COVID-19 update: Illinois has 288 positive cases of coronavirus across 17 counties

By Kallie Cox, News Editor

Gov. JB Pritzker updated the state about COVID-19 from Murphysboro on Wednesday and announced that there are now 288 positive cases of coronavirus across 17 counties.

A Chicago woman in her 60s with underlying health issues became the first COVID-19 related death in Illinois late Monday night. 

On Tuesday Pritzker activated approximately 60 National Guard members to assist with the state’s response to COVID-19. 

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Earlier this week, Pritzker banned gatherings of 50 or more and closed all schools and all bars and restaurants to dine in customers.

(See more: COVID-19 Update: Pritzker announces gatherings of 50 or more should be cancelled)

(See more: COVID-19 update: Gov. Pritzker closes all bars and resteraunts in Illinois)

“Make no mistake, no place and no person is immune from COVID-19,” Pritzker said. “The difference between where we are in our response and other nations are, is just a few weeks. We must act with urgency, we must act now.”

Pritzker said the number of cases in Illinois have gone from 11 to 288 in a week.

“People of all ages, from nine to ninety nine, have contracted COVID-19,” Pritzker said. “We know this in part due to an increase in testing, but also we know it is spreading this virus knows no boundaries.”
Pritzker said his administration will use every tool at its disposal to respond to the pandemic and that essential services will always remain available.

“Grocery stores, gas stations, the things we all need will not be shutting down,” Pritzker said. 

Pritzker said the numbers will get much worse in Illinois before they get better. 

“We must maintain our common values as Illinoisans demonstrating our generosity and our unity,” Pritzker said.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said citizens have to break the cycle of disease transmission. 

“If you’re ill and you are otherwise healthy and you think you probably were exposed to a COVID case but you’re healthy, you can weather this illness. You don’t need a test, assume you have COVID and stay home,” Ezike said. “Stay home and don’t transmit it to another person. We need to keep those hospital beds for critically ill people and not for people who would have gotten well on their own at home.”

Ezike said she doesn’t want to see a situation where there are more sick people than beds and IDPH has to decide who gets care and who doesn’t.

“We don’t want to overwhelm our healthcare capacity,” Ezike said. “If you can stay home and weather it out, you are doing a tremendous part in creating a bed for someone who really needs it and whose life can be saved.”

One reporter during the press conference asked Pritzker about the possibility of a lock-down.

“We should look at the mistakes that were made in Europe as this crisis was coming upon them, as this coronavirus was spreading and  it should be a cautionary tale to all of us that we need to make sure that we are distancing ourselves,” Pritzker said. “If you don’t feel well, please stay home.”

Pritzker said to avoid what happened in Italy Illinois needs to take the actions now to make that happen. 

Pritzker said he will continue to activate more National Guard personnel as it becomes necessary and to help build tents outside hospitals as cases increase. 

Pritzker said his administration has applied for the Small Business Administration’s aid and Illinois is waiting to receive loans for small businesses suffering because of the pandemic.

To stay up to date with Illinois’ response to the pandemic and to watch the Governor’s daily updates, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov 

News Editor Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @KallieECox. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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