Chicago and Cook County Stay-at-Home Advisories Take Effect – NBC Chicago


Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.

Stay-at-home advisories took effect in Chicago and suburban Cook County early Monday, with officials urging residents to only leave home for essential activities in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Nov. 16):

Illinois Reports 11,632 New Coronavirus Cases, 37 Additional Deaths

Illinois health officials reported 11,632 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Monday and 37 additional deaths.

Monday’s data from the Illinois Department of Public Health marked the 11th consecutive day in which the state has seen more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.

Those figures brought the total number of cases in the state to 585,248 since the pandemic began and lifted the death toll to 10,779, IDPH said.

A total of 90,612 new tests were performed over the last 24 hours, according to state health officials. In all, 9,161,453 tests have been performed during the pandemic.

The state’s rolling seven-day average positivity rate dropped slightly to 12.5% after fluctuating nearly three points in the previous week. Sunday’s positivity rate was 12.8%, which was up from 12.6% on Saturday, 13.2% on Friday, 12.6% on Thursday, 12.4% on Wednesday and 12% on Tuesday. It was 11.4% the previous Monday and 10.6% on Nov. 8.

The state saw its hospitalization numbers continue to increase on Monday with 5,581 residents currently in hospitals due to coronavirus-like illnesses. Of those patients, 1,144 are currently in intensive care units, and 514 are on ventilators.

All three statistics are the highest metrics the state has seen in their respective categories since the first peak in COVID-19 cases earlier this year.

Advocate Aurora Health to Address Coronavirus Surge in Illinois and Wisconsin

Leaders from the Advocate Aurora Health system are expected to speak Monday on the state of the coronavirus pandemic in both Illinois and Wisconsin.

The health system’s Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention Dr. Robert Citronberg, the Chief Aurora Medical Group Officer Dr. Jeff Bahr and Chief Nursing Officer Mary Beth Kingston are scheduled to speak in a virtual news conference at 11:15 a.m. They’re expected to take questions “on the sharp rise in cases in Illinois and Wisconsin, hospital surge plans and related topics,” according to a statement on the event.

Advocate Aurora Health serves nearly 3 million patients annually across more than 500 sites in the two states, the health care system says.

Stay-at-Home Advisories Take Effect in Chicago, Suburban Cook County

Stay-at-home advisories took effect in Chicago and suburban Cook County early Monday, with officials urging residents to only leave home for essential activities in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued the city’s stay-at-home advisory on Thursday, saying the city has reached a “critical point” in the second surge of its coronavirus pandemic.

The advisory, which was issued among other restrictions, “calls on all Chicagoans to follow clear measures to protect their community and help us flatten the curve.”

“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “The gains we have made this past year have been the result of our willingness to work together. Even in this difficult moment, we will continue to unite as we always have for our city in order to halt the rise we’re seeing, shake out of the fatigue we’ve been experiencing, and make the crucial difference in what our future is going to look like.”

Here’s what is included in Chicago’s new advisory:

• Only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food,
or receiving deliveries. If you do leave home, practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times. 

• Do not have gatherings in your home with anybody outside of your household (except for essential staff such as home health care workers or educators), even with trusted family or friends. 

• Avoid all non-essential, out-of-state travel; if travel is essential, quarantining or testing negative prior to travel is required, depending on which state a traveler is originating from.  

• Comply with city and state orders, including wearing face coverings, limiting gatherings, and mandating early closure of non-essential businesses at 11 p.m. 

• Practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others if you go outside to get fresh air. 

• Use remote modes of communication like phone or video chat instead of visiting friends or family, especially on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

According to the city, “residents are strongly advised to adhere to the advisory.” It took effect at 6 a.m. Monday and will be in effect for at least 30 days.

In addition to the advisory, the city will also impose new restrictions for meetings and social events, limiting both to no more than 10 people, inside or outside. The capacity limits, which also begin at 6 a.m. Monday, apply to events like weddings, birthday parties, business dinners, social events and funerals, the city said. They do not apply to industries that already have restrictions, such as fitness facilities, retails stores, personal services and movie theaters, however.

