CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County is joining the city of Chicago and state of Illinois in urging people to stay at home as much as possible for the next few weeks, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, as new infections continue to set records statewide.
The Cook County Department of Public Health has issued a stay-at-home advisory for suburban Cook County, effective Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 a.m. The advisory will stay in place at least 30 days.
Officials are urging suburbanites to stay at home as much as possible for the next 30 days, and only leave for essential activities like shopping for groceries, going to work if you can’t work from home, attending school if you can’t take classes remotely, visiting the doctor, getting tested for COVID, visiting the pharmacy, or getting a flu shot.
If and when you do go out, you should wear a mask over your mouth and nose in public, and keep at least six feet of distance from anyone who doesn’t live with you.
Officials also urged people to limit gatherings as much as possible the next 30 days, and avoid attending or hosting gatherings with people who don’t live in your household. Holiday gatherings should be postponed, held virtually, or limited to very few people to limit the spread of the virus.
Public health officials also encouraged employers to allow as many employees as possible to work from home.
“Now more than ever, we must come together to stay apart,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, CCDPH Senior Medical Officer and Co-Lead. “We know limiting gatherings with friends and family can be hard, but we also know that virtual celebrations will save lives.”
The county’s stay-at-home advisory goes into effect the same day as Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s nearly identical advisory for the city of Chicago. In addition to urging people to stay at home as much as possible for the next 30 days, Lightfoot on Wednesday said she is ordering new restrictions to limit meetings and social events to 10 individuals (both indoors and outdoors), which will also go into effect on November 16. This capacity limit applies to events such as weddings, birthday parties, business dinners/social events, and funerals, and is applicable to any venue where a meeting or social event is taking place, including meeting rooms.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also has recommended people stay at home as much as possible for at least the next three weeks.
For three days in a row, Illinois has set records for new cases of COVID-19, including 12,702 new confirmed or probable cases reported on Thursday. Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday a statewide mandatory stay-at-home order might be needed soon if the new wave of the pandemic continues to surge.
“We are left with not many tools left in our toolbox to fight this. The numbers don’t lie. 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,” Pritzker said at his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday afternoon. “With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there, but right now that seems like where we are headed.”
Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said every metric used to track the progress of the pandemic has been going up significantly since the beginning of October.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, since Oct. 1, there has been a 459% increase in the average daily case count, a 250% increase in the average case positivity rate, a 217% increase in the average number of deaths per day, a 179% increase in COVID hospitalizations, a 161% increase in ventilator usage by coronavirus patients, and a 135% increase in intensive care unit bed usage by COVID patients.
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