Experts recommend reconsidering Thanksgiving traditions as COVID-19 cases escalate

There were 1,373 new COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths from respiratory disease on Monday, officials announced, as the average daily infections and hospitalizations continue.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that statewide caseload stands at 262,744, with 8,314 deaths.

The average number of new cases a day in September is 1,980, which is 9% above the August average of 1,812.5 and about 72% higher than the July 1,150 tally.

As of Sunday night, 1,431 patients at the hospital in Illinois were sick. The average daily number of virus hospitalizations so far in September is 1,542 compared to August’s 1,521 daily average.

At Edward’s Hospital in Naperville, COVID-19 includes some patients who were in contact with the disease with relatives who dined, said Director of Infection Control and Prevention Jonathan Pinsky.

“They may be wearing masks but they take off their masks while eating. People don’t realize that the virus doesn’t take a break when you eat,” Pinsky said.

Given this, now is a good time to hit the reset button on your traditional Thanksgiving feast with extended family and friends, experts recommend.

Sitting nonchalantly in close proximity with people at a table for a long period means “a high risk of transmission,” Pinsky said.

“I think there is a risk involved in having a thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.”

Instead, consider finding an activity to do together that does not involve dining out, or prefer to separate the guests from the seating, preferably outside, he advised.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 3.6%. In the last 24 hours, Illinois Lab reported 35,930 tests, and the daily positivity rate is 3.8%.

Of the 8,314 deaths in the state, 3,720 or 45% are 80 and older. The second largest category is Illinois aged 70 to 79, accounting for 24% of fatalities or 1,998 individuals according to IDPH data.

The demographic with the lowest deaths is young Illinois. Six people, aged 19 and younger, have died of the disease, and 29 of the 20 people have died. Combined, that comes down to less than 1%.

Among the deaths announced on Monday was a woman from Cook County in her 70s.

The test positivity rate for Will and Kankakee counties is going below average by more than 8%, which triggered state restrictions, including a ban on indoor food, in late August. The region has a positive test rate of 7.2% over seven days compared to Friday. The ban will remain until the counties’ positivity rate falls to 6.5% or less.


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