Cook County issued a similar advisory on Friday, also taking effect at 6 a.m. on Monday.

The advisory for residents of suburban Cook County reads as follows:

  • STAY HOME. As much as possible, please refrain from any non-essential activities and stay home. If you must go out for essential activities, such as work, to attend school, get tested for COVID-19, get a flu shot, or to shop for groceries:
    • Wear a mask consistently and correctly over your nose and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with others and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others who do not live with you.  
    • Wash hands often with soap and warm water.
  • LIMIT GATHERINGS. As much as possible, please refrain from attending or hosting gatherings with people who do not live in your household. This includes recommendations to postpone holiday gatherings or host virtual celebrations to limit the spread of COVID-19.  
  • LIMIT TRAVEL. As much as possible, do not engage in any non-essential travel, including vacations or trips to visit relatives or friends.  
  • WORK FROM HOME. As much as possible, CCDPH is calling on employers in suburban Cook County to re-establish telework protocols for staff who are able to work from home.  

“Now more than ever, we must come together to stay apart,” the Cook County Department of Public Health’s Senior Medical Office Dr. Rachel Rubin said in a statement. “We know limiting gatherings with friends and family can be hard, but we also know that virtual celebrations will save lives.”

The latest advisories were issued days after the Illinois Department of Public Health also urged residents to stay in their homes and only leave for “essential activities,” recommending against gatherings or travel and asking employers to let employees work from home if possible.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has hinted at the possibility of another statewide stay-at-home order could be in store as the state’s coronavirus metrics rapidly climb.

“I’m very concerned as we approach Thanksgiving,” Pritzker said last week. “I’m very concerned as these numbers rise. And as a result, as I’ve told you, for days, you know, we are looking at really all the possibilities – the possibility that we would have to go back a phase, the possibility that we would have to ultimately have a stay-at-home order – those are not things that I prefer to do. But those are things that these numbers are not sustainable.”

Illinois Reports 10,631 New Coronavirus Cases, 72 Additional Deaths Sunday

Illinois health officials reported 10,631 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Sunday and 72 additional deaths as the state’s positivity rate continues to climb.

Sunday’s data from the Illinois Department of Public Health marked the tenth consecutive day in which the state has seen more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.

A total of 84,831 new tests were performed over the last 24 hours, according to state health officials. In all, 9,070,841 tests have been performed during the pandemic.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate continued to climb, reaching 14.8% on Sunday. That marks a nearly 3-point increase in five days, rising from 14.7% on Saturday, 13.2% on Friday, 12.6% on Thursday, 12.4% on Wednesday and 12% on Tuesday.

The state also saw its hospitalization numbers continue to increase on Sunday with 5,474 residents currently in hospitals due to coronavirus-like illnesses. Of those patients, 1,045 are currently in intensive care units, and 490 are on ventilators.

Sheriff’s Office Suspends In-Person Visits at Cook County Jail

The Cook County sheriff’s office announced Sunday it will be suspending in-person visits at the Cook County Jail in hopes of warding off another coronavirus outbreak as cases rise across the county.

The suspension is effective Monday, the sheriff’s office announced, citing the rising case numbers as well as the stay-at-home advisory issued Thursday for Chicago and suburban Cook County.

“For months, detainees were able to safely meet with family and friends,” the sheriff’s office said, referring to the reinstitution of in-person visits in June after a shutdown during the virus’ initial spread. “Like detainees, the people who visit them come from the community, where current test positivity rates for Chicago and Cook County are at 15.6% and 15.2% respectively.”

At a news conference Thursday, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart implored people to take coronavirus precautions seriously, saying that an outbreak in the community could eventually enter the jail.

The sheriff’s office reported Thursday that 91 detainees and 63 staff members at the jail were currently positive for COVID-19. The testing positivity rate at the jail was between 1% and 2%, Dart said, well below that of the public.

