Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday in Chicago. | Photo: Illinois Department of Central Management Services.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged families not to travel and keep their holiday gatherings virtual this year. Pritzker also hinted that a mandatory stay-at-home order could be coming back in Illinois if the virus continues surging.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

“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,” he said.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike recommended people not to travel or attend any gatherings no matter what size they are.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also recommended residents to stay home as much as possible and only leave for “essential activities.”

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Health officials reported 12,702 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases on Thursday in Illinois with 43 deaths. The state’s seven-day positivity rate for testing was 13.9%.

On Wednesday, there were 5,042 COVID patients in the hospital, 956 COVID patients in ICU beds, and 438 COVID patients on ventilators.

“We never saw that number in wave one. This is an all-time high, and I am telling you that number is only going to increase,” Ezike said.

“I want to remind everybody how deadly this virus is. It hasn’t abated, it hasn’t changed, it is out there,” Pritzker said Wednesday in Oak Park at a ribbon-cutting for a veterans’ home. “No matter what we do, there is a level of risk, and it is especially risky frankly for those who are seniors. People who are over 60. As the age goes up, so does the risk.”

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The entire state is under Tier 1 restrictions which prohibit indoor service for bars and restaurants. Region 1, in the northwestern part of the state, is under Tier 2 restrictions with stricter measures for businesses.

“Well we’re certainly looking at statewide mitigations,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “I do think local governments though right now, if they’re not imposing mitigations, or enforcing the ones that are in place, they’re doing it wrong.”

The Center Square of Illinois contributed to this report.