As new stay-at-home advisories take effect in Chicago and suburban Cook County amid rising coronavirus metrics, might Illinois see another statewide stay-at-home order? Here’s a look at what Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said on the topic.
Pritzker last warned on Thursday that a mandatory stay-at-home order could be possible “if things don’t take a turn in the coming days.”
Speaking one day after the Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidance urging residents to stay home and leave only for essential activities,, 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.”
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.”
He also 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.”
Illinois health officials reported 11,632 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases on Monday and 37 additional deaths, marking 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.
IDPH issued new guidance Wednesday urging residents to stay home and only leave for “essential activities.”
The guidelines recommended 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.”
The guidance also urges employers to have employees work from home as much as possible during that time period.
“We ask employers to make accommodation for this,” a release from the department states. “Our goal is to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open.”
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.”
IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike talks about the latest coronavirus metrics for Illinois.
Stay-at-home advisories took effect Monday morning in Chicago and suburban Cook County with similar recommendations.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued the city’s advisory on Thursday alongside new restrictions on gathering sizes as she said the city has reached a “critical point” in the pandemic.
The city’s stay-at-home advisory asks that residents “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.”
City officials also advise residents not to have gatherings inside their homes with anyone outside of their household, even trusted family and friends, and to avoid all non-essential out-of-state travel. Chicago officials have for months asked that anyone required to travel to or from the list of states on the city’s emergency order – now including 43 states – quarantine or test negative prior to arrival in the city, with the requirement depending on the state and the severity of its outbreak.
The stay-at-home advisory also asks that everyone practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times, as experts have advised for months.
The city also specifically noted that holidays should be celebrated using phone or video chat instead of in-person visits.
In addition to the stay-at-home advisory, Chicago officials also announced new restrictions on gatherings, limiting meetings and social events to 10 people, both indoors and outdoors.
Cook County followed suit on Friday with its own stay-at-home advisory mirroring Chicago’s, applicable to all residents of suburban Cook.
Already, all of Illinois’ healthcare regions were under increased mitigations from the state, shutting down indoor dining and bar service and limiting gathering sizes.
Prior to his warning on Thursday, Pritzker also hinted at a stay-at-home order just a few days earlier, on Nov. 9.
“I’m very concerned as we approach Thanksgiving,” Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing. “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.”
It remains unclear when exactly the governor might make such a decision on another stay-at-home order, but he did note which metrics he’s watching.
“I guess I one thing I look at every day is are we are we bending the curve as we, back in the spring, we were doing – are we bending the curve?” he said. “And that doesn’t mean that the numbers go down from one day to the next, but it does mean that the rate of increase is subsiding. And that’s the beginning of flattening it and heading down.”
Just the week before, Pritzker had said he wasn’t looking at a stay-at-home order but did not rule it out in the coming weeks.
“I’m not looking at the broader mitigation of stay-at-home as something I would do in the coming days or week, but I can’t guarantee you what it looks like two weeks from now or three weeks from now – I just don’t know,” Pritzker said on Nov. 6. “None of us, frankly, expected that the entire country would be swept with an increase in COVID-19.”
The state was previously under a stay-at-home from mid-March through the end of May during the first wave of the pandemic.