As of Sunday, 133,874 Chicagoans had tested positive for the coronavirus, along with 117,227 residents of suburban Cook County, according to Chicago Sun-Times data.

The jail will continue to provide video visitation to detainees, the sheriff’s office said, and will reinstitute in-person visitation as “soon as it is safe to do so.”

Illinois Secretary of State DMV Facilities Closing for Nearly 3 Weeks Due to Spike in Cases

With the coronavirus pandemic worsening across Illinois, statewide driver services facilities will be closed for nearly three weeks starting Tuesday, Nov. 17, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Friday.

Facilities are expected to reopen on Monday, Dec. 7, according to a news release from state officials.

In the meantime, drivers will be able to conduct several types of transactions online including renewing a license plate sticker, renewing a valid driver’s license for qualified individuals and filing business services documents.

The expiration date for driver’s licenses and ID cards, White announced, will also be extended until June 1, 2021. The extension includes those who have February, March, April and May 2021 expiration dates.

Due to federal requirements, commercial driver license holders and commercial permit holders are excluded from the extension.

Those who are eligible for online driver’s license renewal will receive a letter from the Secretary of State’s office with a PIN necessary for online renewal, according to officials.

Seven facilities, which are listed below, will be offering drive-thru services for license plate sticker transactions only.

  • Chicago North 5401 N. Elston Ave.
  • Chicago South (opens Nov. 19), 9901 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
  • Chicago West 5301 W. Lexington St.
  • Rockford-Central 3720 E. State St.
  • Macomb 466 Deer Rd.
  • Springfield Dirksen 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
  • Tilton #5 Southgate Dr.

Nineteen facilities, including those in Bradley, DeKalb, Elk Grove Village, South Holland and West Chicago, will remain open for CDL written and road exams.

Gov. Pritzker on Illinois Coronavirus Testing: ‘Come Early’

As coronavirus testing sites in Illinois continue to reach capacity, with cases surging across the state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker advised residents to “come early.”

“These tests are free and fast and available to anyone who shows up – though some of our most-visited community based testing sites are hitting capacity before the end of their normal operating hours, so come early,” Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing Friday. “Please, use our testing resources: The earlier you test, the more likely you can limit the spread of the virus to your family, friends or co-workers.”

Pritzker on Thursday announced plans to increase capacity at three locations this weekend, which he described as the “most-visited sites” – Aurora, Arlington Heights and Harwood Heights.

A total of 106,540 new tests were performed in Illinois over the last 24 hours, which marked a new one-day record, according to state health officials. In all, 8,871,640 tests have been performed during the pandemic.

“Our 7-day testing average has now surpassed 93,000 tests per day – more than 10,000 higher than the next best testing state and more than 35,000 higher than the next best testing Midwestern state,” Pritzker said Friday. “That is good news and we are continuing to build on that as our capacity allows.”

Gov. Pritzker Says Illinois Reaching ‘Crisis Level’ For Coronavirus

Nov. 13: Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers daily coronavirus update for Illinois, announcing a moratorium on evictions as a second surge of the virus takes hold on the state.

Pritzker Extends Illinois Eviction Moratorium for Additional 30 Days

Saying it’s the “right thing to do” to protect Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced another 30-day extension of the state’s moratorium on evictions.

At his daily coronavirus news briefing, the governor explained the extension will only cover renters who have earned no more than $90,000 in annual income – or $198,000 for joint filers – during the calendar year.

“The need is enormous for landlords, renters and home mortgage holders alike,” he said. “Both the rental and mortgage assistance programs were oversubscribed two-to-one, and that’s not even counting people in need who might never have applied at all.”

Renters will be required to submit a form to their landlord certifying they are unable to pay due to a substantial loss of income or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the governor’s office.

The new moratorium, Pritzker said, will ensure smaller landlords and property owners receive payments from individuals who’ve taken advantage of the eviction ban.

The governor first issued an executive order placing residential evictions on hold in March, and reissued the order in subsequent 30-day periods.

On a national level, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September announced an unprecedented ban on evictions through the end of 2020.

