Illinois isn't under another "stay-at-home" order yet, but the Illinois Department of Public Health would like residents to treat the next three weeks like the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the heels of a report that 145 more Illinoisans have died from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours (the highest number of reported deaths in the state since June 8), IDPH is urging residents to take drastic measures, working toward a goal "to reduce transmission as we head into the holidays so businesses and schools can remain open."
An IDPH press release recommends that Illinoisans work from home if possible, participate only in essential activities and limit travel and gatherings over the next three weeks. While IDPH is urging people to stay at home as much as possible, it recognizes that people may have to leave their homes for "work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries."
The recommendation to limit travel and gatherings as Thanksgiving approaches echoes the comments of Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, who recently suggested that Chicagoans cancel their Thanksgiving travel plans. Citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health experts, IDPH notes that "gatherings and travel in and out of communities present a high risk of spreading the infection."
While Chicago officials introduced a revised emergency travel order yesterday that requires travelers coming or returning to Chicago from most U.S. states to self-quarantine for 14 days, there's still no real enforcement for violations of the order. Coupled with Gov. J.B. Pritzker's current strategy of imposing mitigations in regions throughout the state rather than another "stay-at-home" order, it's unclear if recommendations from health officials will be enough to keep residents at home and control the spread of COVID-19 in Illinois.
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