Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker: 3 new deaths; Signs telemedicine EO; Two-month delay in sales taxes for bars/restaurants; May reopen closed hospitals; Pledges never to close essential services; 422 cases in 22 counties; School closures might be extended; No shelter in place yet
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Pritzker: 3 new deaths; Signs telemedicine EO; Two-month delay in sales taxes for bars/restaurants; May reopen closed hospitals; Pledges never to close essential services; 422 cases in 22 counties; School closures might be extended; No shelter in place yet

Thursday, Mar 19, 2020

…Adding… The executive order Pritzker signed today is here.

* From the governor’s daily COVID-19 press conference at the James R. Thompson Center

It brings me great pain to announce that we have had three more deaths in Illinois associated with COVID 19.

One was a Will County resident in his 50s. A second, a Cook County resident in her 80s. And the third is a Florida resident who was 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. 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’ve all lost something today.

Remember I’m using Otter for transcription, so pardon the typos.

* New executive order

We’re also working hard to ensure that all our residents are able to get as many of the health care services that they need, even from the safety of their own homes. So today I’m signing an executive order significantly expanding telemedicine for both Medicaid and those who are private insured. This order will allow more providers to get reimbursed for these services and allow patients more flexibility and safety in getting the medical guidance and care that they need.

* Small biz…

Our small businesses are already hurting, and the root of that pain isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I’m pleased to announce today that my administration is offering relief to more than 20,000 small and medium sized bars and restaurants, all across Illinois by allowing a two-month delay in sales tax payments to the state, and to local jurisdictions, and we’re waving late filing fees and interest starting tomorrow, Friday, March 20.

* Tests…

As of yesterday we were able to do more than 1000 tests statewide and in just a few days will be increasing that to more than 2000 tests per day.

These tests are only discovering people who already have the virus. I know people are looking at other countries and even cities and jurisdictions around the United States and seeing the numbers rise significantly everywhere. But as we take action, we’re initiating a process that is intended to bend the curve.

* National Guard…

Earlier this week I activated the first members of the Illinois National Guard mission to join the fight against Cova 19. In total the guard is a force of really extraordinary citizens but they would call themselves ordinary citizens, but they’re 13,000 strong committed to amazing work, and they bring to our preparations key capabilities in logistics and transportation and even medical specialties in the short term the guard will be working to support our efforts to set up mobile testing units, allowing us to expand testing while ensuring that those tests can be administered in the safest possible way.

The guard is also doing critical work planning for the weeks and months ahead, including expanding our healthcare capacity by potentially refitting and reopening previously closed hospitals.

US Rep. Bobby Rush called on Pritzker to reopen a South Side hospital that was closed last year.

* Rumors…

I want to address some of the rumors that have been running around, essential services will not close interstates highways and bridges will stay open grocery stores pharmacies gas stations. These sources of fundamental supplies will continue to operate. There is no need to run out and hoard food gas or medicine, by what you need, within reason there is enough to go around as long as people do not hoard. We will never shut these services down.

And please, let’s all remember that these essential institutions don’t run on their own, the cashiers the gas station attendants, the truckers the pharmacists, the delivery workers the sanitation workers. These are all people who keep our state on track. So please take every opportunity that you can to demonstrate your gratitude to them.

* IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike

Unfortunately we do anticipate additional deaths. Please everyone stay home as much as possible, so we can reduce the number of people who are infected, which will reduce the number of people who get serious illness, which will reduce the number of people who will lose their life.

Overall we have 422 cases in 22 counties across Illinois. The number of cases is rising exponentially with increasing laboratory testing in DPH labs, as well as in the commercial labs and the hospital labs, we did expect to see this rise as you test more, you will identify more

* Testing…

Testing will be performed for individuals who are part of a cluster of confirmed cases or possible cases among those who work or live in a residential congregate setting, such as the nursing homes testing at the IDP h labs will also be prioritized for people for hospitalized patients with unexplained pneumonia or from a residential congregate setting, serving vulnerable populations. Long term care facilities such as nursing homes with confirmed cases will increase the monitoring of those individuals and take aggressive infection control measures.

