Record-High Daily Case Count, State Considers More Restrictions – NBC Chicago

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Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot or other officials will be streamed in the video player above.

Illinois is seeing a staggering number of new coronavirus cases each day – more than any other state in the nation over the past week – and has in the last month more than doubled its average number of deaths reported each day.

All of Illinois is now under heightened mitigations imposed by the state to slow the spread of coronavirus, with the last of the state’s 11 regions seeing new restrictions take effect earlier in the week.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across the state of Illinois today (Nov. 6):

Taste of Chicago, Air and Water Show Not Funded in 2021 City Budget

Will iconic city events like the Taste of Chicago and the Air and Water Show be canceled next year?

Officially, there has been no announcement the events will not take place, but Chicago is providing no funding in its new budget, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said Thursday in a statement.

The department said the Taste of Chicago and the Chicago Air and Water show both will not be funded at this time due to “the realities of a pandemic budget.”

Jamey Lundblad, Chief Marketing Officer for DCASE, said by not funding these events, the city potentially could save nearly $9 million.

Lundblad added that DCASE will provide a calendar of free cultural events amid the pandemic such as Blues and Jazz concerts in Millennium Park and ¡Súbelo!, a Latinx music celebration as part of World Music Festival.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the issue Thursday, reminding that DCASE is funded by a revenue that helps hotels and restaurants, many of which have struggled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s not like there’s a pot of money sitting there. The budget is projected based upon what we expect those revenues to come into,” Lightfoot said. “And if those revenues don’t come in, then that substantially changes the trajectory of the kind of programming.”

Lightfoot added that the timing is too premature to make any decision pertaining to events that may or may not happen next year, especially as the city faces a coronavirus resurgence.

“Now’s not the time for us to really be thinking much about big outdoor events,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot Launches New ‘Take Out Chicago’ Challenge to Encourage Support of City Bars and Restaurants

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new initiative on Thursday aimed at supporting bars and restaurants as indoor dining has once again been halted amid a surge of coronavirus cases across the city and state.

‘Take Out Chicago’ was designed to help boost the struggling hospitality industry by offering residents who order take out from 10 different bars and restaurants between now and Dec. 15 entry into a contest to win a VIP tour to various places like Soldier Field and the Art Institute.

“Our neighborhood restaurants and bars make up the backbone of so many communities across the city and if we want them to survive, and of course we do, we all need to show them our love and our support, and particularly patronize them in this difficult time,” Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday.

Residents who wish to enter the contest should submit their names and a list of the places they ordered take out from using a portal on the city’s website.

Lightfoot also announced three other initiatives that target bolstering the hospitality industry including a $10 million grant program to assist bars and restaurants that have had to shut down indoor dining service.

Lightfoot said applications will be available beginning Nov. 16 and the grants, made possible through reallocation of the CARES Act funding, will be distributed by the end of the year.

“We know that there’s a sense of urgency around getting these grant funds into the hands of our small businesses, and we’re going to do everything we can to expedite the process as quickly as possible,” Lightfoot said.

Nov. 5, 2020: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new grant program to help the city’s hospitality industry and encouraged residents to “be smart” this Thanksgiving, saying “this year has to be different.”

Changes Expected for Chicago’s Travel Order Next Week, City Officials Say

An announcement on changes to Chicago’s travel order is expected to be made next week, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Thursday.

With both Chicago’s and Illinois’ coronavirus cases soaring to to record levels not even seen during the pandemic’s peak in the spring, questions have surfaced over whether the travel order, which requires a quarantine for travelers from certain states, remains effective. Data showed Chicago alone is averaging 59.7 new cases each day for every 100,000 residents, nearly four times the limit the city has set for states to be added to its emergency order.

“We are very much aware of what the percent positivity is and other expansion of cases in states, certainly in our surrounding area, and across the country,” Arwady said Thursday during a coronavirus briefing in the city. “So we are looking at what makes the most sense and we’ll make an announcement about that soon.”

Arwady said the city would be announcing “adjustments to the travel order” sometime next week, but declined to offer specifics on what those changes would entail, saying only “it will still be a travel order.”

“We look at our neighbors, like Wisconsin is really, really struggling. Indiana is struggling- it was struggling the whole time because apparently their governor doesn’t believe that COVID-19 exists,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “So the reality is, is that this is… we’re seeing cases really explode in almost every region of the country. And unfortunately the Midwest is leading that. And so as Dr. Arwady already said, we look at these statistics and what we’re seeing both in Chicago, the surrounding area in the Midwest, and across the country, every, single day – and as she said, we will be announcing some adjustments.”

