Pritzker administration officials urged Illinoisans to reconsider their Thanksgiving holiday plans as new cases of COVID-19 continued to threaten medical facilities’ abilities to cope with it.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said people should consider if their Thanksgiving plans could jeopardize loved ones who may be; more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus.
“Things are getting worse and so those initial plans you made several months ago, even several weeks ago may need to change,” she said. “Do your plans include those who are over 60? Do your plans include those who have medical conditions that put them at high risk? Are some of your intended guests pregnant? You have to be thinking about all of these things before you bring additional people into your home.”
Ezike said the best thing to do is share the holiday virtually.
“You really have to consider doing it that way,” she said.
Illinois reported 11,632 new cases of COVID-19 Monday as the virus continued to spread.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said another 37 people have succumbed to the disease.
The state has 585,248 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 with 10,779 deaths.
IDPH said 5,581 people were hospitalized with the illness, including 1,144 in intensive care and 514 on ventilators.
The statewide positivity rate was 12.5%.
“Stay home if you can and wear a mask if you need to go out,” Gov. JB Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing. “What doctors, nurses and health care workers are experiencing right now in the hospitals is a crisis as challenging as the one they experienced last spring.”
The state is averaging 5,200 COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization which is nearly 400 higher than the highs the state experienced in the spring. Pritzker said Illinois is experiencing fallout from neighboring states “with nearly no mitigations and no national strategy to reduce the spread.”
As he has before, Pritzker warned that the increasing number of hospitalizations is placing a burden on hospitals and their staffs.
“If we wait to take action until our hospitals are full, it will be too late,” Pritzker said. “Countless patients, COVID patients as well as those with all of the other ailments and injuries that bring people to the hospital, will die unnecessary deaths because there aren’t enough beds or people to staff them.”
While Pritzker again urged people to follow mitigation efforts to bring the virus under control, the state’s mayors said they need help in getting people to comply with them.
The Illinois Municipal League called on Pritzker to convene a working group to “better coordinate coronavirus response efforts at the community level…”
IML Executive Director Brad Cole said the group would be comprised of mayors and other local officials. He said there has been a lack of communication from the state and little support in enforcing mitigation measures.
“The governor has called for an ‘All-in’ approach to address this crisis, yet has rebuffed requests to work hand in hand with local officials to implement solutions that protect our residents,” he said in a statement. “Simply blaming mayors for rising cases does nothing to address the underlying issues preventing more effective mitigation results, including distrust of state mandates among residents and the need for state and county enforcement of mitigation measures.”
Cole said cities aren’t always getting the cooperation from county public health departments in enforcing mitigations on bars and restaurants. Indoor service is currently prohibited in bars and restaurants in all parts of the state because of the resurgence of the virus.
Last week, two state lawmakers said the General Assembly should conduct hearings into the state’s handling of the pandemic. They said the General Assembly needs to be more involved in the process.
Pritzker said the legislature in May formed a commission to oversee the response and that lawmakers already serve on it.
Contact Doug Finke: email@example.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr
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November 16, 2020 at 04:58PM