However testing of all individuals is not indicated.

We will not recommend test for every single resident or staff of an of a long term care facility rather we will take all the precautions necessary and as soon as any staff or resident develops symptoms, they will be isolated and treated. If they’re showing symptoms whether they’ve been tested or not, they will get the same treatments and the same appropriate measures will be taken to care for them.

Patients who do not fall into one of these categories for testing can seek care for their healthcare provider who can then move on forward with a testing at a commercial or a hospital laboratory.

* Press release…

There are 136 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Illinois. Five additional counties are now reporting cases; Jackson, Kankakee, LaSalle, Washington, and Williamson counties.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 422 cases in 22 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in ages 9 to 99.

* Today’s graph…

None of the fatalities were in nursing homes.

* On to questions for the governor. How long will school closings last…

We’ve set a deadline, a date by which we think that students would go back but I also think that parents should be contemplating the possibility that that might be extended.

* What is the threshold for a shelter in place order…

Look, my expertise is not as a scientist or as a doctor, and so epidemiologists as well as those who are experts in public health, are those who I rely upon both here in Illinois and there are we have some of the best in the world here in Illinois. And I’ve also called others around the nation, so that I can better understand what are the things that they’re looking at. Many of the people in this field are very very concerned that the United States is not doing enough. I think you’ve heard that on television and we you know we’ve when we talk about bending the curve we say it like everybody understands but what we’re talking about is making sure that we don’t end up in the situation that Italy is in.

So when I make decisions about this this is about how do we operate faster and better than Italy, and then other countries that have seen this, you know, grow exponentially for a very long period of time. […]

Suffice to say that we’re evaluating every day.


* IRMA has a list on their website that will include all grocery stores adopting special shopping hours for senior citizens and other vulnerable populations. This will be updated frequently. Click here.

* Pritzker was asked about reopening closed hospitals and expanding beds…

There are two types of hospital beds that we’re looking for. One is the NIC badge I mean rooms. I, and the ability to serve the people that are in those rooms. So two types one is those who are COVID-19 positive, who need to be treated for COVID-19. And then there are those who have some other illness that they’re in the hospital for, and they will need a bed, and we’re trying hard to stand up more of both of those types of beds, the more that we can alleviate the existing infrastructure of non COVID-19, the more likely we are to be able to serve the vastly increasing population of those who are tested positive for COVID-19. So we are, as I say we’re reopening hospitals. We’re looking at all the hospitals right now inventorying how to reopen them so we’ve got people on site in many cases, looking at you know remember there’s plant and equipment that you have to turn on it isn’t just as easy as turning the lights on. And then we’ve also got to have the healthcare personnel to move into those hospitals to make sure that we’re serving people properly. And then there are existing surgery centers and other places that have the potential to provide beds for for people that that aren’t normally places that would just accept a COVID-19 or other kind of a patient so we’re again outfitting those folks but but they also have nurses and doctors that are on staff and so they have a little more capability to begin with. All together so we’re, we’re working hard with all the hospitals to and you know that you know we we no longer have elective surgeries, going into our hospitals so that alleviates many of the beds, and also frankly puts a financial burden on the hospitals themselves who, you know, subsidize other care by doing elective surgeries often so anyway that’s that’s a lot of what we’re looking at. And we’re going to continue to look at, even more expansion that may include things like literally building a field hospital in Illinois and in various places. We’re also looking at how do you alleviate some of the intake that goes on at a hospital for people who really don’t need a bed sometimes they are put in a bed anyway to, you know, or were a month ago or two months ago, how do we alleviate some of that who could really convalesce for example at home, and not be in the hospital, and just evaluating, you know what, what does that look like how do we encourage that.

