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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Businesses that break Stay at Home Order could lose licenses

Published: Wednesday, May 06, 2020 04:16 PM

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.

GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Governor releases phased, regional reopening plan

Published: Tuesday, May 05, 2020 05:33 PM

Gov. Pritzker outlined a five-phase plan for reopening the state's economy dubbed Restore Illinois and detailed the regions and metrics by which it would be acted upon.

The governor spoke frankly with Illinoisans, saying all indicators point toward a long path toward anything resembling pre-COVID normalcy.

"Here's the truth, and I don't like it any more than you do: Until we have a vaccine or new cases fail to materialize, the option of returning to normalcy doesn't exist," Pritzker said. "That means we have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished."

The Restore Illinois plan would feature region-based reopenings, with the state divided by established IDPH regions: The Northeast, North Central, Central and Southern regions.

Some details on the five phases of reopening:

  • Where we were prior to April 30.
  • Where the entire state has been since the new May 1 order, with selective businesses open.
  • Healthcare regions that meet certain thresholds move to Phase 3, with face coverings as the norm, non-essential manufacturing and non-essential businesses open, and tele-work highly encouraged. Other businesses such as barber shops, health and fitness one-on-one personal training and state parks can open. Limited child care and summer programs can operate within DPH guidelines. Gatherings of 10 people or fewer can take place.
  • Restaurants, bars, spas, cinemas, and health clubs can open with new capacity limits and within DPH guidelines. Schools, summer and fall programs can open with safety guidance, and all outdoor recreation would be allowed. Public gatherings of 50 or fewer people would be allowed depending on what the science tells officials.
  • Phase Five, a return to all normal pre-COVID operations, can only be achieved with a vaccine, an effective treatment, or a widespread decline in new cases.

Metrics for determining when these regions can move to these new phases:

  • The region must be at or under 20% test positivity and increasing by no more than 10% over a 14 day period.
  • The region must either not have had overall increase or must have maintained overall stability in hospital admissions in 28 days.
  • The region must be maintaining availability of hospital surge threshold of 14% of all hospital metrics (beds, ICU, vents).

Pritzker said the state lacks the ability to police 12.7 million Illinoisans but is working with local law enforcement about the practicalities of enforcing these precautions.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 2,122 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 65,962 cases, and 176 additional deaths, bringing the state's total death toll to 2,838.

She also stressed that while a feeling of cabin fever after several weeks of the Stay at Home Order is understandable, the grim reality is that Illinoisans are dying at an unprecedented rate, and social distancing must continue lest the situation worsen.

"If this was a traditional war with soldiers outside our doors in the streets and people risking their lives being aside in their homes, nobody would think about going to work or getting their dog groomed," Ezike said. "This enemy is invisible, and maybe as a result of that, we've underestimated the power and destruction of this enemy, despite the fact more than 2,500 Illinoisans have lost their lives in just two months."

The governor said regional data would be provided online so anyone can track results.

Dr. Ezike was asked about a Tribune story regarding a mutated, more contagious version of the virus.

She said that medical personnel have seen two strains, one of which is more aggressive and more lethal.

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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