Statewide stay-at-home order, not if but when

Repeatedly this week, Governor J.B. Pritzker has put the citizens of Illinois on notice that he may have no choice but to issue a second statewide lockdown if the COVID-19 metrics continue to rise at an alarming rate. It is clearly obvious by the accelerated surge in positive cases he will in all likelihood announce another mandated shelter-in-place order in days ahead.

"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 will be all that is left," Governor Pritzker said. "With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there. But, right now, that seems where we are headed."

Hospitalizations are at an all-time high with cases increasing by 459% since October 1. As of Wednesday night, there were 5,258 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 around the state. Almost 1,000 individuals, 956 were being cared for in ICUs with 438 of them on ventilators.

In a preemptive move to reduce a possible strain on treatment and the spread of COVID-19, the City of Chicago issued its own stay-at-home advisory starting Monday.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 5-11 exceeds the 8% mitigation trigger point established in the governor's Restore Illinois plan which is now at 13.9%.

On Tuesday, as cases in The Sentinel's area of coverage in Champaign County fell to a two-week low of 23, the Illinois Department of Public Health began asking residents to enter a voluntary a quasi-quarantine by working from home if possible and to only go out for essential activities - such as grocery shopping, visiting a pharmacy or getting a COVID-19 test. The state agency also asked people to limit travel especially to areas experiencing high positivity rates and to limit gatherings - even small groups - that mix households for the next three weeks, including through the Thanksgiving holiday.

As of today, there 43 active cases in the communities The Sentinel serves and and another 600 in Champaign County. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is reporting two new additional COVID-19 deaths bringing the total to 39.

The news comes three days after the district agency reported eight deaths between November 5 and 11, including a female and a male patient in their 50s, a female in her 60s, two women in their 70s, two men in their 80s and a 90 year-old male succumbed to the viral infection.

Champaign County, which is in Region 6 in the IDPH COVID-19 Resurgence data tracking, is showing a 7-day rolling average of 2.0. Subtracting out the testing from the University of Illinois' rigorous testing protocols, the county's positivity is at 8.7.

As of Monday only Moultrie County was showing a rolling positivity rate below Champaign's number.

Clark County was at 12.1, Clay 18.1, Coles 12.4, Crawford 9.9, Cumberland 14.7, DeWitt 12.7, Douglas 12.2, Edgar 13.6, Effingham 21.7, Fayette 26.7, Ford 11.6, Iroquois 18.2, Jasper 11.8, Lawrence 11.3, Macon 16, Moultrie 8.6, Piatt 12.6, Richland 16, Shelby 14.2 and Vermilion County was at 12.2 on Monday.

Fayette County record some of the highest single-day positivity in the county with four days between October 30 and November 9 above 30.0.

Last Friday, 15 tests performed in Crawford County yielded seven confirmed cases for the highest single-day positivity of 46.7.

On Tuesday Pritzker asked his constituents to show restraint and do the right thing voluntarily to fight the surge and need for him to issue another shelter-in-place order.

"It's critical to remember that nothing makes a bigger deterrence in this pandemic than when a community decides to protect your own by wearing masks, by avoiding gatherings, by temporarily closing high-risk, high-exposure business until we get to a place where it opens again."

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