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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.

GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Illinois surpasses New York for tests per capita

Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 04:55 PM

Responding to questions today about Republicans criticizing his executive orders and the Restore Illinois plan as "extreme," Pritzker said: "What's extreme are lawmakers who don't call out their fellow lawmakers who stand at rallies and call elected leaders domestic enemies, or give the home address of our U.S. Senator and tell them surround their houses."

"The vast majority of the people of the state are following the plans we put out and are supportive of the plan we put out," Pritzker said. "I know there are some vocal leaders across the state, but I think everybody understands that the enemy here is against COVID-19. We ought to be following the science, not the whims of a mayor or a leader of a reopen group, especially those who are carrying vile signs to make their point."

Pritzker also announced that, on a per capita basis, Illinois this week surpassed New York in testing capacity. He also invited Drs. Richard Novak and Emily Landon (whose entreaties to take the virus seriously in March made headlines around the world) to speak about the continued need to stay the course as Illinois begins to show some promising signs of declines in the severity of the virus' effect on hospitalization.

IDPH Dir. Ngozi Ezike reported 1,545 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total cases to 98,030, and 146 additional deaths, bringing the state's total death toll to 4,379.

"There is evidence that the Stay at Home plans are working," Dr. Ezike said. "We could have been seeing tens of thousands of deaths."

Among questions the governor fielded:

  • The governor said he would not be seeking a lump sum budget.
  • The administration is pursuing PPE fraudsters.
  • The Dept. of Human Rights is working with businesses on cases where people may be claiming medical vulnerability in bad faith for the purposes of flouting the face-covering rules.
  • The governor said any legal challenges against Stay at Home or business shutdown orders are going to be doomed to failure.
  • He encouraged colleges to make sure to forward vote-by-mail ballots to students who aren't on campus and encouraged students to update their registration, and again reiterated that he hopes the legislature will move to expand vote-by-mail.
  • Responding to a question about whether safe visitation of elder family members in nursing homes is being considered, Dr. Ezike said this is the last thing that should be considered in light of the overwhelming deaths in elder communities from Illinois and around the world. "Visitation should be the last thing that we should think about."

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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