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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Illinois working to increase testing capacity and medical workforce

Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 04:18 PM

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 250 additional cases, bringing the state's total confirmed cases to 1,535, and announced four additional deaths, bringing the total death toll in Illinois to 16.

Gov. Pritzker spoke today about the state's ongoing efforts to ramp up testing capacity in Illinois, saying he expects the combined efforts of hospitals and increased workforce capacity provided by the Illinois National Guard to double the state's roughly 2,000-per-day testing capacity within the coming weeks.

03.24.20 COVID Presser Boards Hospital Capacity2He said the state's two-prong approach includes increased testing and taking every measure possible to increase Illinois' hospital capacity.

Pritzker also laid out numbers illustrating Illinois' current hospital capacity and demonstrating how it would be affected if no measures like the stay-at-home order were taken. He  reiterated calls to the federal government to make use of the Defense Production Act to meet states' demand for crucial supplies.

Other news:

  • He reported the federal government has made available an additional 300 ventilators and 300,000 N95 masks.
  • 180 former medical staff have applied to return to the health care workforce.
  • A drive-tru testing site organized for health care workers and first responders by Illinois staff and Illinois National Guard was described as a “national model” by federal authorities.
  • The National Guard is assessing recently closed hospitals for potential use in a worst case scenario in which existing hospitals would become COVID dedicated centers and non-COVID patients would be moved to expansion sites.

Speaking frankly, the governor said there is no certain end date to the measures necessary to fight COVID-19. The governor also called out talk of lifting stay-at-home orders in the interest of the economy and the suggestion from Texas’ lieutenant governor that older Americans are OK with sacrificing themselves to keep the economy going.

"In case there's any doubt in your minds, I am not willing to sacrifice anyone," Pritzker said. "There is no life more or less precious than any other. I want people to spend years after this is over celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries in healthier times."

Asked about the effects on the budget, the governor said it was clear that budget and revenue estimates from two months ago are no longer useful. Said his budget office is monitoring.

Illinois National Guard Adjutant General Richard Neely reiterated that the guard is NOT deployed with weapons or enforcing quarantines. He said approximately 115 guard members with medical backgrounds and training are assisting health care workers.

GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Former medical professionals urged to return to work

Published: Saturday, March 21, 2020 02:41 PM

Gov. Pritzker today (Saturday) issued a call to all recently retired or former medical professionals to return to the health care workforce. To facilitate this, he announced the Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation will waive licensing fees and expedite application processes through the IDFPR website and at coronavirus.illinois.gov.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced the total number of confirmed cases stands at 753, with another death of a man in his 70s in Cook County bringing the total death toll in Illinois to six. Dr. Ezike issued a call to all medical establishments that perform elective surgeries and other such nonessential procedures which use personal protective equipment to please donate it to hospitals.

Pritzker also announced:

  • the automatic extension through September of all medical licensing that may soon expire.
  • eased regulations on medical professionals who may live on the border to be able to practice/assist in both states.
  • measures to expand child care availability for frontline workers and first responders working in the medical field.

The governor also spoke out against racist rhetoric about the virus.

"This virus is not tied to any ethnic group or race. People from every background have been infected and suggesting otherwise and engaging in racist speech and acts is one of the most profoundly un-American things I can think of," Pritzker said. "We can choose how we want to come out on the other side of this: Let's choose to be one Illinois."

COVID-19 Links

Illinois.gov

Illinois Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Illinois Department of Employment Security - Unemployment Benefits

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