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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – First cases in Central and Southern Illinois

Published: Saturday, March 14, 2020 02:13 PM

Gov. Pritzker's Saturday daily briefing put the current number of cases of COVID-19 at 64, an increase of 18 cases.

Those included the first reported cases in Central and Southern Illinois, including cases in Cumberland, Woodford, DuPage and St. Clair counties.

One of the additional cases is a woman in her 60s in a long term care facility in DuPage County. The facility was not named, but Gov. Pritzker said visitors have been prohibited and enhanced cleaning, care and quarantine procedures have been instituted there.

Pritzker further entreated Illinoisans to remain indoors.

"When you are going out in public you are potentially giving somebody COVID-19, so please go home. Gather in smaller groups," he said.

Public health officials clarified that IDPH's hotline is not for requesting testing. If somebody suspects they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should:​

  • NOT go directly to a health care provider until they have called ahead.
  • Call a health care provider: This could be your primary care physician, or, if you do not have one, a local clinic.
  • ​Follow the health care provider's instructions on where to go and what to do.

Pritzker and public health officials stressed that not all people who desire a test will need one, and that not all those infected with COVID-19 will require hospitalization. They renewed their call on Illinoisans who are sick and yet feel physically able to work to nonetheless remain home to prevent the spread.

The governor also cautioned young people to not carry a sense of invincibility just because the disease generally doesn’t present health risks to them. He warned that young people can still carry the disease into more susceptible populations.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady announced meals will be made available during certain hours on certain days at Chicago schools. Chicago libraries will remain open to serve as safe places for those affected by school closures, with enhanced cleaning procedures now in place.

To reiterate the governor’s comments:

“Not everyone who wants a test needs a test.”

Illinois, and the rest of the country, gets its tests from the CDC.

There is a limited number of tests. Illinois has received thousands of test kits but as the governor has said the state needs “hundreds of thousands.” The shortage of tests from federal authorities is a major point of contention across the country.

IDPH has a decision matrix for deciding who gets tested. It is focused on high risk, high priority patients. In general, to qualify for testing through an IDPH lab, you would need to have a fever or other symptoms of a lower respiratory illness AND then check another high-risk box, such as having recently traveled to a hot-spot country, or underlying compromised immune system.

Commercial lab testing appears to be coming online that may soon provide greater flexibility and options.

Other relevant information:

You may have seen media or social media references to “drive through testing.”

Be careful how you interpret that.

It’s usually “drive through specimen collection” in order to keep high risk individuals out of health care facilities where they could expose others.

It is NOT convenience testing for the general public.

For instance, a drive-through site in Colorado had to be shut down by the state after the line of cars stretched to a four hour wait while only having the capacity for the first 100-150 patients.

There are similar stories throughout social media of people around the country waiting for hours only to go through the screening questions and learn they don’t qualify for one of the limited number of tests.

Bloomberg news article on the Denver drive through shutdown:


Published: Friday, March 13, 2020 04:05 PM

Gov. Pritzker’s daily briefing on the ongoing response efforts to COVID-19 included that all Illinois K-12 schools, public and private, will close beginning Tuesday, March 17, until March 30.

Pritzker again criticized the federal government’s slow response, saying “Make no mistake, we have long since passed the moment when we thought we could count on the federal government to lead in this unprecedented situation.”

“Let me be clear: No school district will see their school funding cut as a result of this public health crisis,” the governor added.

Other actions by the administration:

  • ISBE is working to provide meals twice daily to qualifying students.
  • IDES rules have been changed to allow workers unemployed due to COVID-19 to apply for unemployment.
  • Attorney General will work to impose a moratorium on utilities shut-offs in the immediate term.
  • State Superintendent Carmen Ayala said ISBE has asked that an administrator stay on site during school hours in case children experiencing homelessness need a safe place to go.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike of IDPH announced 14 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total cases to more than 40. One additional case was confirmed in Lake County, with the others in Chicago and Cook County.

Pritzker indicated his briefings will continue, daily, over the weekend.

IDPH’s daily accounting of cases is now at 46 after 14 new cases confirmed.

COVID-19 Links

Illinois Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Illinois Department of Employment Security - Unemployment Benefits

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