November 13, 2020 – In an effort to slow the drastic rise of area COVID cases, local government officials strongly urge the public to follow Illinois Public Health Department (IDPH) guidance and avoid all non-essential activities for the next three weeks. IDPH guidance issued on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 recommends that for the next three weeks, residents "stay home as much as possible, leaving only for necessary and essential activities, such as work that must be performed outside the home, COVID-19 testing, visiting the pharmacy, and buying groceries." Schools remain in virtual learning models and employers are urged to have employees work from home as much as possible during this time period.
As case counts rise in Lake County and throughout the state, the current trajectory of new cases and hospitalizations is not sustainable. Hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. In Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, daily hospitalizations for COVID-19-like illness have quadrupled in the past month.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the public is urged to halt small social gatherings including holiday dinners with friends and family from other households, hosting or attending parties, in-person personal or business meetings, sleepovers, and playdates. If small social gatherings must occur, they should be held outside, socially distanced and with masks worn. Individuals should not host or attend indoor gatherings with guests from other households. It is not safe to have anyone in your home who does not live there. Unlike outdoor events, indoor settings often don’t allow for sufficient social distancing or fresh air circulation, which is of particular concern when guests remove their face coverings to eat or drink. The risk of infection rises dramatically indoors.
We all share a responsibility to adjust our activities and expectations for the health and safety of ourselves and our neighbors. While these restrictions are especially difficult as the holiday season approaches, and students once again are missing out on meaningful activities and opportunities, these are necessary public health measures. Parents play a pivotal role in ensuring that children, especially teens and college students, understand the consequences of failing to follow public health guidance. Asymptomatic spread continues to be a tremendous risk to the community.
Parents should plan ahead with their returning college students about safely returning home from campus. College students returning home from the semester may encounter greater community spread at home than at school, where testing regimens to avoid spread within the student population can result in COVID-19 positivity rates that are lower than in surrounding areas. Students are urged to be cautious and recognize that activities that might have been permitted on campus are not advisable at home. Conversely, students may be on a campus where they have higher risk for exposure and should take additional precautions when they arrive home. Guidance for travelers may be found at dph.illinois.gov/covid19.
Guidance from public health experts is clear:
- Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth whenever you leave your home. The CDC now reports that face coverings provide protection to the wearer and others.
- Stay home as much as possible and avoid any non-essential activities in public for the next three weeks.
- Avoid social events or gatherings with others. Do not host parties or other group events in your home.
- Maintain a six-foot distance from others who do not live in your household.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth.
We must do everything we can to diminish straining our healthcare system and avoiding additional restrictions. We must take action now to once again flatten the curve and keep our most vulnerable community members safe. Together, we can curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
Sandy Hart, Chair
Lake County Board
Gary Gibson, County Administrator
Mark Pfister, Executive Director, Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center
City of Highland Park
Nancy R. Rotering, Mayor
Highland Park City Council
Ghida S. Neukirch, City Manager
North Shore School District 112
Bennett Lasko, President
North Shore School District 112 Board
Michael Lubelfeld, Superintendent
Township High School District 113
Jodi Shapira, President
Township High School District 113 Board
Bruce Law, Superintendent
Park District of Highland Park
Barnett Ruttenberg, President
Park District of Highland Park Board
Brian Romes, Executive Director
Highland Park Public Library
Richard Basofin, President
Board of Trustees
Chad Clark, Assistant Director/Interim Director
Anne Flanigan Bassi, Supervisor
Board of Trustees
West Deerfield Township
Alyson M. Feiger, Supervisor
Board of Trustees
Illinois Department of Public Health is available at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/.
Lake County’s response to COVID-19 is available at lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus.
The City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at cityhpil.com/covid-19.
North Shore School District 112 is available at nssd112.org.
Township High School District 113 is available at dist113.org.
The Park District of Highland Park is available at pdhp.org.
The Highland Park Public Library is available at hplibrary.org.
Moraine Township is accessible at morainetownship.org.
West Deerfield Township is accessible at westdeerfieldtownship.org.