The travel order currently covers 32 states and territories.

Travelers entering or returning to Chicago from “states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases” will need to quarantine “for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state” under the order, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says. Essential workers could be exempt from the quarantine requirement, however, as long as their employer certifies their work in writing.

States are added to the list if they have “a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.” If they fall below that threshold, they could be removed as well.

Chicago’s travel order, which began on July 6, is evaluated every Tuesday, with any additions taking effect the following Friday. The order was not updated this week, however, due to the election, officials said.

Nov. 5, 2020: As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said state health officials are “looking at proposing further regional and statewide restrictions.”

IDPH Considering Further Restrictions Due to ‘Unsustainable’ Rise in COVID Cases, Hospitalizations

Illinois’ health department is considering imposing even more restrictions as the state continues to see record coronavirus numbers and as transmission surges to “drastic levels,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced.

“I cannot stress enough the severity of our situation,” Pritzker said Thursday during his daily press briefing. “IDPH is looking at proposing further regional and statewide restrictions because the rise in cases and hospitalizations is unsustainable.”

Among the restrictions under consideration are a return to Phase Three and possibly even Phase Two under the Restore Illinois plan, Pritzker added.

Illinois saw a record-high number of new coronavirus cases Thursday as the state simultaneously crossed a grim milestone and the positivity rate spiked once again.

The new cases lifted Illinois’ rolling seven-day positivity rate rise from 8.5% to 9.1, the highest mark the state has seen since at least late May when the state was on its way down from its first coronavirus cases peak.

In the last week alone, data showed the state’s case positivity rate climbed from 6.9% to 9.1%. In the last month, that number has nearly tripled.

“Across the country, we are already seeing states and cities affected by this growing crisis, and they’re responding by rolling back their reopenings. And over in Europe, France, England and Germany are rising so quickly that they’re resorting to much more significant restrictions on all non-essential activities as they, too, face case numbers and hospitalizations rising in at a tragic rate,” Pritzker said. “Remember that Europe fared much better than the United States over the last five months, so when they impose those severe mitigations, it’s an indication that the virus is raging out of control there, and we are heading in a similar direction.”

Along with the increases in cases and positivity rates, the state has also seen a continued rise in hospitalizations due to the virus. According to IDPH data, 3,891 residents are currently hospitalized because of the virus. Of those patients, 772 are currently in intensive care units and 343 are on ventilators.

“We’re getting to the point where we’re really concerned,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Thursday. “We’re worried that there won’t be a bed enough for everyone.”

Illinois is currently averaging 3,400 hospitalizations due to coronavirus, well above the 1,500 the state reported at the start of October. Data has also shown a rise in the number of patients in the ICU, which have more than in the last month, Pritzker said.

“If the current trajectory continues, if our hospitals continue to fill up, if more and more people continue to lose their lives to this disease, we’re going to implement further statewide mitigations – which nobody wants to do,” Pritzker warned.

He noted that the state is currently seeing new records in testing, but “the rate of growth in our positivity is far outpacing our growth in testing.”

The state says 86,015 test results have been returned to state labs in the last 24 hours, with 8,116,728 total tests performed during the pandemic.

“The more we test, the more we are finding people infected with the virus,” Pritzker said. “That’s awful news. Offsetting that is that we are finding infected individuals earlier, both because people are getting tested when they are contact traced or when they may have been exposed to someone who is sick. Don’t wait until you develop symptoms. The earlier you test, the more likely you can limit the spread of the virus to your family, friends or co-workers.”

Pritzker warned specific regions, including Region 7, which includes suburban Will and Kankakee counties and is at a 13.4% positivity rate, and Region 1 in northwest Illinois, which is at an “alarming” 15.8% positivity.

“We are headed down a dark, dark path toward where we were last spring,” Pritzker said.

“Chicago cases are still growing without signs of slowing,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said, noting that cases have increased across age groups and in every Chicago zip code.

Chicago Outbreak Worse Than Spring With ‘No Signs of Slowing Down,’ Top Doc Says

Chicago is currently experiencing a coronavirus outbreak worse than anything the city saw during the spring and it is showing “no signs of slowing down,” the city’s top doctor said Thursday.

Speaking during a press conference to update on the pandemic in the city, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city is seeing an average of 1,395 cases per day, a number the city said it had tried to keep below 200, where it was at one point during the summer months.

