Pritzker warns another statewide lockdown on the horizon
As the state's COVID-19 infection rate climbs and hospitalizations from the virus continue their exponential growth, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned another statewide "mandatory stay-at-home order" becomes more probable.
"The numbers don't lie," Pritzker said Thursday. "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 don't want us to get there, but right now that seems like where we are heading."
The governor made the dire prediction hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a stay-at-home advisory for city residents that will go into effect Monday. The mayor said if Chicagoans abided by the advisory, it would save an estimated 1,000 lives.
She is urging residents not to leave the house for anything nonessential until the advisory is lifted.
Pritzker praised Lightfoot's initiative and urged more local officials around the state to follow her example.
"While you are home, give your county board chair or your local mayor a call," Pritzker said. "Ask them what they are doing to enforce the doctor-recommended mitigations. Ask them what they are doing to keep you and your loved ones safe."
Pritzker blasted municipal officials who have refused to enforce mitigation mandates. He said not doing so is prolonging business interruptions and keeping infection rates high.
"More people will get sick, more people will struggle to breathe and more people will die because you failed to do your job," he said. "When this is over, there will be an accounting by your constituents of who worked to keep the public safe and who just ignored the science."
The governor's warning came as the state recorded 43 more COVID-19 deaths Thursday, while another 12,702 infections were diagnosed.
That brings the state's death toll from the respiratory disease to 10,477, with 536,542 residents who have tested positive, according to Illinois Department of Public Health records.
The state's seven-day average infection rate of 12.6% was a slight increase from the previous day's.
Hospitals across the state are reporting 5,258 people are being treated for the virus.
"That's an all-time high," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, IDPH's director. "I am telling you, that number is only going to increase based on the number of cases we have identified for the past several weeks."
Of those hospitalized, 956 COVID-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units. COVID-19 patients take up 25.4% of all ICU beds in the state.
Despite the mitigation restrictions placed in every region of the state currently, each of the state's 11 regions saw average test positivity rates grow again. No region has seen a decrease in those rates since at least Oct. 31, according to IDPH records.