3/20 COVID-19 Update: Gov. Pritzker announces a statewide shelter in place order

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced a statewide shelter in place order starting Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. until April 7. 

Pritzker said for those who are already self-quarantining, not much will change and citizens can still get gas, walk their dogs and go to the store for food.

What will change is all non-essential businesses will have to close down. Pritzker said if you can work from home and you aren’t already, you must. 

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Pritzker said many will still have to go to work and pharmacies and grocery stores will remain open.

“We are doing all that we can to maintaining as much normalcy as we can while taking the steps necessary to protect you,” Pritzker said. 

Both Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker said this does not mean to run to the store and hoard supplies everyone needs. 

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, announced a new death related to COVID-19, a Cook County woman in her 70s. There have now been 5 deaths because of the coronavirus in the state.

3/19 COVID-19 Update: Pritzker announces three new deaths in Illinois

News Editor Kallie Cox

Gov. JB Pritzker announced 3 new deaths in Illinois due to COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in the state to four.

One of the individuals who passed away was a Will county resident in his 50s, the second a cook county resident in her 80s and the third was a Florida resident visiting Sangamon county.

“My heart goes out to the family and the friends of these patients and I feel like I can speak for all of Illinois when I say we offer them our collective strength at this time,” Pritzker said. “May their memories be for a blessing. These moments will not get easier nor should they, we are fighting this fight for every person in Illinois. We have all lost something today.”

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, announced cases of COVID-19 in Illinois have increased exponentially since yesterday, jumping from 288 in 17 counties, to 422 in 22 counties.

Pritzker and Ezike said this increase of cases is partially due to an increase in the availability of tests.

Pritzker said he and his administration are evaluating when to re-open schools and whether or not to implement a shelter in place order each day.

3/19 COVID-19 update: Two cases of coronavirus confirmed in Williamson and Jackson counties

News editor Kallie Cox

Two positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Williamson and Jackson counties on Wednesday.

Both of the individuals who tested positive for the virus are women in their 50s and are in isolation in their homes, but have not been hospitalized as of time of publication.

The Jackson county woman is thought to have been exposed to the virus in another state, according to a release from the Jackson County Health Department.

The Jackson County Health Department said they have begun an investigation into the woman’s case and they are notifying anyone she may have had contact with.

Workers at SIH were alerted about the Williamson county case via email.

“The screening process we have in place is working,” Marci Moore-Connelley, chief medical officer at SIH, said in the email alert. “I am confident appropriate precautions were taken to minimize the risk of exposure to other patients and staff. Staff involved in the care of this patient have been notified.”

The news of these cases came just after Gov. JB Pritzker updated the state and said Illinois now has 288 cases of coronavirus.

3/18 COVID-19 update: Illinois has 288 positive cases of coronavirus across 17 counties

News Editor Kallie Cox

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. 

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

“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 coronavirus.Illinois.gov

3/16 Pritzker announces gatherings of 50 or more should be cancelled

Staff Reporter Bethany Rentfro

Gov. JB Pritzker held a press conference on March 16 to discuss continued concerns over the coronavirus. 

Pritzker said the CDC has announced gatherings of 50 or more should be canceled for the next eight weeks. 

“I am mandating that any gatherings of the 50 or more guidance by the CDC will be canceled,” Pritzker said. “Illinoisans who can stay home should continue to do so.” 

Pritzker said it is imperative that Illinois residents take responsibility for themselves, their families and their communities. 

The governor also said bars and restaurants in the area will close tonight and remain closed for the next month. 

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Pritzker said. “We must do everything to safeguard the health of the people of Illinois.” 

Pritzker said his administration is working with restaurant owners to find safer alternatives to remain in business, such as curbside pickup and delivery. 

Pritzker said he is working with his administration to help people who work at bars and restaurants to get their paychecks. He is working with his administration to expand 

unemployment coverage to people who do not receive paid sick leave or who are not able to work. 

Pritzker addressed concerns about public transportation and if the state would see any restrictions on those. 

“There are not restrictions that are significant other than we’ve asked individuals to keep a distance of 6 feet,” Pritzker said. “There are fewer people in mass transit […] I don’t have any answers about what may happen with mass transit but what I am focused on is listening to the experts and making sure we are doing everything to encourage people to please stay home.”

According to CNN, President Trump has advised people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to stay away from bars and restaurants. 

The president said at the White House on Monday these guidelines will be in effect for 15 days to slow the spread of the virus. 

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together,” Trump said. 

Pritzker also addressed the nation’s concerns about the Illinois primary tomorrow and whether or not Americans should consider voting and if the state primary should be postponed. 

“The process of voting is a relatively short process,” Pritzker said. “We do believe it is safe. We’ve consulted experts and we think the election will go on just fine.” 

3/15  Gov. JB Pritzker closes all bars and restaurants in Illinois

News Editor Kallie Cox

Gov. JB Pritzker announced that all restaurants and bars in Illinois will be closed until further notice beginning at close of business Monday night through March 30.

Drive thru and curbside pick up options will be permitted.

Pritzker also addressed the growing shortage of food and hygiene supplies that is being seen across the state. 

“Please do not hoard food,” Pritzker said. “Buy what you need but please be reasonable. Think of your friends and your neighbors, there is enough food to go around but we need people to not be selfish.”

Pritzker said Illinois has one of the best food supply chains in the nation and he is committed to keeping it that way.

Pritzker spent most of the press conference discussing food options for children who received free or reduced lunches at their schools.

Pritzker said schools have received the necessary waivers to continue serving two meals a day to children who qualify for free or reduced lunch statewide starting Tuesday.

“Local districts will contact students, parents and guardians directly with more information about what distribution looks like in their communities.,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said he reached out to the largest food producers in the state including Kraft-Heinz, Conagra and Pepsico and asked that they donate specific critical items to food banks statewide to help provide a third meal to children who get most of their meals at school. 

“Those manufacturers provided a resounding willingness to help,” Pritzker said.

Tuesday’s election will continue as planned, Pritzker said. 

“Democracy must continue,” Pritzker said. “We must continue to elect leaders even in less than ideal circumstances.” 

The Daily Egyptian’s News Desk can be reached at 1-618-536-3329, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @dailyegyptian. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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