Pritzker: Restrictions to remain as Illinois braces for post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said Tier 3 restrictions will remain in place for the next few weeks, even if some regions are on track to meet the requirements for have the restrictions removed.

“We are still very much in a precarious place and we have got to take the time to evaluate any Thanksgiving effect before we make any premature adjustments,” he said.

Pritzker said hospitalizations in all Illinois regions are down slightly, but “still eclipsing the Spring peak,” and said he has met with health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Rob Murphy, from Northwestern, and Dr. Emily Landon, of Illinois Chicago Medicine, who all advised that the nation may see a surge in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The governor said a massive number of indoor gatherings will “very most likely” create a post-holiday surge, and it was not the time to pull back on any mitigations.

He said a stay-at-home order for the entire state was still possible if a surge hits. “It’s not something, right now, that we think we’re going to have to do,” he said.

Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike urged people who met with relatives over the holiday to get tested within 6 or 7 days of potential exposure.

Ezike said the state must remain “on our game” even as a coronavirus vaccine “could be available very soon.”

“There is hope on the horizon,” she added. “Be vigilant, and wait for the vaccine.”

Pritzker said Pfizer has begun shipping its vaccines to warehouses in Illinois and across the country, although it has not yet received a greenlight from the Food and Drug Administration for it’s emergency use request.

The governor said the company’s vaccine is due to be evaluated by the FDA on December 10th. If it passes, the vaccine would be distributed quickly afterwards.

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored in an ultra-cold environment, at -94°, to remain viable, and recipients must receive two doses, two months apart, to achieve effectiveness.

Two other vaccines, by Moderna and AstraZeneca, are also going before the FDA for emergency use. The Moderna vaccine, Ezike said, does not have the storage temperature restriction, and could potentially be used at smaller hospitals who do not have the cold-storage capability.

“Assuming everything goes well, we could have potentially two vaccines, not just one,” Ezike said, and added that it will take several months to roll it out to all Illinois residents, but “no part of the state will be left out.”

The IDPH today reported 6,190 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 85 additional deaths.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from November 23 – November 29, 2020 is 10.2%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 23 – November 29, 2020 is 12.2%.

Region 1’s 7-day rolling positivity average: 15% (15.3% yesterday)

Boone: 21% (21.2% yesterday)
Carroll: 10.3% (10.3 % yesterday)
DeKalb: 11.1% (10.6% yesterday)
Jo Daviess: 9.7% (9.7% yesterday)
Lee: 18.5% (19.6% yesterday)
Ogle: 15.2% (16.6% yesterday)
Stephenson: 15.6% (17.1% yesterday)
Whiteside: 15.3% (16.4% yesterday)
Winnebago: 15.7% (15.7% yesterday)

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