Since the start of the pandemic, the state of Illinois has awarded $182 million dollars in assistance to 36,400 renters suffering from financial hardship.

Friday’s announcement from Pritzker comes as the state sees a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases and leaders continue to plead with residents to stay home as often as possible.

96 Illinois Counties Now at ‘Warning Level’ for Coronavirus, Health Officials Say

Ninety-six counties in Illinois are now at a “warning level” for coronavirus, the state’s health department said Friday.

The warning means each of the counties saw increases in two or more COVID-19 “risk indicators,” the health department said.

The counties now under a warning include: Adams, Alexander, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lawrence, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Massac, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie,  Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike,  Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Richland, Rock Island, Saline, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Winnebago, Woodford. The city of Chicago is also on the list.

Last week, 75 counties were at a “warning level.” The week before that it was 49.

As Hospitalizations Surge, Health Services Are ‘Extremely Strained,’ Chicago Doctor Says

As the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge in Chicago and Illinois, one doctor on the frontlines is pleading for more centralized communication to combat the virus, as opposed to each state coming up with its own messaging.

“I really hope that this was a cautionary tale for our next few months and that people start reacting when they recognize that our health services are extremely strained right now,” said Dr. Marina Del Rios with the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Del Rios talked to NBC 5 Thursday after coming off an overnight shift, in which she said there were no beds to send her patients to, resulting in many people being placed in the waiting room.

As the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge in Chicago and Illinois, one doctor on the frontlines is pleading for more centralized communication to combat the virus, opposed to each state coming up with its own messaging. NBC 5’s Natalie Martinez reports.

Compared to October in Chicago, this month three times as many people are hospitalized, in the intensive care unit and on ventilators.

“… Much worse than anything I can remember from… April and March,” the doctor said.

Del Rios said the reality is that “we’ve failed at large scale testing in contact tracing,” and providing resources to those who need to isolate, but may not be able to because of the environment they live in.

“It’s been extremely frustrating as a medical provider seeing how disjointing the messaging has been for COVID,” Del Rios said. “More than anything that I can recall in my lifetime as a person and as a physician.”

The Chicago doctor said she believes in the next few weeks, infections will likely turn more serious.

“We’re approaching the point where we’re gonna have to start making very difficult decisions,” she stated.

Gov. Pritzker on Thanksgiving: ‘We All Need to Celebrate a Bit Differently This Year’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged residents to take extra precautions when celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday this year.

In addition to previous guidance surrounding the holidays released by the state’s health department, Pritzker said the state has launched a new awareness campaign to highlight ways of celebrating the holiday safely.

“Keeping gatherings small and virtual, maintaining 6 feet of distance from others and wearing a mask, whether you’re indoors or out,” Pritzker said. “We want to show people some of the best ways to reduce risk, as determined by epidemiologists, researchers, and modelers. At the end of the day, traditions are so important to all of us – but this year we all need to celebrate a bit differently.”

Pritzker warned Thursday a “mandatory” stay-at-home order is possible “if things don’t take a turn in the coming days.”

Gov. Pritzker Warns of Stay-at-Home Order in Coming Days ‘If Things Don’t Take a Turn’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Thursday a “mandatory” stay-at-home order is possible “if things don’t take a turn in the coming days.”

Speaking for the first time since the state’s health department released new guidance urging residents to stay home and work from home where possible, Pritzker said “we are running out of time, and we are running out of options.”

“The numbers don’t lie,” Pritzker said. “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. With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there, but right now that seems to be where we are heading.”

He called out state leaders not enforcing state guidance and “anti-maskers” who refuse to follow the guidelines.

“What will it take to make this real for you?” he asked. “Do we have to reach a positivity rate of 50 percent like we’re seeing in Iowa today? Are you waiting for your health care workers to get sick to a point where you don’t have enough staff in the local hospital to cover the next shift? What about if your hospitals become so overrun that your sick and your dying have nowhere left to turn? Because I promise you, while you fail to take responsibility in your city and your county, that day is coming closer – and it will be on you.”

