Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker to former health workers: “We need your help now”; 168 new cases, one death; IDPH to limit non-essential adult elective surgery; State got only 25 percent of PPE from feds that it requested; “My optimism has waned”
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Pritzker to former health workers: “We need your help now”; 168 new cases, one death; IDPH to limit non-essential adult elective surgery; State got only 25 percent of PPE from feds that it requested; “My optimism has waned”

Saturday, Mar 21, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker today

Please remember that the grocery stores and gas stations and pharmacies will all be open tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday and every day after that. And they are being constantly restocked. In fact, you would be better off going to the store on Monday than you are today.

As I said yesterday, so many of us have neighbors who are vital to our future, our nurses our doctors our healthcare workers, our law enforcement officers, our firefighters and the ambulance drivers our grocery workers truck drivers our pharmacists, let’s be good to them. […]

Today I’m issuing a call to action in the fight against COVID 19. We’re in the middle of a battle and we need reinforcements. I’m asking all former physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and respiratory care therapists who have recently left the field, whether for retirement or a new profession, to come back and join the fight against COVID 19. We need your help now.

We’ll be waiving the fees and licensures so you can rejoin the healthcare workforce right away. On Monday, your health care license reinstatement form will be available on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website … These applications will be processed on an expedited basis, and we’ll be coordinating with hospitals and healthcare sites throughout the state to deploy these reenlisted medical professionals to the front lines. Also for medical professionals professionals whose licenses may be expiring, we are automatically extending your licenses, through the end of September.

Finally, for healthcare workers living at our borders,who may be practicing in cities outside of Illinois. We’re going to make it easier for you to also practice here. This will allow health systems in places like the Quad Cities and East St. Louis to deploy physicians where they are needed most on either side of the border.

This is hero’s work. And all of you have our deepest gratitude for your willingness to serve.

* Racism spike…

Lastly, let us remember that this virus is not tied to any specific ethnic group or race, people from every demographic every race, ethnicity, gender, or background, have been infected. Suggesting otherwise, or engaging in racist speech or acts is one of the most profoundly unAmerican things that I can think of. Instead, the current crisis should drive home to all of us just how connected we all are. We can choose how we want to come out on the other side of this. Let’s choose to be one Illinois.

* IDPH Director…

I have to share with you the additional cases. Se’ve added 168 new cases. And unfortunately, that includes a death. A gentleman in his 70s, who resided in Cook County.

That brings our total to 753 cases, with a total of six deaths. for each of the families, represented by these fatalities. We all offer our support, and prayers.

* Today’s graph…

* Back to the IDPH Director…

During this unprecedented public health emergency, stocks of personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, are being used rapidly. The availability of critical resources, such as gloves, gowns, eye protection and N 95 respirators is essential to maximize the state’s availability of this PPE. IDPH will release guidance to limit non essential adults’ elective surgery and other medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures until further notice.

We are encouraging strongly all ambulatory surgery centers and veterinarians to donate PPE that is not immediately needed to assist healthcare workers healthcare facilities and first responders who are on the frontline actively responding to COVID 19.

Remember that I’m using Otter for transcription so I won’t be able to catch all of the typos.

* On to questions for the governor. The first two reporters have apparently not bothered to read the EO or even the press release. They asked some pretty obvious questions about what would and would not be closed. He was also asked again about enforcement, which he went over yesterday…

Well we are certainly asking the residents the citizens of Illinois to enforce themselves, to make sure that they follow the rules. We hope that people who might see somebody else doing something that’s against the order might say something to them. It’s not their job to intercede.

But if the law enforcement officers out on the streets would see something there. They certainly would say something to people there. Their next course of action if somebody were to refuse to comply, would be to get a cease and desist order from a court.

So if it was a gathering somebody’s having a picnic a large group of people who are just disobeying the order around the number of people who should gather which is limited to 10, they might need to go to a court to get a court order to get that party that activity to cease and desist in the extreme circumstance. An officer could charge somebody with reckless conduct, which is a misdemeanor, if they’re truly engaging in reckless conduct.

Most people will simply be making a mistake, they’re not standing six feet away from each other they’re standing a few feet. Those are the kinds of mistakes nobody’s going to hold anybody responsible for and we’re not encouraging police, we’re not looking to put people in jail or to fine them for this kind of activity. What we really want is for people simply to obey the rules.

This is about keeping everybody in our community safe, including the law enforcement officers, including your neighbors and your friends and your family members. But people are still encouraged to go outside and, you know, the weather allows to go on a walk to take your dog on a walk to take your child out, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with going to the grocery store, going to the pharmacy. You know, if you need to check up on a neighbor or friend.

