BREAKING: Illinois Covid Numbers ‘Past Peak,’ Pritzker Says; Mask Mandate Ending Soon?
BREAKING NEWS: Illinois covid numbers appear to have peaked and are on the decline, Gov. JB Pritzker and other officials are saying the state’s numbers are headed in the right direction, and some are speculating on when all the restrictions — from the mask mandate to vaccine and test proof to enter businesses — are going to finally be lifted.
Some are wondering if Pritzker will soon be lifting the mask mandate or pushing for the lifting of any of the other mandates regionally applied in the state, including the proof of vaccination or test restriction imposed by Chicago and Cook County.
Both Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during press conferences on Wednesday that the state has begun to move past the omicron peak.
“I am very, very pleased to say that we have formally passed the omicron peak here in the city of Chicago,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said yesterday during the daily covid briefing.
“Over the last two years, I’ve said over and over that you don’t know when a surge has reached its peak until you’re on the other side of it,” Pritzker said during the covid update. “Today is our seventh day since we saw peak hospitalizations of 7,380 reported on Jan. 13 – that’s 1,145 more than the previous pandemic peak on Nov. 21.”
Arwady said the city will be lifting restrictions “at some point,” but said it depended on the numbers continuing to go down.
“When we get back down into that sort of moderate-low risk, we will not have the vaccination requirements in place because the vaccination requirement is in place in high risk settings and that setting is especially high risk when the numbers are high, etc., etc.,” Arwady said. “However, the timing of that? I don’t know yet.”
The numbers have been headed downwards, but are still high in general. Illinois is “only” averaging 27,795 cases per day, which not too long ago would’ve been a humungous surge, but, relative to recent numbers, is an 14.4 percent decrease from the peak hit on Jan. 12.
And with 6,507 patients currently hospitalized for covid in the state, hospitalizations are down nearly 12 percent in the last week.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 20,483 new confirmed and probable cases of covid reported in the last 24 hours statewide. In all, 2,682,983 total cases of the virus have been reported during the pandemic.
“I want to be clear, I am cautiously optimistic, but there are an awful lot of people battling for their lives in hospitals across Illinois,” Pritzker said.
Despite the speculation, which is perhaps wishful thinking on the part of many, both the Governor and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the mandates will likely remain for the near future. Both said, during the press conference, that it was “still far too early” to roll back restrictions, including mask mandates and the city of Chicago’s vaccine mandate.
However, they did both say they will continue to monitor data to determine when it will be safe to do so.
“It’s really important over these next few weeks and months that we continue to work hard on getting folks vaccinated, getting folks tested, continuing to wear our masks, because there is a long way to come down,” Arwady said. “However, I’m really pleased to have seen this turnaround.”
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