Nov. 12: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Thursday a “mandatory” stay-at-home order is possible “if things don’t take a turn in the coming days.”

Chicago’s Mayor: ‘You Must Cancel the Normal Thanksgiving Plans’

As Chicago issued a stay-at-home “advisory” and implements new gathering limitations, the city warned residents to avoid large family gatherings this Thanksgiving.

“You must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday. “Particularly if they include guests that do not live in your immediate household.”

City officials warned that at their current rate, cases are doubling every 12 days. With the current average of 2,000 cases per day, that would mean that by Thanksgiving, the city could see 4,000 new cases coming in each day.

“We’re not set up for this level of outbreak,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. “And if you look at that curve, there’s been no sign yet of it slowing down.”

Chicago’s Top Doctor ‘More Worried About COVID Right Now’ Than Ever Before

Chicago’s top health official said Thursday that she’s “more worried” about coronavirus than ever before as the city announced a stay-at-home advisory and new restrictions to slow the pandemic’s spread amid a dangerous surge.

“I’ve been up here sharing data for weeks, for months, almost a whole year at this point,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a news conference. “And before I get into the data, I want you to hear that I am more worried about COVID right now than I have been at any point since March.”

“In March, I was worried because we didn’t have perhaps enough ventilators, because we needed to work very quickly to not meet the fate of what we were seeing in New York City,” she continued. “But in March, I knew that we were taking this seriously as a city. And we were doing that largely out of fear.”

Chicago’s top health official said Thursday that she’s “more worried” about coronavirus than ever before as the city announced a stay-at-home advisory and new restrictions to slow the pandemic’s spread amid a dangerous surge.

“At this point, we all know somebody who’s had COVID. And in fact, in Chicago, given what our numbers look like, a lot of us know someone who’s had COVID just in the last few weeks. And it is true, thank goodness, most people who get COVID recover,” Arwady said. “But when you’re talking about the kinds of numbers that we are seeing now and the growth that we are seeing now, those numbers start to impact. People who are older who have underlying conditions, we start seeing and are seeing rises in hospitalizations, ICU, ventilators, and deaths.”

Chicago is on track to see 1,000 additional coronavirus deaths, possibly more, by the end of the year if changes aren’t made to slow the spread of the deadly virus, city officials said Thursday in announcing the new restrictions and imploring residents to limit gatherings and only leave the house for essential activities.

“We’ve seen no sign of slowing here. And we’re in uncharted territory,” Arwady added. “We are the largest city in the part of the country that is having the most uncontrolled outbreak.”

“Every opportunity that COVID has to spread here is an exponential opportunity,” she continued. “It takes very little time for these numbers to get to a point where we do again start to overwhelm hospitals, where we do again start to talk about deaths in ways that I hope to never have to talk about.

Arwady said “a vaccine is coming,” calling news on that front good but noting that it would not come within in the next few months.

“And the next few months, winter, the flu and COVID fatigue have the potential to truly create a catastrophe that could be avoided here,” she said.

Chicago on Track to See 1,000 More Coronavirus Deaths by End of Year If No Changes Are Made, City Says

Chicago is on track to see 1,000 additional coronavirus deaths, possibly more, by the end of the year if changes aren’t made to slow the spread of the deadly virus, city officials said Thursday.

“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement announcing a new strategy called “Protect Chicago” that includes a stay-at-home advisory and new restrictions on gatherings as the city and the world faces what experts are warning could be the deadliest surge of the pandemic yet.

Chicago is “deep into a second surge of COVID-19,” city officials said, noting the city has experienced “several weeks of steeply rising new daily cases” as well as an increasing positivity rate in testing.

The positivity rate was above 14% as of Thursday, officials said, with a rolling seven-day average of more than 1,900 new coronavirus cases reported daily. That figure is the highest it’s been since the pandemic began.

Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health showed Thursday that Chicago reported its highest one-day total cases ever at 2,699, as well as seven new deaths. That brings Chicago’s rolling average of daily new cases as of Thursday to a record of 2,264 new cases reported on average each day.

In the last week alone, Chicago added 15,330 new coronavirus cases – more than some entire states like Arizona, Massachusetts, Georgia or Virginia.

“The data are troubling, and I’m very concerned we could be looking at tens of thousands of more cases, which would overwhelm the healthcare system and lead to hundreds more deaths,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said in a statement, adding, “But we know what works and what we need to do to bend the curve. We did it once and I know we can do it again.”

“The gains we have made this past year have been the result of our willingness to work together. Even in this difficult moment, we will continue to unite as we always have for our city in order to halt the rise we’re seeing, shake out of the fatigue we’ve been experiencing, and make the crucial difference in what our future is going to look like,” Lightfoot added.

Suburban Woman Warns of Lingering Effects Even After Beating Coronavirus

A suburban woman who recovered from the coronavirus said she suffered lingering effects for months and she is urging people to take masks and social distancing more seriously.

Pam Bachman of St. Charles said she spent a week in the hospital in June battling the virus. But she said a week after returning home, she noticed her hair falling out.

“Even the texture of my hair changed. It continued until from June till maybe two weeks ago,” Bachman said.

Bachman said she also suffered arm pain and an altered thyroid.

“It’s been a journey just to get stronger every day,” Bachman said. “Just to start walking again and eating and there is some, I don’t want to say memory loss, but just fog, memory fog, which is also improving now.”

A suburban woman who recovered from the coronavirus said she suffered lingering effects for months and she is urging people to take masks and social distancing more seriously. NBC 5’s Chris Coffey reports.

Dr. Phillip Cozzi of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital said some patients who beat the virus may experience lingering effects such as shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, cough, brain fog or depressive states.

“Most people can expect full recovery without any long-term sequela. The more ill patients who have more impressive syndrome are usually those who suffer from the long-term side effect, although, even people with mild symptoms can experience a lingering cough and fatigue state,” Cozzi said.

Cozzi said no matter the size of the gathering, there still has to be marked vigilance with social distancing, and large groups should be avoided altogether.

Bachman said she is pleading with people to realize the virus is “not a joke.”

“Maybe for some people the symptoms aren’t so bad, but for myself that I never thought it would be that bad, it’s horrible,” Bachman said.

Illinois Officials Ask Companies to Let Employees Work From Home Unless Necessary

Illinois health officials on Wednesday issued a call to all companies to allow employees to work from home unless necessary as coronavirus metrics continue to surge across the state.

The Illinois Department of Public Health released new guidance asking everyone in the state to “stay home as much as possible” for the next three weeks and leave only for essential activities like grocery shopping and coronavirus testing, among other necessary tasks.

Illinois health officials on Wednesday issued a call to all companies to allow employees to work from home unless necessary as coronavirus metrics continue to surge across the state. NBC 5’s Lexi Sutter has more details.

As part of that guidance, IDPH said residents should also work with employers to “plan to work from home unless it is necessary for you to be in the workplace.”

“We ask employers to make accommodation for this,” IDPH said. “Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open.”

IDPH Issues Guidance Urging Residents to Stay Home and Leave Only for ‘Essential Activities’

Illinois’ health department issued new guidance Wednesday urging residents to stay home and only leave for “essential activities.”

The guidelines, which come just before the the Thanksgiving holiday, recommend that for the next three weeks, residents “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.”

In addition, health officials suggest limiting travel and gatherings.

“In our current situation, with a rising prevalence of the virus, attending even small gatherings that mix households, or traveling to areas that are experiencing high rates of positivity, is not advised and is potentially dangerous,” the release states, “Please, travel only if necessary.”

A Look at Illinois’ Phases and Tiers as Coronavirus Mitigations Increase For Some

Illinois is currently in the fourth phase of the Restore Illinois plan, but as coronavirus metrics continue to spike across the state, many are under heightened mitigations and the governor has warned that the state could see restrictions from previous phases brought back.

Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned restrictions from as far back as Phase 2 could return.

Illinois began Phase Two of its reopening plan on May 1, when a modified stay-at-home order took effect allowing some businesses to reopen. Phase Three began a few weeks later.

The governor has declined to give specifics on what restrictions could be ahead and though he has previously said another stay-at-home order was not on the table, on Friday, he said he can’t guarantee what might happen in the coming weeks.

In addition to the phased plan, Illinois has also implemented a tiered mitigation plan that would impose stronger restrictions to specific regions seeing increasing metrics.

Currently, all of Illinois is experiencing increased mitigations under that plan. Here’s a look at the five-phased Restore Illinois plan and the full mitigation plan:

Phase 1: 

What it means: This phase takes place when the rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing.

What is allowed: Only essential businesses remain open.

Restrictions: Strict stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines are put in place.

Phase 2: 

What it means: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at a slower rate than Phase 1, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory.

What is allowed: Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Residents can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing.

Restrictions: Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home.

Phase 3: 

What it means: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining from those seen in Phase 1 and Phase 2.

What is allowed: Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons are open to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed.

Restrictions: Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 4:

What it means: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline.

What is allowed: All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars open with restrictions and child care and schools can reopen under guidance from the IDPH.

Restrictions: Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

Phase 5: 

What it means: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing.

What’s allowed: Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open.

Restrictions: New safety guidance and procedures will be in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a look at the full mitigation plan:

Tier 1:

BARS

  • All bars and restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
  • No indoor service
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table outdoors

RESTAURANTS

  • All restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
  • No indoor dining or bar service
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart. No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

MEETINGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, GATHERINGS

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00pm, are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

OFFICES

  • Continued emphasis on telework for as many workers as possible

ORGANIZED GROUP RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES & GYMS

  • All Sports Guidance effective August 15, 2020, remains in effect
  • Outdoor Activities (not included in the above exposure settings) continue per current DCEO guidance IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in regions requiring additions

Tier 2:

BARS

  • Reduce party size from 10 to 6

RESTAURANTS

  • Reduce party size from 10 to 6

MEETINGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, GATHERINGS

  • Maximum indoor/outdoor gathering size = 10
    • Applicable to professional, cultural and social group gatherings
    • Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning
    • This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general business guidance such as office, retail, etc.
    • Not applicable to sports; see sports guidance here

OFFICES

  • Promote work from home when possible.

ORGANIZED GROUP RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES & GYMS

  • Maintain lesser of 25 people/25% of capacity for both indoors and outdoors
  • Groups limited to 10 or fewer
  • Does not apply to Fitness Centers

Tier 3:

HOSPITALS

  • Suspend elective surgeries and procedures; implement surge capacity; assess need to open Alternate Care Facility

MEETINGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, GATHERINGS

  • Strictest limit to gatherings and room capacity

OFFICES

  • Institute remote work for all non-essential workers

ORGANIZED GROUP RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES & GYMS

  • Suspend organized indoor and outdoor recreational activities

RETAIL

  • Suspend all non-essential retail; only essential retail open (i.e. grocery stores, pharmacies)

SALONS AND PERSONAL CARE

  • Suspend salon and personal care operations

According to the governor’s office, the following metrics will be used to determine “when the spread of the virus in a region requires additional mitigations”:

  • Sustained increase in 7-day rolling average (7 out of 10 days) in the positivity rate and one of the following severity indicators:
  • Sustained 7-day increase in hospital admissions for a COVID-19 like illness
  • Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)
  • OR three consecutive days averaging ≥ 8% positivity rate

Once a region enters the mitigation plan, the Illinois Department of Health will then track their metrics for two weeks.

If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% over a 3-day period, that region can return to Phase 4 restrictions. If the positivity rate it between 6.5% and 8%, the department will continue monitoring. If the positivity rate is great than or equal to 8%, additional restrictions could be implemented.

‘The Virus is Winning Right Now,’ Gov. Pritzker Says

Nov. 9: Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers daily coronavirus update for Illinois.

