stepping up telehealth visits, reallocating staff resources and working to expand ICU capacity.
Pritzker also extended state waivers to allow out-of-state health care employees to work in Illinois, and is encouraging all hospitals to implement new CDC guidance that accelerates return-to-work timeframes for asymptomatic COVID patients.