“I continue to hear people here in Chicago who think we’re not talking about them… my goal is that every one of you is recognizing that when we are asking you to double down on the things we know work, we absolutely mean you,” Arwady said. “There is not a single person in Chicago is not in some way at risk.”

Arwady said the city knows of at least 15,000 active coronavirus infections as of Thursday, “but we know there are five to seven times that.” She noted that the increase in cases has also led to an increase in hospitalizations and a “small uptick” in deaths.

The numbers, she said, are doubling, on average, every 12 days.

“If we don’t slow this down… we will have hundreds of thousands of new cases by the end of the year,” Arwady said.

Chicago, along with the rest of Illinois, is currently under heightened coronavirus mitigations imposed by state, despite opposition from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, which has led to the closure of indoor dining and bar service citywide.

But as positivity rates, cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the city and state, it remains unclear when such mitigations might be lifted.

According to the latest data from CDPH, the city’s positivity rate is currently at 10.9%, well above the 8% threshold requiring stricter mitigations from the state and a significant increase from the 8.2% reported one week earlier. In order to have such restrictions lifted, the city would need to drop to 6.5% or lower for three consecutive days.

On Thursday alone, the city reported a record high of 2,182 cases, topping the previous record of 1,888 cases recorded Sunday. In the last week, the city has logged 11,307 new cases.

Data showed Chicago is now reporting 59.7 new cases each day for every 100,000 residents, nearly four times the limit the city has set for states to be added to its emergency order requiring a quarantine for travelers.

“Yes, most people eventually recover,” Arwady said. “We can see 83% of the people with COVID here in Chicago have recovered. Although, every day we’re learning more about long-term consequences that some people are seeing, even with the recovery from COVID. But we’ve also had more than 3,000 deaths. And this increase in cases is already leading to an increase in hospitalizations.”

Lightfoot, who also announced new measures aimed at helping city businesses survive the latest surge Thursday, pleaded with residents to avoid gatherings in homes and to wear masks as often as possible.

“We will not get past this second wave unless people step up,” Lightfoot said. “Shake up the COVID fatigue and step up… we take a lot of great pride in  Chicago. We take care of ourselves, we are second to none – if that’s all true, prove it.”

Illinois Reports Record-High Daily Case Count as State Reaches Grim Milestone

Illinois saw a record-high number of new coronavirus cases Thursday as the state simultaneously crossed a grim milestone and the positivity rate spiked once again.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 9,935 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, a record high for the pandemic so far, along with 97 additional deaths, the highest number since June 4.

The new fatalities lift the statewide death toll above 10,000, reaching 10,030 as of Thursday afternoon. Total cases statewide climbed to 447,491.

The new cases lifted Illinois’ rolling seven-day positivity rate rise from 8.5% to 9.1, the highest mark the state has seen since at least late May when the state was on its way down from its first coronavirus cases peak.

The state says 86,015 test results have been returned to state labs in the last 24 hours, with 8,116,728 total tests performed during the pandemic.

Along with the increases in cases and positivity rates, the state has also seen a continued rise in hospitalizations due to the virus. According to IDPH data, 3,891 residents are currently hospitalized because of the virus. Of those patients, 772 are currently in intensive care units and 343 are on ventilators.

Watch Live: Chicago’s Mayor, Top Doctor to Update on COVID-19 in the City at 1 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s top doctor are expected to deliver an update on COVID-19 in the city Thursday afternoon.

Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, alongside other local officials, will speak from City Hall at 1 p.m., according to the mayor’s public schedule.

It’s not clear what the mayor and doctor plan to discuss, but the city postponed a travel order update on Tuesday due to the election and said an announcement would instead be made later in the week.

Chicago, along with the rest of Illinois, is currently under heightened coronavirus mitigations imposed by state, despite opposition from Lightfoot, which has led to the closure of indoor dining and bar service citywide.

But as positivity rates, cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the state, it remains unclear when such mitigations might be lifted.

The city is currently averaging a case rate higher than it ever saw during the original “peak” of coronavirus in early May, averaging more than 1,100 new diagnoses per day. That’s more than 40 cases a day for every 100,000 residents, well exceeding the city’s 15 cases per day requirement for states to be added to its travel order requiring a quarantine.

According to the latest data from CDPH, the city’s positivity rate is currently at 10.9%, well above the 8% threshold requiring stricter mitigations from the state and a significant increase from the 8.2% reported one week earlier. In order to have such restrictions lifted, the city would need to drop to 6.5% or lower for three consecutive days.

