Illinois COVID-19 Update: Tier 3 mitigations take effect; IL reports 13,012 new coronavirus cases, 126 deaths

Illinois coronavirus restrictions include closing casinos, banquet halls

ByJessica D'Onofrio, Eric Horng, and ABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, November 21, 2020
IL Tier 3 mitigations take effect at end of deadliest week in 6 months
Illinois reported 13,012 new COVID-19 cases and 126 deaths Friday, capping the deadliest week the state has seen in six months.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker's Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions went into effect Friday across Illinois as cases continue to surge.

Illinois public health officials reported 13,012 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 along with 126 deaths Friday. It's the third day in a row deaths have surpassed 100 a day.

The total number of cases in Illinois now stands at 634,395, with a total of 11,304 deaths. This was the third day in a row that Illinois reported more than 100 COVID-19 deaths, which hasn't happened since mid-May.

In the past seven days, officials said COVID-19 has killed more than 800 people in Illinois. That's the state's deadliest week in six months.

At his daily briefing Friday, Governor JB Pritzker brought in through video the family of 30-year-old Danielle Kater of Bloomington, who died earlier this month.

Top Illinois officials pleaded with Illinoisans to take COVID-19 seriously, warning of hospitals approachign capacity and rising deaths. 30-year-old Danielle Kater is one of them.

Her mother, father and young widower asked people to take the virus seriously.

"These aren't just numbers. They're not just statistics. They're real people with real lives and real futures that have been stolen by this virus," her mother Tina Rubin said.

"If we all stay home as much as possible, if we all avoid the trips outside the house that we don't need to take right now, we can fight this recent surge and turn things around for our healthcare workers and hospital systems," Pritzker said.

WATCH: Gov. Pritzker, Dr. Ezike give COVID-19 update

Governor JB Pritkzer and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike gave a COVID-19 update for Illinois as the state reported more than 13,000 new cases and Tier 3 mitigations took effect.

At Rush University Medical Center, where the lobby is now a triage area, nurses from specialized units are now helping with the surge of COVID patients.

"We're floating a lot to the COVID units because they are literally at full tilt right now, including many patients in the ICUs, and it's just getting worse every day," said Pam Katz, oncology nurse at Rush.

Katz is exhausted and also frustrated.

"I hear stories from the other nurses," she said. "We've got people in the ICUs and even just the regular COVID units saying, 'Well I don't have COVID. This is pneumonia. This is...' There's even patients saying, well, I'd rather this be lung cancer than COVID."

Silver Cross Hospital in Will County is feeling the challenge of the surging cases, as hospital beds fill up.

Will County and Kankakee County form Region 7, where officials say there are only 22 ICU beds now available for a combined population of 800,000 people.

RELATED: Where to find COVID-19 testing in Chicago area

In Will and Kankakee just 11 percent of non-ICU beds are free; Kane and DuPage counties are also below the 20% warning threshold.

"I think it's a dire situation. Their positivity is still going up, which means that we're going to continue to see more people infected," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, IDPH director.

Another sign of the strain on health systems: officials say increasingly Illinois hospitals are requesting they be placed on bypass because of a full emergency department and a shortage of beds

Illinois Tier 3 restrictions now in effect

Tier 3 mitigation restrictions are now in effect throughout the state of Illinois, vastly reducing non-essential business capacities and closing indoor activits to prevent the spre

The new Tier 3 restrictions aim to limit gatherings and encourage residents to stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus. The entire state entered Tier 3 mitigation Friday at 12:01 a.m.

"Tier 3 boils down to this: If you don't need to do it, don't," Pritzker said.

The new Tier 3 restrictions close gaming and casinos, theaters, banquet halls and event spaces, cultural institutions like museums, prohibit indoor fitness classes and group sporting activities, and call on all workplaces to have as many employees work from home as possible.

Already struggling retailers will be limited to 25% capacity, including big box stores with a grocery section. Traditional grocers are allowed to continue operating at 50% capacity.

"We're kind of going back to March, the way it was, and adding some new things," said Julie Judd, sotre manager of Stockhom Objects.

Small local businesses are thinking of you and how to keep you safe while also keeping themselves afloat.

"As far as personal appointments, we can do it before the store opens or after, that's certainly an option," Judd said.

"We can give you a tour of our store and talk you through apparel, whether you are buying for yourself and need some advice on warm winter gear or if you are buying for a loved one," said Tiffany Cruickshank, owner of Peak Running in LaGrange. "Safety is our first priority for our customers."

Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigations took effect across Illinois Friday.

E Town Fitness Club owner Kevin Teborek is pivoting once again to accommodate his members. The new statewide restrictions that went in place Friday prohibit gyms from conducting indoor fitness classes.

"We modified our workouts for people who were at home," Teborek said. "We lent out over $60,000 worth of equipment to our members so they could bring stuff home and continue doing workouts."

