Precautions urged for holiday parties as COVID-19 cases rise

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois’ public health director is urging residents to celebrate the holidays with limited activities and greater precautions because of the persistence of COVID-19. Dr. Ngoze Ezike said people who are sick should not attend celebrations at all. Her cautionary note came as Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has risen all across the state. Officials announced 2,862 new cases of the highly contagious illness Wednesday, and 49 additional deaths.  COVID-19 has now claimed 9,074 lives among 327,605 confirmed cases. Ezike suggested that holiday celebrations be planned carefully, from modes of travel to dinner-table seating arrangements.