Illinois Continues Setting New Records as Cases Surge

On Wednesday, the state of Illinois reported its second-highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases, with 7,538 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

That number is just the latest in a string of staggering statistics coming in from around the state, as health officials deal with a new surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Here are the latest facts and figures from around the state as Illinois continues to see an explosion in new cases.

-The 7,538 new cases reported Wednesday in Illinois are the second-most reported in a single day during the pandemic. The current record for cases in a day was set on Saturday, when Illinois reported 7,899 new cases of the virus.

-Illinois has now reported at least 6,000 new coronavirus cases on each of the last eight days. Prior to this recent surge in cases, Illinois had topped 6,000 new cases in a day just once during the pandemic.

-Illinois is reporting more new cases than any other state in the nation, with 48,461 new cases of the virus in the last seven days. Texas, Wisconsin and California are also in the top five, according to data compiled by the NBC 5 Investigates team.

-The state is also reporting 54.6 new cases every day per 100,000 residents. For context, the city of Chicago requires visitors from other states to quarantine for two weeks if they’re coming from an area that is averaging 15 new cases per day per 100,000 residents.

-According to NBC 5 Investigates, Illinois is averaging 45 new coronavirus-related deaths per day. At that rate, the state will likely cross a sobering milestone later this week, with 10,000 coronavirus-related fatalities possible within the next two days.

-According to IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois has more than doubled its average number of deaths reported each day and its total hospitalizations due to the virus within the last month. As of midnight Wednesday, 3,761 patients are currently hospitalized in Illinois due to the virus, more than double the number that were in hospitals on Oct. 12.

Illinois’ Top Doctor Asks Poll Workers, Voters Get Tested for COVID-19

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike suggested Wednesday that poll workers, voters and others who participated in the election throughout the state be tested for the coronavirus.

“I’d also like to encourage people who recently participated in recent campaign rallies, worked in polling places, stood in line to vote where they couldn’t maintain social distance, participated in any protests, or any other recent events: please get tested,” Ezike said. “Wait approximately one week after the high risk exposure.”

If people in Illinois believe they have been exposed to the virus, Ezike asked that they quarantine from others before being tested as the state is already into the second wave of the pandemic with cases increasing daily.

She asked that even people who test negative for COVID-19 following a week of exposure to “be careful” as many develop symptoms up to two weeks after encountering the virus.

Illinois’ average number of deaths per day and hospitalizations have roughly doubled in the last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

During his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Pritzker said numbers for hospitalizations and positivity rates continue to rise across the state’s 11 regions, which are now all under heightened mitigations amid what’s been called a “second surge” of the virus.

“The virus is spreading, and every region of the state is suffering from its insidious, invisible contagion,” Pritzker said. “Make no mistake: this pandemic isn’t over, not by a long shot.”

Illinois Reports 7,538 New Coronavirus Cases, 55 Deaths as Positivity Rate Increases Again

Illinois saw another jump in its seven-day positivity rate, as the state reported 7,538 new cases of coronavirus and 55 deaths within the last 24 hours.

The new cases, which mark the state’s second-highest of the pandemic, lifted Illinois’ rolling seven-day positivity rate rise from 8.2% to 8.5%, the highest mark the state has seen since late May when the state was on its way down from its first coronavirus cases peak.

In all, 437,556 cases of the virus have been reported statewide since the pandemic began.

According to officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state also reported 55 additional deaths Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 9,933 deaths related to the virus.

The state says 71,857 test results have been returned to state labs in the last 24 hours, with 8,030,713 total tests performed during the pandemic.

Along with the increases in cases and positivity rates, the state has also seen a continued rise in hospitalizations due to the virus. According to IDPH data, 3,761 residents are currently hospitalized because of the virus, the highest number in that category since May 30. Of those patients, 776 are currently in intensive care units and 327 are on ventilators.

Enhanced Coronavirus Mitigations Begin in Region 2; All of Illinois Now Under Stricter Rules

Region 2, located in the western portion of Illinois, saw enhanced coronavirus mitigations put into place after reporting a positivity rate of more than 8% for three consecutive days.

With that, all 11 health care regions in the state of Illinois are now operating under enhanced mitigation rules as a result of elevated positivity rates and hospitalizations.