Gyms are still allowed to operate, but many are feeling the crunch. Katie Dell, a loyal member of Teborek's Evanston fitness club, wants to make sure it stays strong.

"It doesn't affect me personally with my routine here but I know it affects the gym as a business too, so I have a vested interest in making sure that my coach continues to have a job, that the gym continues to run," Dell said.

The lines at an Evanston Trader Joe's were longer Friday than before, according to customers.

"I sense that same fear, and I have to get it now because I don't know what's coming," customer Sarah Opdycke said.

Click here to read the complete set of Tier 3 Mitigations for all businesses in Illinois.

"This is not a stay-at-home order, but the best way for us to avoid a stay-at-home order is to stay home," Pritzker said.

Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she understands how Illinoisans are feeling but asked them to hold on.

"I urge people to turn their frustration and their anger into something positive instead of trying to buck the mitigations can we all just follow them, acknowledging that these are what are needed to get back to some sense of normal," she said.

Bars and restaurants remain limited to outdoor service, pickup and delivery only. Grocery stores can only operate at 50% capacity, gyms can only be open at 25% capacity with reservations, hotels are limited to registered guests, salons and other personal care services can only operate at 25% capacity, pharmacies at 50% capacity, non-essential retail at 25% capacity, and 10 person gathering limits are in place for outdoor sports and recreation.

As cases surge across the state, college students are coming home for Thanksgiving break. University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones discussed the school's approach Friday.

WATCH: University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones discusses college students heading home for Thanksgiving 2020

University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones discussed college students heading home for Thanksgiving Friday morning.

And while decisions about schools will still be made locally, the state is suspending indoor group sports, including IHSA.

"Right now, this virus has backed us into a corner, and we are left making insanely difficult and weighty decisions," Ezike said.

Rob Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, agrees.

"We think the governor's announcement strikes the right balance amidst a very difficult situation," he said. "Obviously, we would hope that everyone was open and doing business as normal, but that's just not the situation we find ourselves in."

WATCH: Event venues scramble as Tier 3 mitigations loom

Event venues are scrambling to reschedule weddings and holiday parties. Some of those events were set to happen this weekend.

Event venues are scrambling to reschedule weddings and holiday parties. Some of those events were set to happen this weekend.

"It's scary," said Tracy Opel, with Biagio Events and Catering. "This is my career. This is my livelihood."

Celebrations have been put on hold once again at banquet halls starting Friday.

"We keep getting shut down," Opel said. "We keep losing our business. We keep stopping events. We keep postponing events."

WATCH: Illinois hospital systems nearing 'a breaking point,' administrator says

The state surpassed 6,000 people in Illinois hospitals on Thursday, a new record and nearly double the number at the start of the month.

Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 116,024 tests, the most ever in one day. In total there have been 9,588,698 specimens tested since the start of the pandemic in Illinois.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from Nov. 14-20, dropped to 13.4%.

As of Thursday night, 6,111 people in Illinois were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 1,196 patients were in the ICU with COVID-19 and 604 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

Region 8, which includes DuPage and Kane counties, is now failing to meet the hospital bed availability threshold of 20%.

RELATED: Myths about COVID-19 busted: Masks, indoor transmission, cold weather, and more

The deaths reported Friday include:

- Adams County: 1 male 80s

- Bureau County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s

- Champaign County: 1 female 80s

- Coles County: 1 female 90s

- Cook County: 1 male 30s, 1 male 40s, 2 females 50s, 2 males 50s, 4 females 60s, 7 males 60s, 6 females 70s, 11 males 70s, 9 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 2 males 90s, 1 female over 100, 1 male over 100

- DeKalb County: 1 female 40s

- DeWitt County: 1 female 80s

- Douglas County: 1 male 80s

- DuPage County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 2 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s

- Effingham County: 1 female 60s

- Franklin County: 1 male 90s

- Grundy County: 1 female 70s

- Kane County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s

- Kendall County: 1 male 90s

- Knox County: 1 female 80s

- Lake County: 1 male 40s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s

- LaSalle County: 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 male 90s

- Macon County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s

- Madison County: 1 male 20s, 1 female 70s, 2 females 80s

- Mason County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 90s

- McDonough County: 1 male 60s

- McHenry County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s

- McLean County: 1 male 80s

- Mercer County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s

- Monroe County: 1 female 80s

- Ogle County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s

- Pike County: 1 male 80s

- Randolph County: 1 female 80s

- Rock Island County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s

- Sangamon County: 1 female 80s

- Stephenson County: 1 female 70s

- Tazewell County: 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s

- Whiteside County: 2 males 50s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s

- Will County: 1 male 50s, 1 female over 100

- Winnebago County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s

- Woodford County: 1 female over 100