15 C
New York
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Buy now

spot_img

Watch now: Pritzker waiting for decline in COVID-19 transmission before lifting indoor mask mandate – Bloomington Pantagraph

Governor

Wearing a mask with the State of Illinois emblem, Gov. J.B. Pritzker arrives at a coronavirus testing site in Chicago in 2020. He reinstated the indoor mask mandate in August.

ABEL URIBE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks about the state’s COVID mitigation measures, including its indoor mask mandate. READ MORE HERE.

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday he’s looking for clear signs that coronavirus transmission is on the decline in Illinois before he’ll consider lifting the indoor mask mandate he reinstated in late August amid a surge driven by the virus’ highly contagious delta variant.

“We’re watching to make sure that we’re on a good downward trajectory,” Pritzker said during an unrelated event at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago’s Loop. “That’s what we were looking for back in May leading into June; it’s what we’re looking for now in order for us to possibly make changes.”

State health officials reported 1,822 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the lowest one-day total in three weeks, though the figure tends to dip on Mondays. Over the past week, the state has averaged 2,743 cases per day.

That’s down from an average of 2,863 daily cases a week earlier but a slight increase from a recent low of 2,669 cases per day during the week that ended Thursday.

When Pritzker announced Aug. 26 that he was putting the mask requirement back in place for people in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, the state was averaging 3,657 cases per day. That figure climbed as high as 4,440 cases per day during the week ending Sept. 4 before beginning to fall.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pritzker lifted the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in mid-May. He ended nearly all remaining coronavirus-related restrictions June 11, but unvaccinated people were supposed to continue wearing masks indoors when in public.

As the delta variant surged this summer, the CDC revised its guidance, urging people in areas with “substantial” or “high” rates of coronavirus transmission to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC also recommended universal masking in school settings nationwide, which Pritzker adopted as state policy on Aug. 4.

Despite recent declines in new cases and other measures of the pandemic, all 102 counties in Illinois continue to meet the criteria for areas of substantial or high transmission, according to the latest CDC data.

Pritzker said his administration continues closely monitoring hospitalizations in particular, which remain “relatively high,” even after recent declines.

As of Sunday night, 1,687 COVID-19 patients were filling hospital beds statewide, for an average of 1,796 patients per day over the past week. That’s down from an average of 1,950 per day the previous week and 2,244 per day a month earlier. There also have been declines in the average number of patients in intensive care units and on ventilators, according to state data.

The number of new patients being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19-like illness also has been dropping, reaching an average of 159 patients per day during the week ending Friday, down from 169 per day a week earlier and 234 per day in early September.

In some regions, the health care system remains stretched especially thin. As of Sunday night, there were only six ICU beds available across 20 counties in southern Illinois, a region that last month ran out of beds for a while.

In Chicago, the average number of new cases has been falling slowly since the last half of August, when it climbed over 500 several times in a delta variant-driven surge. As of last week, new daily cases were down to 354, a drop of more than 30% since Aug. 17. That’s far below the worst of the pandemic last November, when Chicago came close to 2,500 new cases per day.

Hospitalizations have followed a similar trend, with the seven-day average dropping from 42 in late August to 25 last week. COVID-19-related deaths in Chicago have remained at or below 5 per day since June.

Vaccination rates in the city have been largely stagnant since July, hovering around 4,000 to 5,000 shots administered per day.

Statewide, vaccinations appear to be increasing again after declining for much of September.

During the week ending Sunday, an average of 30,136 doses were administered per day, up from an average of 20,765 a week earlier. It’s unclear how much of the recent increase can be attributed to people receiving recently authorized third-dose booster shots.

Just over 65% of the eligible population — those 12 and older — have been fully vaccinated in Illinois, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.

?s=96&d=mm&r=g

Related Articles

Stay Connected

0FansLike
2,985FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles