Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker says fourth temp hospital to open, with another coming for Downstate - “We’re also adding additional beds” - New initiative called “All in Illinois” - President’s “air bridge” is only for private companies, not states - Advice for Wisconsin? - Explains why gun shops are “essential” - 15 rapid testing machines delivered today from Abbott Labs
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Pritzker says fourth temp hospital to open, with another coming for Downstate - “We’re also adding additional beds” - New initiative called “All in Illinois” - President’s “air bridge” is only for private companies, not states - Advice for Wisconsin? - Explains why gun shops are “essential” - 15 rapid testing machines delivered today from Abbott Labs

Thursday, Apr 2, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker at his daily presser today

I’d like to begin with an update on the development of alternative care facilities in the state, which are essentially field medical stations designed to alleviate the crush of COVID 19 cases at area hospitals. Last Monday I informed you that in Cook and the collar counties where the vast majority of COVID 19 cases are today. We had formally launched work on three facilities. McCormick Place in Chicago, the former advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin and the Metro South Health Center in Blue Island.

Of these, McCormick Place will be our largest facility slated to reach a total of 3000 beds. Kane County’s Sherman Hospital and suburban Cook County’s Metro South Center will together host more than 500 patients.

Today we formally added a fourth location to our capacity Westlake Hospital in Cook County’s Melrose Park, which will host 230 beds. Construction at all four of these sites will be completed on a rolling basis throughout the month of April.

We’re also finalizing the necessary steps to stand up an alternate care facility in Central Illinois in the coming weeks and I look forward to providing you with the update on that very soon.

As a reminder, these temporary facilities are meant to support, not replace, our existing medical infrastructure. Patients will be directed first to existing hospitals, and if they are lower acuity, they will be transferred to these alternative sites.

We’re also adding additional beds at our existing institutions every day. But for a rough picture, we had about 26,000 non ICU beds and 2600 ICU beds across the state. As of March 24, about half of our non ICU beds and less than half of our ICU beds were available then, and those numbers have only dropped in the nine days since.

Please pardon all typos.

* New website…

For a little while longer, we must all commit to staying home, staying safe and practicing social distancing to stay healthy. So, every one of us must abide by this if we are to get through this difficult time.

So to honor you and to bring us together in our commitment to doing what’s right, I’m introducing a new statewide initiative that we can all participate in. And it’s called, All in Illinois. All in is our anthem, and our point of pride, Illinois and staying home for the good of each other and for our state.

Today I’m asking all of us, all of you to join in and be all in for Illinois, all in for our neighbors, all in for our grandparents, all in for cancer survivors and those who are immunocompromised, all in to protect essential workers like grocery and drugstore employees and food delivery workers, all in for our heroic doctors and nurses respiratory therapists, social workers EMTs pharmacists, er technicians registration staffers sanitation services, and the hospital food service workers who keep our patients fed.

Join us and take the pledge. Pledge your commitment to go all in for Illinois, go to allin.illinois.gov [fixed link] and take a look around.

See comedic actress Jane Lynch telling you why she’s staying home and hear from Veep star Matt Walsh, athletic phenom Jackie Joyner kersee actor and comedian Deon Cole, Chicago PD star Jason Big, and there are many more to come.

You can also print your own yard or window sign, you can update your Facebook profile picture with a themed frame. Display the words all in for Illinois proudly. Post your own videos on social media, demonstrating your pride. The All in in Illinois means we care about one another. It means we care about our communities. We are one Illinois, and we are all in this together.

* IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike…

We’re also starting to see clusters of cases at essential businesses. And although these businesses need to continue operating, they must take steps to protect both their employees and their customers.

Employees should be monitored for symptoms and their temperature should be checked daily. Anybody who’s sick should absolutely be sent home and stay home businesses should be thoroughly cleaned each day, and measures should be in place to protect clients. That might mean keeping customers at least six feet away from the cashiers or if Plexiglas can be intervening.

And I have to go here regarding churches and other religious services. There are reports that people are still holding services. I understand the importance of communing with fellow believers, but let’s understand, kids are home from school, people are home from work, schools and offices are closed. Religious houses have to do the same.

We all must make the sacrifice. Then on the other side of this pandemic, we can gather at the mosque or the synagogue, the church, the museum, the library, all of these places that we love. We must not continue putting people at risk. Please hold virtual services, whether by web or phone.

I may sound like a broken record, but these are all the things we have to do. It just can’t be some of the community that’s following these restrictions and these guidelines. We all have to do it together. Let’s be all in for Illinois and do our part to end this pandemic.

* On to questions for the governor. Should more prisoners be released?…

I want to remind you that we had more than 1000 fewer prisoners in prison today than we had on February 1.

We’ve been in the process of reviewing cases, especially during this crisis, but quite all along, and especially looking at vulnerable populations and trying to let them go for example.

We commuted sentences of pregnant women and women with babies that were in prison. We looked at cases of non violent offenders who were, for example retail shoplifters who are serving relatively shorter sentences, but would still be in prison now had we not reviewed their case and let them out and given them, commuted their sentences essentially. We looked at other non violent cases like narcotics convictions and have processed, we’ve been processing those as well.

And then finally just recall that one of the important rules that sits in place today is that when you let somebody out when you commute their sentence or early release them they have to have a place to go. You can’t just release them on the street and have them become homeless immediately. And we also want to do a medical check and so on but but the most important thing is they have to have a place to go and there are a number of people who may have met certain criteria who did not have another place to go.

* What’s up with the IDES unemployment claims system?…

This is the biggest onslaught of unemployment claims, I think, ever at least in my lifetime, and even more so than the great recession of 2008-2009. I want to remind you that the systems and IDs were actually rebuilt in 2010. Now, you might think well gee that then it shouldn’t be running properly. Well, it’s now 10 years later, not a lot of investment was made in the states IT systems in that last 10 years. And they were operating properly for the number of claims that were expected you know over that 10 year period the system was operating. Now it’s 10 times as many or you know whatever the multiple is now.

And so the systems aren’t acting properly. And I’ve been talking to our department of innovation, technology which is partly responsible, talking with IDs staff which is partly responsible and then we’ve also asked the public, to those who are filing, to segment themselves by the first letter of their last name, to call on certain days and certain hours and so on. We’re trying to spread it out as best we can, but the truth is that the system does go down it went down. This morning for a short period of time they were working very hard to get it back up. Didn’t quite come back up in the same hour that they thought it would but an hour later. But believe me that we’re trying very hard to both answer every call, which is hard to do because you know we have a system that just there aren’t enough people we’ve asked many of our staff to go stay home, as many businesses are, but we also have non essential staff there to help augment whoever is there. So, again, this is a problem. I don’t know exactly that we’re going to fix it entirely so that everybody could do it all at once, but we have asked people please to spread out their calls and spread out their applications online and to use the online system because that really is the best way to do it in off hours.

* Yet another question from yet another reporter about something far off in the future. Not posting it because reporters should stop acting like the “Are we there yet?” children in the back seat. Ridic. I mean, he has answered this silly question every day.

* Stateville update from Dr. Ezike…

Three of those individuals have been released from the hospital

* Sen. Durbin mentioned how he was calling CEOs and others trying to get shipments of PPE from China, where most of the PPE is made in the world…

It is true that I have been making calls night and day to make sure that we can not only locate and procure PPE wherever it may be in the world or in the United States, but also to make sure that it gets shipped here properly and promptly, by the way. And as you can imagine there’s quite a lot that has been held up over some time because of the challenges of coronavirus in China. And so the shipping from China has been, you know, has been curtailed to some degree. It has begun to pick up again. But as you can imagine there’s a backlog of everything that was going to be shipped from China, not just BP. And so trying to get to the head of the line because we have an urgent need is critically important for our state and so that’s why I’m calling heads of airlines heads of shipping companies. I’m calling private individuals that I know have connections in China, because the Chinese government is has been a little bit difficult at putting PP at the head of the line to be shipped to the United States.

* But…

You may have heard the last day or two the president talking about the air bridge, he’s been calling it from China where they’re shipping goods back to the United States.

Well the reality is that the airbridge is carrying private goods for private companies. It can be PPE, but their private goods are not going to the states, they’re going to private companies that are then distributing it to their customers wherever they may be. And that may be there may be states that are on those customer lists, but they may also not be. And so, I asked directly well could I put goods that are bound for Illinois that we are acquiring PPE for the people of Illinois on the airbridge, and essentially the answer has been no.

