Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on Thursday told residents who want to hold a small in-person Thanksgiving gathering to start quarantining now ahead of the holiday to curb the latest surge of. Pritzker also commended the city of Chicago's decision to impose a and an indoor/outdoor gathering cap of 10 people at businesses.
"If you're choosing to travel, it is even more important that you take extra caution in the coming weeks," the governor said at a press conference Thursday. "If you do choose to have a small in-person Thanksgiving, have every single person more or less quarantine for two weeks prior, which would be today."
Pritzker continued to urge people in the state to keep gatherings small, continue to social distance and use face coverings. "We're asking Illinois to stay home as much as possible and only leave for essential activities," he said.
The governor also addressed the surge of demand for COVID-19 tests and said many state-run community testing sites have reached their capacity. Pritzker again warned there is a statewide double-digit positivity rate — and the spike of new COVIDare the worst since the pandemic began in the spring.
Pritzker commended Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's decision to enact a stay-at-home advisory that begins Monday, saying, "It's never an easy [decision] to make, but it's the right one. Let this be a model for action for the rest of the state."
State public health officials reported 12,702 new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in Illinois on Thursday, the third consecutive day Illinois has seen a record high for daily case count. Illinois also reported a new high of more than 5,200 coronavirus hospitalizations.
The governor warned that if the daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations keep going up, more drastic measures may have to be taken, which could include a statewide shutdown like one that was enacted in the spring.
"We are left with not many tools left in our toolbox to fight this. The numbers don't lie. 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," he said. "With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there, but right now that seems like where we are headed."