CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly two weeks after Thanksgiving, Gov. JB Pritzker said he’s encouraged that Illinois hasn’t seen a new wave of COVID-19 cases, but he warned that it’s too say for sure if a holiday surge is coming.
Pritzker said the state’s average positivity rate has remained relatively flat over the past week, and at the same time the number of people getting tested for the virus in Illinois has gone down, likely due to an uptick in demand for tests in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.READ MORE: Chicago Police Officer Shot, Wounded In Calumet Heights; One Suspect Also Shot
As of Monday, the state’s average case positivity rate stands at 10.3%, compared to 10.9% two weeks ago. The state’s case positivity rate climbed as high as 13.2% during the second wave of the pandemic, which started in early October.
“So far we haven’t seen our positivity rate start to creep back up, which is a good sign, but we also haven’t seen it substantially fall; not a good sign. It may be that our mitigations are working to offset the expected surge in cases, but we won’t know that for sure for at least two more weeks,” Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon.
The governor also said COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone down slightly over the past week, but are still 14% higher than they were during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring. He also noted hospitalizations always lag behind new cases, so “it’s likely too early for us to have yet seen the bulk of Thanksgiving-related hospitalizations yet.”
Pritzker said three out of four staffed hospital beds in the state are currently in use.
“That’s not the kind of statistic anyone should hang their hat on while infections are rising nationally, and states around us are running out of room at their hospitals,” he said. “These next four weeks may be the most crucial month of this entire pandemic. We quite literally have very limited leeway in our hospital systems to manage another surge. So mask up, keep your distance, and plan smaller more intimate holidays this year. Let’s give each other the greatest gift of all this holiday season: good health and a bright future.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Partly Cloudy And Breezy Overnight
Illinois is averaging 9,994 new cases per day over the past seven days, compared to an average of 11,339 cases per day two weeks earlier.
“I’m hopeful that some of the recent early improvement in our trends will continue, but to be clear, the numbers still have a long way to go to move away from what could reasonably be called the danger zone. In other words, the surge on top of a surge that national experts have said might define the holiday season is still the focus of our attention,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker and Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, with the December holidays coming up soon, people in Illinois need to continue taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
“As we spend more times indoors because of the colder temperatures, and as the holiday season continues, it’s essential that we implement all of our public health strategies at both the community level and the individual level,” Ezike said.
That means wearing masks in public, keeping your distance from others, limiting in-person contact outside your own household, avoiding non-essential indoor spaces and crowded outdoor spaces, and postponing non-essential travel. Ezike also stressed the need to increase testing to quickly identify and isolate people who have been infected with the virus, and to notify and quarantine anyone they’ve had close contact with.
“These actions, along with wide availability and high uptake of safe and effective vaccines will help us return to our everyday activities much sooner,” she said.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
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