(Bloomberg) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday issued an advisory urging residents to avoid leaving home except for work, school and other essentials as new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations surge.
The advisory will take effect on Monday and stay in place for 30 days, or until the health commissioner changes it. If the city continues on the current path, at least 1,000 more Chicagoans could die from the virus by the end of the year, Lightfoot said during a press conference on Thursday.
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“This is literally a matter of life or death,” Lightfoot said. “We all have to step up and do our part.”
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The advisory comes as Illinois reported its third straight day of record coronavirus cases. On Thursday, the daily case count in Illinois reached 12,702 from 12,657 a day earlier. While daily Covid-19 deaths fell to 43 from 145, the case positivity rate of tests rose to 12.6%. Illinois is also seeing record Covid-19 hospitalizations with 5,258 Covid-19 patients hospitalized, according to the department of health.
Residents should cancel traditional celebrations for the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 26 and avoid travel. Chicago is “really seeing” the spread in private social gatherings including homes, weddings and even funerals, Lightfoot said.
“We’ve seen no sign of slowing here,” Allison Arwady, the commissioner of Chicago’s department of public health, said during Thursday’s press conference. “We are in uncharted territory.”
With the winter, flu season and fatigue that residents are feeling amid the months-long pandemic, Chicago has “the potential” to create a catastrophe that could be avoided if people change their behavior, Arwady said.
“These next seven weeks are going to be crucial,” Lightfoot said.
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