Those things are all, you know, allowed and something that certainly I would encourage. I would especially encourage checking up on, calling your friends or people that you know who our healthcare workers and on the front lines who are our first responders, those are people who are so vital to us, and they should know how grateful you are. And I would hope you would ask them if there’s anything that they need that you might be able to do for them.

* Federal response…

I must admit that we’ve gotten no help from the federal government or, let me say, limited help because we did receive some PPE. When we put in an order we got 25% of what we asked for from the federal government. But I believe that we are acquiring at a reasonable rate, but I have an office of people several of them are dedicated to just this to getting into the supply chain and getting every item that we need to make sure that our healthcare operations and our first responders are covered.

* Recovery rates…

It is true that the vast majority of people will recover from having COVID 19. The problem is that the numbers of people, overall, who are getting COVID 19 are so large that even the small number of people who have trouble recovering is more than our healthcare system may be able to handle. And that’s why we’re all working so hard to make sure that we keep our social distance and that all of you obey the stay at home [order].

* For the IDPH Director: How confident are you about asymptomatic transmission…

Yeah, that’s a great question. So, we know that before you develop symptoms, you have to have the virus in your system. And the virus, you don’t get the virus replicates rapidly so you get the virus, and then it replicates in your system, and then you develop symptoms. So we know that from when you get the virus to when you get symptoms, there could be some time in there, maybe a day or two. And so, the issue is how do we think that virus that’s in your system now gets transmitted to another person. And so from what our best evidence shows, we think the majority of the transmission has to do with droplets coming out from sneezes or coughs potentially from contaminated surfaces, being touched and then introducing that virus into, into your mucous membranes, whether it’s your mouth your nose your eyes. And so that’s why the attention to cleaning surfaces frequently, and to cover your cough, and stay home when you have a cough. So, yes, we know that you could potentially have the virus at say Day Zero, but the likelihood of transmitting at that time is significantly lower which is why we prioritize people with symptoms, because we know the direct method by which people would transfer it to another individual.

* Question for the governor: We are getting tons of questions from people who work in manufacturing asking why they are not shutting down and are considered essential. Can you elaborate on what manufacturing sectors are essential and why…

So again I would direct everybody online to the frequently asked questions into the order itself it actually outlines quite a long list. The intention here is that there’s a supply chain of manufacturing that occurs, not just for the end product that you see on a shelf, but all the way back you know the brand that you see on the shelf is not just the brand itself but there’s a twist tie and there’s a plastic bag that holds the brand. Those are all manufacturers that are necessary in order for that good to end up on the shelf. The same thing is true for bottle makers for pharmaceuticals, for example. It’s not just the pharmaceuticals, but that someone makes the tops, someone makes the bottles, you can see that there’s a whole supply chain behind many of the things that are necessary for everybody’s daily life. And so we want to be, you know, to make sure that essential business operations includes all of the supply chain across the board.

* He was asked about his optimism for the future…

I’m going to try to be measured in my answer to your question because as you know I’ve been deeply concerned. I would say frustrated and sometimes even angry at the failures of the federal government.

Let me say that there are people at levels below the political levels of government, who are working very hard to do the right thing. People have the experience that’s necessary to help us solve the challenges we have in the States, and I talk to them frequently. Sometimes I expressed to them my frustration. I simultaneously tell them you know that that I know that this is not their fault, specifically.

But I have to say that that my optimism has waned.

Honestly, because I said the other day that the federal government is like Lucy with the football and I feel like Charlie Brown. And so this has happened, a number of times now, weeks ago, you could look back at press conferences or comments that I made weeks ago, weeks ago we were promised tests that in fact we were told that right around the corner. I was told by people at the highest levels ‘Right around the corner, we’re going to see more and more tests.’ and then weeks went by. Now, are we seeing more tests? Yes, but not even at the numbers that were promised weeks ago. And now they want to sit you know they want to try to play games, about the numbers.

Pritzker continued…

All I can tell you is that that the great people of the state of Illinois, the people who work in our hospitals, the researchers the laboratory technicians, they’re the ones, the doctors here, they’re the ones who have actually figured out how to test and have spun up testing all across the state.

We, of course, our laboratories the state IDPH laboratories were the real front lines. They’re the ones who they put on a second shift. They’ve been doing more and more tests. I mean, they’ve had to put aside some other testing that they do in order to make sure that we’re getting the COVID 19 testing done.

So, I am frustrated. I mean I’m hopeful in a way that the commercial laboratories, and that the private sector will help us figure this out, because so far the federal government hasn’t.

Just one example, private companies have developed or are developing rapid COVID 19 tests that don’t take four or five hours to get an answer for, but something that takes that you could do on the spot. That would be a revolution here.

And so I’m, I’m hopeful in that regard that we’re going to get help. Because the ingenuity of the people of Illinois, the ingenuity of the private sector the ingenuity of the people working in the laboratories, at the hospitals all across our state is heartening.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

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