As Illinois health officials report an increase in COVID-19 measures statewide over the past week, Gov. JB Pritzker asked if the region could see increased coronavirus mitigations.
“We’re still looking at everything that has been done over the past few years, but what we’re really focusing on is making sure people meet the indoor masking requirements,” Pritzker said during ‘an independent press conference on Friday. “Thanks to everyone who is doing this. ”
Asked about his response to Chicago officials considering establishing additional COVID mitigation measures, Pritzker said local governments should “definitely consider more stringent mitigation measures,” if warranted.
Illinois health officials reported an increase in almost all COVID measures on Friday, with 49,668 new cases, an increase of 266 deaths last week, up from 42,559 cases and 182 more deaths the week before.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate for all tests rose to 5.8% this week, officials said, from 5.6% this week. The seven-day moving average positivity rate for cases as a percentage of total tests, however, fell to 4.3%, from 4.7% a week earlier.
As of midnight Thursday, 3,257 patients were hospitalized with COVID in the state. Of these patients, 662 are in intensive care beds and 299 are on ventilators.
Earlier this week, a new report showed Illinois was among six states that accounted for more than half of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States. Data recorded by the US Department of Health and Human Services between Nov. 10 and Dec. 5 showed Illinois added 1,187 hospitalizations for COVID.
Illinois state 102 counties were experiencing “high transmission” levels of COVID on Wednesday, while many are also seeing dramatic growth in other metrics designed to illustrate how quickly the virus is spreading.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a county to have a “high transmission” rate of COVID if 100 or more residents per 100,000 people contract the virus in a given week.
Authorities in Winnebago County have issued a disaster proclamation amid the growing number of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the region.
In a press release, Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli declared a local disaster for a period of seven days, retroactive to Wednesday.
According to the statement, the statement will provide additional support to the Winnebago County Health Department, as well as emergency management agencies in the County and City of Rockford.
As COVID measures also increase in Chicago, city health officials this week detailed measures that could be taken to curb the rise, including providing proof of vaccination and setting capacity limits.
As the new omicron COVID-19 variant continues to spread in the United States, with at least one case identified in Chicago, health officials say the city may start requiring proof of vaccination status in public places .
During a Facebook Live event, Dr Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said some private facilities have already started requiring proof of vaccination, and the city may follow suit.
“Could we start requiring proof of vaccination for more activities and public spaces? Yes, I think we could,” Arwady said. “I’m certainly more interested in that than the need for some of the major closures.”
Chicago will continue to demand masks indoors, she noted, while demanding that city workers be vaccinated against the virus and encouraging increased hand washing and social distancing as cases of COVIDs are increasing across the city.
Previously, Chicago officials said that proof of a vaccination requirement similar to New York’s for things like indoor dining, restaurants, bars, gyms and other places was not not “on the table”.
Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, alderman for Chicago’s 35th District, said officials may consider mitigating measures such as limiting capacity thresholds at various facilities, similar to what the city did in a major wave of COVID last year.
“One option would be to limit the number of people who can go to a bar or a restaurant, you know, capping it at maybe 50% or less,” Rosa said.
He added that residents shouldn’t be worried about the potential policy as officials have implemented it across the United States “with very good results.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Monday that her administration has no plans to adopt a vaccine requirement for employees similar to that of New York City, which is expected to be the vaccine mandate on Monday. more ambitious nationwide and will require all private employers in New York City to institute vaccine requirements for their employees later this year.
During a press briefing on Monday, Lightfoot said she had no plans to implement a similar warrant in Chicago, saying there were real questions about whether such a requirement would pass judicial review.
“We won’t see that here in the city of Chicago,” she said. “And frankly, there is the question of whether something like that is going to support what will invariably be judicial review.”
Lightfoot, whose administration has demanded that all city workers be vaccinated against COVID or undergo bi-weekly tests, says it appreciates the efforts of many companies and places to implement a variety of requirements for them. customers and participants, including those who require a COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter a business.
“I am encouraged and encourage employers of all types to make sure that they are doing everything possible to maximize safety in their workplace, as we have done,” she said.
With the increase in COVID cases and the emergence of the omicron variant in the United States, Lightfoot says taking action to encourage vaccinations and social distancing is essential to keep residents safe.
“The pandemic is real. It’s not going to go away, ”she said. “We are watching with great interest the developments and the science surrounding the omicron variant. “