* Asked about his advice for Wisconsin in its upcoming primary…

I would say to Wisconsin, I don’t know what the laws are about mail ballots in Wisconsin mail in ballots and absentee balloting, but it was very important in the state of Illinois. Many, many people took advantage of mail in ballots many, many people early voted. […]

I guess the only advice that I would offer is make sure you’re coordinating with your election officials that they know how many volunteers they have that are actually going to show up. And perhaps don’t listen to them when they say they’re all good they don’t need any help, and use the volunteers that you have available to you as governor, or as legislature to augment, you know, the need.

* Why are gun stores considered essential?…

We wanted to make sure that people had the ability to protect themselves if they needed to … There are a number of things that I think one person might not consider essential and somebody else would consider essential. But it was just something that we felt would be important. I think there were quite a lot of people downstate who felt like they’d like the opportunity at least to be able to buy ammunition, or something else because they might want to go hunting by themselves, or to protect themselves.

* Have you been given solid promises on Illinois having first dibs on the Abbott Labs rapid test, and expected date for when they will start to be used in Illinois?…

Let me just compliment them. I spoke with them literally the day they made the announcement about the rapid tests and they were so incredibly responsive and helpful. And we expect to have machines online very shortly. They are shipping those, we may have already been getting a taste. We’re getting 15 of those machines today. … hey’re They’re manufacturing these for the entire nation, but they have said that Illinois is going to be, because of we’re their home, that we’re a priority for them and so obviously they’re delivering on that promise with the first 15 machines already.

-30-

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    What about Samuel L. Jackson?


  2. - In 630 - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    Might want to decouple the All In site from the state tourism site, lest people click on “things to do”


  3. - Mr. K. - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:08 pm:

    The whole point of Rauner’s DoIT — the whole entire point — was to reform stuff like this. That’s why the state’s IT force was merged. To fix stuff like this (along with accounting systems and other enterprise stuff).

    One issue with DoIT — and I know this — is for two years it was essentially a revolving door for upper-level managers. “Vertical” CEOs hired, worked for six months, a year — then left with a nice new entry on their resume.

    DoIT — at least initially (or, well, for two years or so) — was just manager in, manager out. Meanwhile, the actual folks that *do* the IT work — the system folks, the database folks, the programmers — were doing what they had always been doing — working — watching the managers play “lets get the resume entry”.

    Rauner, meanwhile, loomed over podiums and told stories about mythical agencies with no computers, shrugging and mugging, and then when talk turned to DoIT, he’d beam broadly and smile and nod and go, yeah, they’re doing a fantastic job. Fantastic.


  4. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    ”allinillinois.gov’s server IP address could not be found“
    Not a good look.


  5. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    I tried the allinillinois.gov address and it did not work. Anyone had any luck?

    allin.illinois.gov


  6. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    allin.illinois.gov
    Seems to be the correct address


  7. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    You need a period (.) between allin and illinois. If it was just a “.gov” URL then that would likely be controlled by the federal government so has to be “.illinois.gov”


  8. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    allin.illinois.gov seems to be the correct address.


  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    ===Not a good look. ===

    I said to pardon all typos. I say it every day! That’s on me. It’s now fixed.


  10. - Amalia - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    once again, thank you Rich for the transcript. easier to hear that the death count is much lower than yesterday even if it is yet again unimaginable I’m impressed with the depth of knowledge JB exhibits and the energy. trolls are out on his Facebook page. sad. All in.


  11. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    Didn’t realize it was a typo. I was blaming the governor
    Thanks Rich


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    ===I was blaming the governor===

    Which is why I warn everyone every single day to pardon typos. Nothing should be nitpicked until I have time to fix stuff.

    Sheesh.


  13. - Perrid - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    These typos in one sentence is just funny, “cook and the color counties where the vast majority of kovat 19 cases are today”

    My favorite was I think yesterday where Otter thought COVID was coven. JB’s up there talking about witches, apparently.


  14. - Chicagoan - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    Downstate interested in protecting themselves? Someone should FOIA and determine the locations of background checks. Based on the lines, lack of guns in Chicagoland gun shops, this is not a downstate priority, it is a Chicago one too.


  15. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    Sorry


  16. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    I would buy more ammo, but I am not allowed out of the car.


  17. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 4:07 pm:

    What’s this mad rush to buy guns and ammo during a pandemic? What are they afraid of, hordes of unemployed people roaming around, especially POC, robbing and looting? Is this the “Christian” way, profound fear and distrust of neighbors?


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    ===Otter thought COVID was coven===

    Otter needs to get it together on COVID. It has like 10 different ways of spelling it.

    PPE often comes out as “pee pee,” which always gives me a little dark chuckle while covering the apocalypse.


  19. - JDuc - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 4:34 pm:

    - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    I would buy more ammo, but I am not allowed out of the car.

    Yeah, that’s why it’s better to buy it online. It’s far cheaper than buying it here and it’s delivered right to your doorstep


  20. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 4:50 pm:

    The All In effort feels a little creepy. A little wartime propaganda goes a long way. I thinking “Uncle Sam Want You,” “Loose Lips Sink Ships,” for example. Those work, but it’s not much a stretch to start encouraging residents to report on their neighbors. We’re already seeing that in France. Combined with efforts by the Left in other states (California and Virginia come to mind) calling for the rollback of free market capitalism, residents may quickly turn on their governments and we don’t need that.

    I’m surprised to say this considering the left wing loons circling the Illinois statehouse but Pritzker is coming across as a well-reasoned moderate in comparison with his contemporaries.


  21. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 5:04 pm:

    “The All In effort feels a little creepy.”

    What’s way beyond creepy, and downright dangerous, is Gov. Kemp of Georgia saying yesterday that he didn’t know until Tuesday that COVID-19 can be transmitted by asymptomatic carriers. The CDC is in Georgia. That and Florida Gov. DeSantis not issuing a stay at home order until yesterday. A certain political party is full of science deniers.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 5:04 pm:

    === Combined with efforts by the Left in other states===

    For the love of PETE…

    Go on the Facebook and tell that to Allen Skillicorn.

    ===The All In effort feels a little creepy.===

    Yeah, let’s not build a camaraderie, let’s really bunker in and worry about the “Left”… cripes…

    === I’m surprised to say this…===

    … that’s because you come off as a partisan more consumed about anything else than the crisis.

    “I’m surprised”…. I bet.

    Oh, you think this is off? Look how you end?

    ===… in comparison with his contemporaries.===

    Well done. Let’s not be all in together, let’s really talk factions.


  23. - St. Patty's Ghost - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 5:19 pm:

    @Grandson of Man

    In regard to buying guns and ammo people feel insecure that they will be not be protected. Things will get much worse before they get better in Illinois and across the country. What happens if a local police force gets decimated by Covid-19. CPD the other day announced that like 6% of the force called in sick. What happens when the peak hits and that number is much higher. And why the heck are those numbers even released? Lets telegraph to bad people where Covid-19 is weakening the local police force.


  24. - Elmer Fudd - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 5:25 pm:

    On the gun stores being essential. . .

    Not sure if the Governor is that familiar with hunting. There’s not much open for hunters except for turkey season and that is due to end in a little more than a month.

    Most of the major hunting opens in the autumn.


  25. - My 2 Cents - Thursday, Apr 2, 20 @ 9:20 pm:

    @Grandson of Man

    ==What’s this mad rush to buy guns and ammo during a pandemic?==
    What St. Patty’s Ghost said. Also, could be because jails and prisons are releasing inmates. I could see how that would cause panic.

    ==Is this the “Christian” way, profound fear and distrust of neighbors?==
    Substitute “Muslim” or any other religion for “Christian” to see how cringeworthy that sentence is. What does religion have to do with this?


  26. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:48 am:

    That All In Illinois campaign/branding is very clever, and I admire how quickly they rolled out something that manages to hit so many points (we’re all-in, we’re all indoors, etc.). Props to whomever came up with it, especially on such a short timeline.


  27. - Mason born - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:42 pm:

    Even if you disagree with the Gov on the Gun stores since every jurisdiction that shut them down was or is being sued avoiding that distraction seems wise.


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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Pritzker implores protesters to "not force a difficult second rebuilding on our small businesses in the course of expressing your very justified pain"
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker thanks Dr. Ezike, extends financial protections, points to progress, says no more daily COVID-19 briefings - Calls Trump tweets "reprehensible" - "I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country" - Defends budget decisions - Credits Illinoisans for progress against virus - No bill signing ceremonies - Hopes testing progress continues - "It seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world" - No out of state travel plans - Talks contact tracing - Asks Illinoisans to be careful during reopening - Will sign Medicare for undocumented seniors bill - Refuses to criticize Lightfoot for Trump comments - Talks about difficulties in securing testing locations - Dr. Ezike and Pritzker respond to question about what they've learned about themselves and leadership - "We're no longer in a stay at home order"
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