Pritzker asks Illinoisans to stay home for three weeks amid COVID-19 concerns


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(The Center Square) – Work from home if possible for the next three weeks, that’s the recommendation from the Pritzker administration.

In a Veterans’ Day COVID-19 news release announcing more than 12,000 positive and probable cases, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 145 covid related deaths. That’s the highest since 159 on May 27, according to data on the department’s website. The highest toll of 191 was on May 13.

The department on Wednesday also reported 951 COVID-19 patients were in the ICU, the highest since 980 ICU beds on May 28th. There were 404 COVID-19 patients on ventilators as of Wednesday, the highest since 437 on June 8th. There were more than 1,000 open ICU beds and nearly 4,200 open ventilators statewide as of Wednesday. 

“Work with your employer to plan to work from home unless it is necessary for you to be in the workplace,” the statement said. “We ask employers to make accommodation for this. Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open.”

The statement also suggested only taking part in essential activities.

“For the next three weeks, stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries,” the statement said.

“I want to remind everybody how deadly this virus is. It hasn’t abated, it hasn’t changed, it is out there,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday in Oak Park at a ribbon-cutting for a veterans’ home. “No matter what we do, there is a level of risk, and it is especially risky frankly for those who are seniors. People who are over 60. As the age goes up, so does the risk.”

The entire state is under Tier 1 restrictions which prohibits indoor service for bars and restaurants. Region 1, in the northwestern part of the state, is under Tier 2 restrictions with stricter measures for businesses.

“Well we’re certainly looking at statewide mitigations,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “I do think local governments though right now, if they’re not imposing mitigations, or enforcing the ones that are in place, they’re doing it wrong.”

Some communities had imposed more relaxed mitigation earlier this month when Pritzker’s restrictions on indoor service kicked in.

After ten days of allowing 25 percent capacity instead of zero, Sangamon County and Springfield city officials are imposing prohibitions on indoor bar and restaurant service.

Aldermen there report business owners are feeling targeted and not being shown the data or being given due process rights. The city is also looking to expand a mask ordinance with $50 fines for individuals not wearing masks in all places of public accommodation.

Pritzker is scheduled to provide a COVID-19 update at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.


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