Illinois health officials release holiday safety tips as statewide positivity rate rises

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Health officials reported 2,862 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois Wednesday, including 49 additional deaths alongside holiday safety tips ahead of the season.

The Illinois Department of Public Health now reports a total of 327,605 cases, including 9,074 deaths since the pandemic began.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from October 7 – October 13 is 4.6%, the highest rate the state has seen since June.

After holding steady for months, the number of confirmed cases has risen steadily in the last eight days.

“Everybody needs to socially distance. We are doing everything we can to prevent more people from getting COVID,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

The Galena and Rockford areas in region 11 now have positivity rates above 10%.

In a statement, IDPH said it will adjust how data is reported for Region 6, east central Illinois.

Health officials said Champaign County and its data will continue to be included in Region 6, but University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign saliva testing will be broken out separately. 

The IDPH also issued COVID-19 holiday safety tips on Wednesday, encouraging limiting the number of guests at gatherings and having as many activities outside as possible.

The tips also suggest wearing masks and opening windows when inside, and encourages online shopping to avoid crowds.

Other suggestions include having one person serve the food at the event to avoid multiple people handling utensils and receiving a flu vaccine prior to the holiday season.

The past holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day have all led to spikes in cases.

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