As coronavirus cases continue spiking across Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned that stay-at-home orders could be coming soon but stopped short of imposing such sweeping restrictions on residents, instead urging people to stay home voluntarily and cancel holiday gatherings.

“If things don’t take a turn in the coming days, we will quickly reach the point when some form of a mandatory stay-at-home order is all that will be left,” Pritzker said at a coronavirus briefing in Chicago on Thursday. “With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there. But right now, that seems like where we are heading.”

Earlier Thursday, Lightfoot announced she was issuing a non-mandatory stay-at-home advisory to take effect Monday. It encourages residents not to leave their homes except to work, attend school, seek medical care, shop for groceries or pick up takeout food. Those who do go out are encouraged to wear a face mask at all times. A day earlier, the Illinois Department of Public Health released similar guidance urging residents to limit “nonessential” trips to public places and to work from home, if possible.

GOPUSA Editor’s Note: Look where the hypocritical Lightfoot was last Saturday.

The statewide stay-at-home order Pritzker put in place this spring, during the first COVID-19 surge, was the farthest-reaching measure he’s taken to curb the spread of coronavirus to date, and Thursday’s threat of another comes as the state for the second consecutive day recorded the highest number of hospitalizations seen during the pandemic so far.

The state Department of Public Health on Thursday announced an additional 12,702 newly confirmed and probable cases and an additional 43 deaths of people with COVID-19 in Illinois. The new and probable cases set yet another record for a daily high, and the average number of new cases over the past week now stands at 11,625.

The number of people with COVID-19 in Illinois who were in the hospital as of Wednesday night, 5,258, was higher than at any point during the first surge in the spring.

“We never saw that number in wave one,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “This is an all-time high, and I am telling you that number is only going to increase based on the number of cases that we’ve identified for the last several weeks.”

Of those hospitalized across the state, 956 patients were in intensive care units and 438 were on ventilators.

With the addition of Thursday’s new cases and deaths, the state is reporting 536,542 known cases throughout the course of the pandemic, and a death toll of 10,477. The newly confirmed cases on Thursday resulted from a batch of 100,617 tests conducted during a 24-hour period. The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a share of total tests conducted was 12.6% for the period that ended Wednesday, up from 8% on Nov. 1 and up from 4.3% a month earlier, on Oct. 12.

Lightfoot and other Chicago leaders sounded a dire note about the city’s COVID-19 outbreak. “If we continue on the path we’re on and you and me and others don’t step up and do more, our estimates are that we could see 1,000 more Chicagoans die from this virus by the end of the year,” the mayor said.

Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned that the city’s cases could reach 4,000 per day by Thanksgiving if the current spike in cases continues.

The Tribune’s Dan Petrella contributed.

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