Several Free COVID-19 Testing Sites Open in Chicago Area

The Illinois Department of Public Health created several more free mobile testing sites throughout the Chicago area, officials announced Sunday.

IDPH and the City of Chicago have created community-based testing sites over the past several months, which are open to all regardless of symptoms, according to the website.

Residents in Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake and McHenry counties can be tested for free throughout the month of November. Here are some of the mobile testing sites:

Belmont-Cragin neighborhood
Metropolitan Family Services
3249 N. Central
Nov. 13, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Blue Island
Affordable Recovery Home Campus
13636 S. Western
Nov. 14-15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Elmhurst
Churchville Middle School
155 Victory Pkwy.
Nov. 9-10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Glendale Heights
Glendale Heights Aquatic Center
240 Civic Center Plaza
Nov. 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grayslake
College of Lake County
19351 W. Washington St.
Nov. 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kirkland
Hiawatha High School
410 1st St.
Nov. 14-15, 9 a.m to 5 p.m.

McHenry
Peterson Park
4300 Peterson Park Rd.
Nov. 14-15, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Melrose Park
Village of Melrose Park
2701 W. Lake St.
Nov. 14-15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

South Loop neighborhood
Ping Tom Park
300 W. 19th St.
Nov. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

West Town neighborhood
Bennett Day
955 W. Grand Ave.
Nov. 11, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Wheaton
Wheaton College – Edman Chapel
401 E. Franklin St.
Nov. 11, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Illinois health officials have set up several other COVID-19 testing sites across Chicago and surrounding areas to ensure constant data regarding the ongoing pandemic.

Here is where to receive a coronavirus test in the Chicago area:

Arlington Heights
IDPH Arlington Heights Drive-Through
2200 W. Euclid Ave.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Auburn Gresham neighborhood
Foreman Mills Shopping Center
112 W. 79th St.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: Walk-up testing not available at this testing location

Aurora
2450 N. Fansworth Ave.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: Walk-up testing not available at this testing location

Back of the Yards neighborhood
14000 W. 47th St.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Burr Ridge
Pillars Burr Ridge Middle School
15W451 91st St.
Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Fridays, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

East Side neighborhood
St. Francis de Sales High School
10155 S. Ewing Ave
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Englewood neighborhood
1316 W. 63rd St.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Evanston
Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center
1285 Hartrey
Hours differ, see link below
Note: Walk-up testing not available at this testing location

Gage Park neighborhood
St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic Church
5443 S. Washtenaw Ave.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Garfield Park neighborhood
Our Lady of the Snows Parish
4810 S. Leamington Ave.
Noon to 6 p.m.

Harwood Heights neighborhood
6959 W. Forest Preserve Rd.
7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Note: Walk-up testing not available at this testing location

Hegewisch neighborhood
United Auto Workers
13550 S. Torrence Ave.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Melrose Park
1101 23rd Ave.
Fridays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Oak Lawn
5550 W. 111th St.
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays
Note: Walk-up testing not available at this testing location

Orland Park
Physician’s Immediate Care
9570 W. 159th St., Suite A
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Waukegan
102 W. Water St.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Westchester
Lurie Children’s Westchester Drive-Through
2301 Enterprise Dr.
8 a.m. to noon
Note: Walk-up testing not available at this testing location

West Lawn neighborhood
St. Nicholas of Tolentine School
3741 W. 62nd St.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wheaton
DuPage County COVID-19 Testing Site
DuPage County Complex, County Farm Road
7 a.m. to noon

The City of Chicago noted that people not insured or do not have a state identification card can still receive a free COVID-19 test.

IDPH provides a list of other testing site locations, some of which are by appointment only and serving solely symptomatic patients. For more information on the sites, click here.

For a list of static testing sites in Chicago, primarily for people with high risk exposure and experiencing symptoms, click here.

Many CVS locations offer COVID-19 testing seven days a week, following eligibility requirements from the state. For a list of CVS testing sites, click here.





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