Region 2 includes Rock Island, Henry, Bureau, Putnam, Kendall, Grundy, Mercer, Knox, Henderson, Warren, McDonough, Fulton, Stark, Marshall, Peoria, Tazwell, McLean, Woodford, Livingston and LaSalle counties.

Under the new rules, all indoor dining and bar service will be suspended for at least two weeks, with gathering sizes now limited to 50 or fewer people.

“I know that the vast majority of people in this state want to keep themselves safe, their families and children safe, their parents, neighbors and friends,” Pritzker said in a statement. “As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people we love.”

Currently, nine other regions in the state are operating under the same restrictions as Region 2, with Region 1 operating under a second tier of restrictions in the northwestern corner of the state. There, gathering sizes are limited even further, with 10 or fewer people allowed to congregate, according to health officials.

Pritzker Urges Small Businesses to Apply for Grants as COVID-19 Restrictions Are Implemented

As the state continues to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker sought to highlight the efforts officials are taking to help suffering businesses.

According to Pritzker, the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has deployed more than $1 billion in economic relief to state businesses, including more than $270 million into its Business Interruption Grants program.

“With the resources we can afford, we’re continuing to dedicate substantial support for our state’s residents, their families, small businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments to help them get through this pandemic,” Pritzker said.

Thus far, the BIG program has distributed $95 million to businesses in 89 of Illinois’ 102 counties, and Pritzker says approximately $175 million is still available to businesses that apply for the program.

Small businesses interested in applying for those funds can visit the DCEO’s website. Applications will continue to be accepted until funds for the program are exhausted.

Of the funds distributed so far, nearly $47 million have gone to nearly 1,900 restaurants and taverns in the state, with another $9 million going to 416 gyms and fitness centers, according to data provided by the Pritzker administration. Indoor recreation and concert venues, along with event spaces, have also received funding through the program.

Pritzker’s administration says that another $270 million in funds has been set aside for child care restoration grants, while another $250 million has been set aside for local government grants through the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Support (CURES) program.

Those funds will be used to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 related expenses. Nearly $50 million has already been distributed through the program, with another $31.9 million currently being processed. More than $170 million still remains to be distributed, but Pritzker says that 560 local governments that are eligible for the funding have not yet registered for it, urging them to do so quickly.  

“This is an urgent call to action to local mayors and city councils outside of Cook and the collar counties: submit your costs soon to make sure your community is getting the local CURE dollars you deserve,” Pritzker said.

Even with all the funding the state has allocated and set aside during the pandemic, Pritzker says that he wants Illinois to be able to do more, but the lack of a second coronavirus relief bill at the federal level is hampering efforts to do so.

“The dollars provided by the federal government aren’t nearly enough, so I’ve simultaneously called for the federal government to deliver more direction assistance for Americans in every state, and I would encourage elected officials across the state to join me in that advocacy,” he said.

City of Chicago Shuts Down 3 Large Parties Violating Coronavirus Restrictions

The city of Chicago issued cease and desist orders to businesses that hosted illegal parties in “egregious” violations of COVID-19 regulations this past weekend, according to the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

While an investigation into more than 150 businesses found a “high level of compliance” with city regulations and state-imposed mitigation measures, two businesses and a third establishment were shut down for throwing parties with hundreds of people in attendance, BACP officials said.

In line with an order issued by the Chicago Department of Public Health on Oct. 23, all city residents are being asked to avoid social gatherings of more than six people and end all gatherings by 10 p.m.

According to state-issued mitigations triggered by a rising positivity rate in the city, gatherings must be limited to no more than 25 people or 25% of an overall room capacity.

In stark violation of the restrictions, Chicago Sports Complex, 2600 W. 35th St., had a gathering with more than 600 people who weren’t wearing face coverings of practicing social distancing, city officials said.

At DDC Studios, 6107 W. Diversey Ave., approximately 200 individuals attended a party and also weren’t practicing the recommended mitigation measures.

A party hosted by unknown individuals at 2147 S. Lumber Street was also broken up by BACP. Approximately 75 people were in attendance and not taking part in social distancing, according to officials.

“I want to applaud our business community for their continued commitment to keeping our community safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno said in the news release. “While blatant disregard for our COVID-19 regulations puts our entire community at risk and will not be tolerated, the vast majority of Chicago’s businesses are doing what is necessary to protect the health of their patrons and employees.”

City officials also learned of a Halloween party, located at 1900 N. Austin Ave., through Eventbrite, and were able to cancel the gathering before it took place. More than 500 people planned to attend, according to BACP.





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