Pritzker gives daily update on the state and COVID-19

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives his daily briefing about the coronavirus pandemic

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives his daily briefing about the coronavirus pandemic

As the state continues to build on its robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for increased demand across the state's health care system, Governor JB Pritzker provided an update on the state's current testing and hospital capacity and laid out measures to increase that capacity to meet the anticipated need in the coming weeks.

"We're using a two-pronged approach to make sure a worst-case scenario does not become our reality", said Pritzker. More than 130 Illinois National Guardsmen are now supporting the state's response to COVID-19. Health officials on Tuesday reported an additional 250 confirmed cases of the virus and four deaths, bringing statewide totals to 1,535 and 16, respectively.

"As hard as it is to hear the news of more cases and deaths each day, I do believe sharing this information will keep us focused and remind us all why we need to continue doing the right things", state Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said.

IL was among the first states to test for COVID-19 in state-managed labs, beginning with the capacity to run 50 tests a day in February and since expanding to three state labs running 600 tests a day.

Worst-case scenarios indicate that with no intervention, the state would need an additional 28,000 non-ICU beds and 9,400 ICU beds within the next two weeks.

"I'm trying to follow the science here", Pritzker said. Now, more than 2,000 tests are performed daily at state-run labs, hospitals, commercial companies and drive-thru facilities, and at mobile testing sites set up by the Illinois National Guard and U.S. Department of Human Health and Human Services.

Additionally, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is setting up tented triage centers at 26 hospitals across the state to more efficiently and safely evaluate patients who may have COVID-19.

That means the state's more than 6 million taxpayers will have until July 15 to file their returns with Springfield rather than April 15, though state revenue officials say more than half have already filed.

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As of Tuesday, Pritzker said that 51% of hospital beds and 57% of ICU beds are filled, and nearly 30% percent of all available ventilators are being used across the state.

Our economy will be revived, according to Pritzker.

"Our department is leveraging every resource we have available to support small businesses in these challenging times", said Erin Guthrie, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "We are in a city where COVID-19 is spreading in our neighborhoods".

Those efforts include temporarily reopening old hospitals and expanding capacity in existing hospitals by acquiring critical equipment, such as N95 masks and ventilators. In such a scenario, current hospitals would be converted nearly entirely into COVID-19 response hospitals, while the repurposed facilities could house individuals who need hospital care for other reasons.

The state put out a call this week for former members of the medical community who have changed careers to consider coming back to the medical field.

"You can't have a livelihood without a life", Pritzker said. Interested individuals can visit for more information.

IL is working to increase its health care capacity, Pritzker said, "so when we do arrive at that next phase we will have the capacity to meet that much greater need".

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