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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Peak expected in mid-to-late June

Published: Monday, May 11, 2020 04:48 PM

Gov. Pritzker and his staff conducted their press conference from Zoom today on news that a member of his senior staff has tested positive for COVID-19. The governor opened by assuring Illinoisans that the governor's office remains open and all precautions are being taken to prevent further spread among staff. Pritzker reported that the state's updated models indicate the state's peak has been pushed to mid-to-late-June and acknowledged that hearing it will be hard for many.

"So far we are not seeing significant declines in key metrics like hospitalizations," Pritzker said in explaining the situation. "Remember that no one can stop this virus without a vaccine. What we've tried to do is slow down the exponential rate of transmission. Pushing the peak down and therefore to a longer time frame may not sound like good news to some, but I promise you, it is saving lives."

Pritzker also gave a report on each of the four hospitalization regions' progress with regard to progressing toward Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. He reported all four regions have exceeded all relevant metrics with the exception that the Northeast region, which includes Chicago, still has a COVID-19 positivity rate a few points above 20%, but he pointed out there is still time for the region to reduce that rate in time to progress to Phase 3 come May 28, the first day on which it possibly could. The governor pledged to provide regular reports on these metrics in the coming weeks.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the state received a shipment of Remdesivir from the federal government, the drug which clinical trials have recently found to reduce the recovery time for COVID-19. One-hundred and forty cases of the meds were distributed to 14 hospitals throughout the state with considerations made for the volume of cases, the need in minority communities, and other metrics, Ezike said.

Dr. Ezike also said IDPH is tracking cases at Illinois veteran homes, including 40 current cases at a home in Manteno, of which 30 are residents and 10 are staff. One resident has fallen ill at the LaSalle County home, and testing is taking place at homes in Anna and Quincy, though neither have yet reported positive cases.

Dr. Ezike reported 54 additional deaths, bringing the state's total death toll to 3,459. In the last 24 hours the state confirmed 1,266 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 79,007 cases.

In taking questions from the media, the governor said he is not identifying the employee who is infected but said the employee did not attend daily press briefings. He talked to the employee today and the person is feeling “fine” and remains asymptomatic.

The governor did the briefing from his home in Chicago.

Asked about the appearance that he’d had his hair cut, the governor said he has self-clipped the sides and had one of his children take a little off the back.

“I’m glad that it looks like I’ve had a haircut”

Asked if there’s a succession plan should be become Illinois, the governor said yes, it’s in the state constitution.

Asked about problems with the new unemployment system launch today, the governor said the entire state phone system had problems today. He said a large number of peole were getting through on the launch day of the new system.

The two minority Republican leaders have asked the governor to reconsider his 28-day measurement plan for relaxing restrictions and replace it with a 14-day plan. Pritzker noted that he announced his plan on May 6 and there are only 22 days left in the measurement phase.

He said the 14-day White House plan is more stringent than his 28-day plan in that the White House plan requires two weeks of declining results whereas the Illinois plan is 28-days of stability.

Pritzker said the earliest date the state would see additional openings would likely be May 29.

Asked about a Quincy bar and grill that opened and local officials’ refusal to enforce any restrictions against it, the governor said any business that opens risks spreading infections and effectively putting the regional economy at risk.

Dr. Ezike was asked about the Mother’s Day sermon she delivered yesterday via social media for her church. She said she’s not shy about sharing that she is nothing without her source of strength, her faith.

GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – State processes more than 20,000 tests in one day

Published: Friday, May 08, 2020 04:33 PM

Gov. Pritzker spoke mostly about the state's successful efforts in ramping up COVID-19 testing, on a day when the state reported 20,000 tests processed in the past 24 hours, the biggest batch of results received to date.

While he said it's an important part of the state's plan to reopen, it is only one component of it, and efforts in all areas must continue. The governor also said three new drive-thru testing centers throughout the state will be announced in the coming days. He also called out the partnership between the state and Pekin-based Reditus in helping expand testing technology.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike spoke briefly on the importance of contact tracing as the next stage of fighting the virus. She reported 2,887 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total cases to 73,760, and 130 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 3,241.

Dr. Ezike was asked about the on-gong string of days with triple digit deaths. She advised people should look at averages and not any set of days.

Asked about the struggling restaurant industry, the governor said there should be additional industry support in any new aid package out of Washington.

Asked about other states seemingly going ahead with greater ease in awarding unemployment benefits to gig economy workers, the governor said other states have resources Illinois does not, and they went ahead without following federal guidelines and are hoping they will be reimbursed later.

Asked about a variety of plans being filed by Republican lawmakers and counties and other groups, the governor said he is aware of numerous plans, tries to review all of them and has incorporated many ideas from recent plans into his own plan for Illinois.

“Everybody’s got a different plan,” he said. “This is why you need leadership.”

He also said it shows why the country needed one consistent plan from Washington.

Asked if parents should assume summer camps would be canceled, the governor said, “I wouldn’t assume anything.”

Asked if schools would open for the next school year the governor said he wants schools to open.

“That’s my hope and desire.”

He also said something that applies to many of the hypothetical questions he received today:

“None of us knows exactly what the future holds.”

Asked about Exelon’s continued push for state assistance for nuclear plants, the governor threw the issue to lawmakers.

“We don’t need the high paid lobbyists to be guiding this for us. … My hope is the legislature has been continuing its work.”

He also downplayed the issue altogether.

“Is it true there are higher priorities … yes,” Pritzker said of Exelon’s request.

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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