CHICAGO – Three additional Regions will join Region 1 in additional mitigations beginning Wednesday, including Regions 5, 7, and 8. During a COVID-19 briefing Monday, Gov. Pritzker warned Illinois residents, “The virus is winning the war right now.”
“As the weather turns cooler and more activity is driven inside, we may have a real problem on our hands,” Gov. Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 press briefing Monday. “The national experts at Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, University of Illinois, and other leading major healthcare institutions say it’s only going to get worse. They’ve challenged Americans to recognize that we’re at war and to act accordingly.”
During Monday’s briefing, it was announced cases in Illinois are up 380% since October 1st with statewide positivity up over 180% over the last five weeks with deaths per day up 150% over the same time period.
“Today Region 7 and 8 share in this unfortunate trajectory. Each now has a positivity rate above 13.0%, meaning just about 1 in every 7 tests in these areas is coming back positive. Per the WHO (World Health Organization) the benchmark for reopening is no more than 1 in every 20 tests.” Pritzker explained Monday.
Pritzker took a swing at local officials Monday afternoon who the Governor claims have stood idly by playing politics watching inflating numbers, rather than enforcing pandemic mitigations at a local level.
“Too many officials across the state are ignoring their local public health departments, and doing nearly nothing to assist their residents in following even the most basic COVID-19 guidelines. Some elected leaders are allowing this continued rise in positivity to balloon out of control while taking no action. These Mayors, City Councils, County Boards, States Attorneys need to take some responsibility for keeping their constituents safe. I promise them that responsibility pales in comparison to what could come when the hospitals in your area are filling up, and there aren’t enough nurses and doctors to save their constituents’ lives.” Pritzker warned urging meaningful action to be taken.
Monday, the Kankakee County Health Department reported 502 new cases since Saturday, resulting in 2,027 active cases and 48 hospitalizations in a county just over 100,000. Local officials have stood idly by since October 23rd mitigations first went into effect, with little to no effort to enforce such mitigations put in place.
“We want to be able to hang out with our friends, we want to be able to enjoy our favorite restaurants. We want to have our large weddings and all the other things that have been sacrificed since March “ IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Monday. “But there are only a few paths to get us there. One is by reducing the amount of virus that’s circulating so we no longer see sustainable spread. We do this by limiting our group sizes as well as wearing a mask and keeping our distance. Unfortunately, there is a significant number of people who are not following this recommendation and by not doing these things the virus just continues to get ahead of us. Continues to spread, leading to more and more cases, more and more hospitalizations, and unfortunately more deaths.”
Dr. Ezike warned of residents not taking a vaccine due to the process being rushed hours after Pfizer announced a COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with BioNTech SE proved to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID infections.
“The review of laboratory and clinical data that is used to ensure the safety and effectiveness of any vaccine are still being followed,” Dr. Ezike said, encouraging residents to learn more about how vaccines are approved.