Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 163 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including the death of a Cook County woman in her 70s. Three additional counties are now reporting cases; Adams, Christian, and McLean counties.
Victims now range in age in Illinois from 3-99.
“To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the State of Illinois.” Gov. Pritzker said during today’s announcement. “Left unchecked, cases in Illinois will rise rapidly. Hospital systems will be overwhelmed. Protective equipment will become scarce, and we will not have enough healthcare workers or hospital beds or ventilators for the overwhelming influx of sick patients.”
“The only strategy available to us to limit the increase in cases and insure our healthcare system has the capacity to treat those who become ill is to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the most robust manner possible.
The Governor said it was a hard decision to come to.
“In some cases, I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving people’s livelihoods. But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have your life.” Gov. Pritzker said during his address. “Of all the obligations that weigh on me as Governor, this is the greatest. There are actions that I can take to save lives in the midst of this pandemic, no matter how difficult, then I have an obligation to take these actions.
“Why ask so much for just a few hundred cases? Because it’s the only way to save those lives, and now is the time. Because the numbers you see today, are the people who got sick a week ago. And there are still people today who got sick today, who haven’t even notice that they’ve been sick yet. They picked up the virus and it will take a week to see that show in our numbers.” said Dr. Emily Landon, an advisor to the Governor and Lead epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine.
“Waiting for hospitals to be overwhelmed will leave the following week’s patients with nowhere to go.” Dr. Landon cautioned, “Without taking drastic measures, the healthy and optimistic among us will doom the vulnerable.”
The Governor tried to calm Illinois’ worries over the order.
“Here’s what will stay the same. You’ll still be able to leave your house to go to the grocery store to get food. You’ll still be able to visit a pharmacy, go to a medical office, or hospital, or to gas up your car at a gas station. You’ll still be able to go running, hiking, and walk your dog. Many, many people will still go to work. For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much.” Gov. Pritzker said.
“There’s absolutely no need to rush out to a grocery store or gas station. On Sunday and Monday and Tuesday and every day thereafter, those will be available to you.” The Governor added, saying the institutes that hold our society together, such as veterinaries, plumbers, banks, roads, and the Press, will not be closing down.
“You can still pick up dinner from your local restaurant and just spend time with your family,” Governor Pritzker added. “We are doing all we can to maintain as much normalcy as possible while taking the steps we must to protect you.”
The Governor went on to explain what will change in Illinois under the order.
“All non-essential businesses must stop operating. If you can work from home and aren’t already doing so, now is the time you must. The heroes of this moment are healthcare workers, first responders, law enforcement officers, and the individual and organizations like the Illinois AFL-CIO and other workers who keep our grocery stores and pharmacies running, cannot stay home. We need you.”
There are now 411 cases of COVID-19 in Cook County, 10 in Will County and 1 in Kankakee County.
Essential businesses, services and sectors include:
- Food processing
- Industrial manufacturing
- Feed mills
- Trash Collection
- Grocery and household goods (including convienece stores)
- Home repair/hardware
- Auto repair
- Pharmacy and other medical facilities
- Biomedical and healthcare
- Post offices and shipping outlets
- Gas stations
- Veterinary clinics and pet stores
- Public transporation
- Hotel and commercial lodging
Non-essential businesses include:
- Community and recreation parks
- Gyms, yoga, barre and spin facilities
- Hari salons, anil salons and spas
- Concert venues
- Sporting event venues and golf courses
- Retail facilities, including shopping malls
- Retail facilities, including shopping malls
- Restaurants (urged to offer only carry-out and/or delivery orders)