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Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday it is “highly unlikely” Illinois will have either of its two State Fairs and that state-regulated businesses who ignore orders and reopen could lose their licenses.

“They absolutely could,” said Pritzker.

His comments come as Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported another 136 people died from COVID-19 in the past day, pushing the death toll to 2,974 since the state began tracking the outbreak more than two months ago.

Another 2,270 people tested positive for the disease in the last 24 hours out of the nearly 15,000 daily tests results the state received. That’s an infection rate of 15 percent.

Heading into Wednesday, 4,832 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 infections. Of them, 1,231 were in Intensive Care Units, and 780 of them required ventilators.

Asked if it was safe to visit and hug mothers on the upcoming Mother’s Day, Dr. Ezike said, no.

“We’ve tried to stress that we still don’t have a cure, we still don’t have a vaccine. We really aren’t that far from where we were a month ago. Our elderly people are still at risk,” Dr. Ezike said.

She said her kids will only drop things off at her mother’s door, because they don’t want to expose her to greater risk.

The governor was asked if prisons and nursing homes would be counted in regional data in determining the surrounding community’s restrictions. The inference was that these settings don’t represent the outside community.

“There are staff people who go in and out of these facilities all the time,” Pritzker said in explaining why that data will be used.

In his opening remarks, Gov. Pritzker spoke today on the disparity in the infection rate among minority communities, in particular the high rate of infection among the Latinx community, outlining initiatives IDPH is taking to shore up reporting on ethnicity data. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike revealed that Latinx people have had a 60% positivity rate when tested.

Speaking on that same disparity, Dr. Ezike reminded Illinoisans that COVID-19 treatment and testing will be provided regardless of someone's ability to pay, insurance coverage, or citizenship status.

"The Latino community is the Illinois community. We are in these fights, all of these fights, together," Pritzker said.

Pritzker also denounced reports of racism against minorities due to wearing a face covering, calling on Illinoisans to stand up for one another and to report any discrimination they see to the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Pritzker also spoke about a program to provide housing assistance for those in close living situations such as multi-generational family settings or cohabitation with a roommate in a small apartment. Hotels have been made available with full wrap-around services that include meals and medical, free of charge, for those who are COVID-positive and at high risk of infecting those they live with. Pritzker said those who believe they may qualify should contact their county or city public health department to find out how to apply.

In other comments, the governor urged Illinoisans to hold their employers to account if they believe their workplaces are not abiding by proper CDC-approved safety guidelines - another issue with particular relevance to Latinx and other minority communities, many of whom are still serving as essential workers, he said. The governor urged people to:

  • Submit complaints to Illinois OSHA through the Illinois Dept. of Labor for public employers such as state or local governments.
  • Direct complaints to federal OSHA for private employers.
  • File complaints against any employer through the Illinois Attorney General's Workplace Rights Bureau.
  • Both of those reporting mechanisms can be found at illinois.gov/idol.