Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike are holding daily COVID-19 press briefings as cases and hospitalizations in Illinois reach record highs. Read and listen to the latest update from the governor’s office on new cases, phased re-opening and closings of different regions and the state’s ongoing pandemic response. You can watch the most recent press briefings at 2:30pm every day here on Illinois Newsroom.
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Hello everyone and welcome to the COVID-19 update for Monday November the 30th. Whether virtually or at a distance, I hope everyone found a way to share special time with their loved ones over the holiday weekend. Although the last few days have offered a hint of potential progress in some of our statewide metrics, the number of patients fighting COVID-19 in our hospital systems statewide still eclipses our spring peak. By 23%. We had to hope to see more progress in lowering hospitalizations. By now. The challenge we face was highlighted over the weekend by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who offered a bleak outlook and a warning that over the next two or three weeks we may see a surge upon a surge related to the holidays. He is not alone.
In his assessment. Dr. Deborah Burks, the response coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said they are deeply worried about the post Thanksgiving surge of cases that will come on top of the record high number of cases being identified all across our nation. The dip in Illinois cases over the last few days comes as we are seeing near record high numbers of hospitalizations, meaning that our ability to handle any new surge in COVID patience is still limited. If we are not especially careful right now, the surge will overwhelm our state’s health care system. That’s why with the advice of idph and other infectious disease experts, no region will be downgraded from our current tier three mitigations for the next few weeks, even if they might be on track to meet those metrics.
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. I spoke with Dr. Fauci this morning to get his input about Illinois situation. He said the massive number of indoor gatherings by people visiting family and friends across the nation will very likely bring a post Thanksgiving surge, and he believes this is no time to pull back on mitigations Dr. Rob Murphy, one of the world’s leading infectious disease experts based at Illinois own Northwestern medicine, agrees with Dr. Fauci so does Dr. Emily land and the infection prevention and control director at University of Chicago medicine. When the nation’s experts and state experts agree that the virus may become significantly more pervasive in the coming weeks, it’s important to listen to them. And I am. I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households.
The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time. In the latter half of December. We’ll be watching the data closely to monitor for a Thanksgiving related surge. In our case count our positivity rate or hospitalizations, and ICU admissions. My prayer, our collective prayer is that everyone stays healthy and that the numbers continue their downward trajectory. And I asked the public to join us in making that prayer come true. So thank you. And with that, I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Ngozi Ezike
Dr. Ngozi Ezike
Can I extend the post Thanksgiving greetings Hope everyone, even in this difficult year was able to see that there’s still so much to be thankful for. Again, as I as the governor also said, I hope that people did connect with family and friends through a phone call or a video or through drive by visits and drop offs of food. But for those of you who did spend Thanksgiving with others outside of your immediate household, I would urge you to get tested later this week. It is recommended to wait about six or seven days after exposure to be tested.
But if you have symptoms, please get tested right away. And in the meantime, please exercise the cautions that we are always supposed to be following. also encourage those who you were with to be tested as well. In the last 24 hours over 20 67,000 tests have been reported for a total of 10 point 5 million tests in Illinois. Since yesterday, 6190 new individuals were diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 726,304 unique individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID. Since the start of this pandemic. This unfortunately includes the report of 85 additional lives lost, just reported in the last 24 hours for a total of 12,278 deaths in Illinois. 5849 individuals were in the hospital overnight, hospitals across Illinois, and of those 1217 we’re on ventile we’re, we’re in the ICU and 715 we’re on ventilators.
There is hope on the horizon. But while we await a safe and effective vaccine, it’s important to remember that we need to continue to be vigilant to wear a mask to stay at least six feet away, to avoid crowds and to wash our hands very, very often. And once a vaccine does roll out, and as you’ve heard that could be very soon, we will still need to stay on our game until the vaccine is widely available. And in people’s arms, we need to take a layered approach.
Just as if you were trying to avoid car accidents or car accident deaths, you would not only wear a seatbelt, you would not only avoid texting and driving you would not only have the car with airbags, you would you would not only follow speed limits you would take advantage of all of that that’s a layered approach. And just the same way combining hand washing with maintaining distance with washing our hands and avoiding crowds. And once it’s available getting the vaccine are all the different layers that we will need to take up in order to get the greatest protection. These actions that we take now can change how much virus is circulating in our communities and can change what our landscape looks like in the coming weeks and the coming months. We have been fighting this pandemic so for so very long, and many of us have suffered in so many ways. But if we stay the course yet a while longer we will end this pandemic soon. Thank you so much.