* A front group for the anti-graduated tax forces demanded today that Pritzker pull the proposal off the ballot. Pritzker’s response…

I would just say this is not a time for politics. We have too much to do to save people’s lives. We’re not focusing on, you know, legislative initiatives, other than focus right now on what it will take to provide the health care, and the unemployment and the services that people will need in what is going to be an increasingly difficult moment for everybody.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon For Now - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    2000+ a day. That’s great to hear. I would encourage everyone to recognize that major mistakes were made but things like that are forward progress and rays of light right now. Hopefully, those are tests with turnarounds of hours not days.

  2. - Proud Sucker - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:20 pm:

    Thanks for keeping the graph up-to-date Rich. Not sure why there is not one on IDPH’s page.

  3. - Misusing exponentially - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:22 pm:

    422 exponential increase would be 177,084

  4. - qincy - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    quincy has just learnd they have covid-19 a 30 year old

  5. - Jibba - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    The truly important workers are not investors and hedge fund managers. They are custodians, nurses, cashiers, truckers, pharmacists, helpers, etc.

    Society needs to be organized around making their lives better, not the 1%.

  6. - Token Conservative - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    I don’t always agree with the governor, his policies or his opinions; however, I’ve been listening to his address and he’s handling it pretty well. Completely matter of fact and so far pretty reasonable. It doesn’t seem like he’s jumping to any rash decisions on what course of action to take. As someone pretty conservative, I’m pretty impressed.

  7. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    Many recently discharged veterans were cross trained as EMT’s. That may be an untapped resource.

  8. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    == the cashiers the gas station attendants, the truckers the pharmacists, the delivery workers the sanitation workers. These are all people who keep our state on track.==

    Amen. I doubt anyone in this group reads this blog regularly, but if they are reading this, thank you all. We’re going to be in a world of hurt if y’all stop going to work everyday. We recognize the risk you’re taking by doing so, and greatly appreciate it.

  9. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    I feel informed and educated after listening to Pritzker’s press conferences….still very concerned but not panicky. Not so much after Trump speaks.

  10. - Still anon - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    I did hear Pritzker on the Trump team call make a speech about there not being swabs and reagents on the commercial market. Trump referred the statement to the Oublic Health Service officer (general?) who began with that is simply not true and provided an example of commercial capacity.

    It would really be helpful if state and feds would provide details. Are there hospitals actually out of masks, ventilators, etc? If so, how many are needed? If not, are the demands precautionary? It seems as if different officials, state and fed, are talking past one another.

  11. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:55 pm:

    I’m not sure if there is anything he can do, but I hope Pritzker is trying to get more ventilator machines.

  12. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    It figures that during a national health crisis, super-rich right wing interests would even think about pulling the graduated income tax off of the ballot. Really says a lot about who they are.

  13. - McLincoln - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:02 pm:


    Fortunately, not every exponent is > 2.

  14. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    Send all the obituaries to the mayor of plainfield in Will county, who just one week ago today was happily bragging about not yet cancelling their parade.

  15. - Morningstar - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    The governor’s daily updates and his comments indicate that he’s very capable of communicating and listening to others. This alone is reassuring.

  16. - CapnCrunch - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:11 pm:

    Using yesterday’s data all of us in Illinois would be infected by April 22, using today’s numbers we’ll all be infected one day sooner 😷

  17. - TAX CPA - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:15 pm:

    They will need to do more than delay sales rax..

    Replacement and individual tax due on 4/15… Small businesses and even Corps like Boeing will have trouble paying.

  18. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    ===Fortunately, not every exponent is > 2. ===

    You’ll have to forgive our fellow Illinoisan for being unclear on the difference between exponents and the exponential factor being a square.

    The revised funding model is new, not all math teachers could coach football equally, and the idea of testing folks for math proficiency before letting them become licensed as math teachers is new.

  19. - My New Handle - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:26 pm:

    I believe the honesty and leadership coming from the second floor during this chaos is exemplary. At this point I believe Pritzker is the right person at the right time.

