Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that all regions in Illinois will continue to have strict restrictions — despite some nearing the threshold for reduced restrictions — due to Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.
“The number of patients fighting COVID-19 in our hospital systems statewide still eclipses our spring peak by 23%. We had hoped to see more progress in lowering hospitalizations by now,” Pritzker said during his Monday news briefing.
Pritzker said that health officials are warning that the virus may continue to surge due to the holidays.
“No region will be downgraded from our current Tier 3 mitigations for the next few weeks, even if they might be on track to meet those metrics. We are still very much in a precarious place, and we’ve got to take the time to evaluate any Thanksgiving effects before we make any premature adjustments,” he said.
“He [Dr. Fauci] said the massive number of indoor gatherings by people visiting family and friends across the nation will very likely bring a post-Thanksgiving surge, and he believes this is no time to pull back on mitigations,” Pritzker said.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said those who spent Thanksgiving with others outside their immediate household should get tested later this week.
Illinois has seen a decreasing positivity rate since November 14. On Monday, officials reported 6,190 new cases and 85 additional deaths.
“I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households. The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December,” Pritzker said.
“We’ll be watching the data closely to monitor for a Thanksgiving-related surge in our case count, our positivity rate,” he added.
Ezike said there is “hope on the horizon” as the state awaits a vaccine to be approved by the FDA but she urged residents to continue practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and other precautions.