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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Flood aid available despite COVID-19

Published: Thursday, May 21, 2020 05:28 PM

The governor opened his press conference today assuring Illinoisans that measures are being taken to address heavy flooding in some areas of the state and that national guardsmen responding to it are following heightened public health protocols while they do so.

The governor also voiced his support for vote by mail as he took reporter questions. Responding to questions about why denying funds to local governments that flout the Stay at Home Order is different than denying funds to states who enact vote by mail (as the president has threatened), Pritzker leveled criticism at the White House.

"There's an awfully big difference. The president is threatening to take away funds from states that are doing a thing that's legal," Pritzker said, while his own action is leveled at local governments that break the law. "I think it's important for people to get access to the ballot. The president doesn't want that. I do."

The governor also announced $1.3 million in additional CARES Act funding for domestic violence assistance and that $6 million from the COVID-19 Response Fund has been released to 31 local nonprofits.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 2,268 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 102,686 confirmed cases. There were 87 additional deaths, bringing the total death toll to 4,607.

  • Other questions from the press:
    Pritzker responded to concerns over whether the unavailability of child care would allow somebody to claim unemployment as businesses reopen by saying the state's desire is not to in any way limit child care. "We need much more child care. We're working with child care providers. I am motivated because I know as we get people back to work, they need more child care."
  • Contact tracing: Asked why it's still important in light of COVID's current presence, Pritzker said with thousands of new cases a day, it's crucial, especially in light of the possibility of a fall surge of the disease. On the availability of contact tracing apps through Apple and Google, he said nothing the state will do in regard to them will violate the state's biometric laws.
  • The governor said he will work with the legislature to ensure adequate funding to IDES and that it goes toward upgrading the agency's infrastructure and staff in light of the persistent unemployment situation now.
  • On federal unemployment benefits, Pritzker said he's concerned it's not enough. "I'm concerned that the typical number of weeks allowed won't be enough."
  • On the relatively flat state budget: Citing the increase in services that Illinoisans now need in light of the pandemic, "you can't say as a state 'well, we're just not going to help people.'"
  • On the work comp rule which essentially reintroduces his rule which was struck down: "I'm glad that both sides were able to work on getting something done, because that's ultimately the best solution of all."
  • On removing Darren Bailey's court case to federal case: "They felt there were federal issues at hand," he said, indicating the attorney general's decision on the matter.

GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Increased outdoor opportunities in Phase 3 of reopening plan

Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 04:10 PM

With public health reports showing progress in battling the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday dangled the idea of restaurants opening with limited outdoor seating, boating capacity expanded, all state parks opening along with camping and golf foursomes going out in individual carts, should the state safely enter Phase 3 by the end of the month.

With the good news, however, Pritzker reminded people the state isn’t out of the woods yet.

“The virus has not gone away. Other states that have thrown out restrictions have seen rising cases and have seen rising hospitalizations. Here in Illinois we are following the science and we are succeeding. But we can’t let up now,” Pritzker said.

Wednesday saw 2,388 new cases and 147 additional deaths, reported IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. Over the last 24 hours, 21,029 tests were conducted. The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate for May 11-17 is 14 percent.

Ezike said key hospitalization, ICU and ventilator patient numbers are showing declines, which is needed to move to the next economic phase.

“As of last night, 3,914 individuals are reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. Of those, 1,005 were in the ICU and 554 were on ventilators. This is the lowest number since we were capturing these numbers that we have had for COVID patients in the hospital,” she said.

If trends continue, all parts of the state would be on track to move to Phase 3 of the governor’s plan on May 29. Phase 3 includes relaxed business and social restrictions. For example, gatherings would be allowed with up to 10 people.

The governor thanked Illinoisans’ for adhering to the guidelines, saying they are the reason these restrictions could be lifted.

“The virus has brought with it an enormous financial toll for workers and families. You’ve done what you've had to do to fight the fight. You are slowing the spread. You are bending the curve. You are keeping our hospital capacity from being overwhelmed. Because of your preservation, we have reduced the rate of spread in every region of the state, since even the beginning of May,” Pritzker said.

In Phase 3, under the governor’s modified plans, restaurants would be required to adhere to social distancing guidelines, employees would have to wear masks and tables would be placed six feet apart.

Pritzker said he is working with churches and religious operations on future flexibility.

Gov. JB Pritzker shared news that the more than 1.8 million SNAP recipients in Illinois will be able to order groceries online beginning June 2 in an effort to make shopping easier and keep families safer.

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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