  20. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:32 pm:

    For crying out loud, how does the coronavirus necessitate withdrawing the graduated tax constitutional amendment? Also, I don’t think there IS any mechanism to withdraw the amendment, now that it has passed the GA, is there?

  21. - Wensicia - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:40 pm:

    I believe parents should expect schools will remain closed through April as well, if not the rest of the year.

  22. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    McLean County has a patient at Advocate BroMenn who has tested positive. Male in his 70s who has not traveled and does not know anyone who has tested positive. Did not say where he was tested.–person/article_702e1c49-c532-5ee1-a207-2abd6d1294ec.html

  23. - Dakota - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 5:05 pm:

    Does our wonderful governor realize a shelter in place order will cause 10x the panic we saw last week ?

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 5:07 pm:

    Dakota, calm down.

  25. - Tawk - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 5:50 pm:

    Keeping the progressive income tax off the ballot, or delaying it, isn’t really “politics” any more than the sales tax holiday. It’s a question of tax policy. Lawmakers can take it off with a simple majority vote. They should. Would cut small biz legs out from under them during recovery from this mess. And simply the possibility causes uncertainty.

  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 6:47 pm:

    One has to wonder if Rauner had been reelected how this would have been handled.

  27. - CEA - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 7:39 pm:

    === For crying out loud, how does the coronavirus necessitate withdrawing the graduated tax constitutional amendment? ===

    You sound shockingly unsympathetic to the sheer terror a billionaire must feel when facing the prospect of a modest tax increase.

  28. - Huh? - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 8:15 pm:

    Was in local IGA this afterwards looking for chili ingredients. Noticed there was a run on TP, paper towels, bread, hamburger, and bagged potatoes.

    Pretty soon the booze supply is going to get short. Imagine, stuck at home and no beer, wine, or liquor. The horror is to gruesome to imagine.

  29. - OpentoDiscussion - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 10:49 pm:

    Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    It figures that during a national health crisis, super-rich right wing interests would even think about pulling the graduated income tax off of the ballot. Really says a lot about who they are.

    Talk about somone who needs to calm down

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 10:58 pm:

    === Talk about somone who needs to calm down===

    Do you think the CA should be removed?

    Wanna call someone out, do you think it should be?

  31. - OpentoDiscussion - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 11:08 pm:

    Thank you for your typical response. Get a real life and stop posting a hundred times a day.

  32. - OpentoDiscussion - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 11:11 pm:


    Just to let you know I responded to you a couple of days ago about whether Illinois is a present Deep Blue State. I tried twice. When I reentered the message it said it was a duplicate comment but somehow it was never posted.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 11:14 pm:

    === Thank you for your typical response.===

    So… you have no answer.

    Not very open to discussing.


  34. - OpentoDiscussion - Thursday, Mar 19, 20 @ 11:23 pm:


    I answered you but it seemingly is not posted even though a message says it was sent.

  35. - Pundent - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 6:29 am:

    Opposition to the fair tax is pretty much what it was before COVID19. It’s just that now the critics think they’ve stumbled across a new argument. Never let a crisis go to waste.

  36. - Eire17 - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 7:35 am:

    Sadly the cases continue to increase and the experts say we are not near what the peak will be. The medical field is doing it’s very best but cannot keep up. I have multiple family members who are doctors and nurses who are working like dogs. What I don’t understand is why section 5 of the EO limits telehealth to Illinois licensed doctors?
    If an Illinois retiree goes to Florida and sees a Florida doctor it’s covered. But if that same person comes home to Illinois and wants to access that doctor via telehealth technology it’s
    At a time when the patient population is expanding exponentially and the pool of medical providers is basically stagnant and at capacity that seems to be an unnecessary limitation on the benefit of telehealth services.

  37. - Rasselas - Friday, Mar 20, 20 @ 8:47 am:

    The limitation may be written into the law. When telemedicine first came in, the Illinois Medical Society and other provider groups freaked at the idea of out-of-state competition and had ‘Illinois-licensed’ only written into the law. To protect ‘quality’, so they said.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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