Governor encourages Halloween safety practices as Illinois' daily COVID-19 caseload nears 7,000

Governor encourages Halloween safety practices as Illinois approaches 7k daily COVID-19 cases
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers daily coronavirus briefing on Friday. Photo credit WBBM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — As Illinois' daily coronavirus caseload continues to break records, its governor and top doctor on Friday pleaded with residents to make “pandemic-guided decisions” for their “continued good health” this Halloween weekend.

“Find new ways to celebrate the holiday while staying safe from the virus. And make sure you find a way to build that surgical or medical mask into your costume,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during his daily press briefing.

The governor also stressed the importance of social distancing and hand washing to help combat the virus and encouraged people get flu shots.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, discouraged indoor Halloween parties, saying they “just aren’t likely to be safe” and urged people to celebrate virtually from home instead. Those insisting on partying away from home should remain masked and keep activities outdoors, Ezike said.

“Let’s do the right thing so that our next holidays will not give us a reason to mourn,” she said.

Community transmission rates rising around the state have contributed to the record-breaking 6,943 new confirmed cases reported on Friday as well as a record-setting 95,111 tests taken over the past 24 hours. IDPH also reported 35 additional deaths.

Overnight, 3,092 people were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19, according to the IDPH. Of those, 673 patients were in the intensive care unit and 288 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

“We have more individuals in the ICU and we have more people on ventilators compared to just a week ago, two weeks ago,” Ezike said.

To date, Illinois has a total of 402,401 coronavirus cases and 9,711 related deaths. The state has conducted more than 7.6 million coronavirus tests.

Over the past week, Pritzker has been retightening coronavirus-related restrictions across the state to mitigate rising cases. Indoor bar and restaurant service along with gatherings over 25 people have been temporarily banned in Chicago beginning Friday and Lake and McHenry counties beginning Saturday.

Pritzker announced on Friday that Region 6, which includes East-Central Illinois, will begin similar mitigations beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.