Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker enters press conference wearing mask - All essential workers now qualify for state’s childcare assistance program - Federal Headstart not keeping up - Second Stateville person dies - 30 percent of cases are African-American - Expects cases in all 102 counties - “The rules are being written as we go here” - Claims enough PPE for healthcare workers - Governor says stricter orders are possible - Virus might return - Details info to legislators - Dr. Ezike talks mental health front - Pritzker praises federal workers, disses White House
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Pritzker enters press conference wearing mask - All essential workers now qualify for state’s childcare assistance program - Federal Headstart not keeping up - Second Stateville person dies - 30 percent of cases are African-American - Expects cases in all 102 counties - “The rules are being written as we go here” - Claims enough PPE for healthcare workers - Governor says stricter orders are possible - Virus might return - Details info to legislators - Dr. Ezike talks mental health front - Pritzker praises federal workers, disses White House

Sunday, Apr 5, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* At the start of today’s presser…

He removed the mask when he began speaking.

* The governor…

I’m proud that here in Illinois effective April 1, all essential workers in healthcare, Human Services, essential government services and essential infrastructure now qualify for the state’s childcare Assistance Program, meaning that the state will cover most if not all of the cost of care with our emergency childcare providers. That includes everyone from nurses and doctors, to support staff in hospitals, to grocery store clerks and food producers.

Again, please pardon all typos.

* More from the governor…

When our stay at home order first went into effect and traditional childcare centers temporarily closed, I announced a new emergency childcare center license for providers, interested organizations, and parents and guardians within communities to increase the availability of safe, small group care for the children of our essential workers.

As of this weekend over 550 centers are running under the emergency childcare permit. Additionally, over 1500 home childcare providers have reported that they’re still providing care, many of them on the critical night and weekend shifts that are so important for our essential workers. I cannot stress enough the difference that all of these providers are making in the lives of, not just the families that they serve but all Illinoisans

* Press release…

Full details and applications for assistance are available on the Department of Human Services (IDHS) website and […]

The state developed a simple waiver process to allow child care providers to be paid for all of their enrolled children in the Child Care Assistance Program for March and April so that child care staff could continue to receive pay through this crisis. The state also reduced parent co-payments in April and May to $1 per month to relieve cost burdens on parents and to make sure that providers don’t miss out on this important revenue.

In order to educate providers on the support available for small businesses in the federal CARES Act, GOECD is providing a webinar the morning of Monday, April 6 for providers. For more information, providers can visit

* Pritzker talks about federal red tape…

Unfortunately, the Federal Headstart program has actually done the exact opposite, making it very difficult for Headstart programs to use their staff or facilities to respond to the needs of non Headstart families in their communities who may need care. I’ve urged the federal government to take a hard look at what we’re doing here in Illinois and reconsider how they’re operating Headstart until we get through this current crisis.

* Dr. Ezike…

Among those deaths is a second individual from the outbreak at Stateville prison. This individual was at a local hospital. There are currently 60 positive cases at this congregate facility.

* More from Dr. Ezike…

About 30% of positive cases are African-American. We know all too well that there are general disparities and health outcomes that play along these racial lines, and the same may be true for this virus.

* On to questions for the governor. The first couple were TV reporter softballs asking him to tee off on the feds, which he has done repeatedly. Not really news.

* The Surgeon General said that he expects this week to be like a pearl harbor like a 911 in America. Is that what you’re expecting?…

I guess I wouldn’t have used those words but this is, and I want to say that this is happening on a rolling basis in different areas of the country. So it’s not all happening at one time, everywhere, but it is all going to happen in a relatively short period of time, meaning perhaps over six to eight weeks across many areas of the country. And so, I do very much worry about all of the people of the United States and especially in areas, very highly urban areas where it’s where the virus is spreading fast, as well as you know the many people who live in rural exurban and suburban areas, who sometimes think that this isn’t coming to them, but you’ve seen, look at the map of the state of Illinois People, when there was one county that was being affected, people said it should never touch me. Now we’re at 70 counties out of 102, and I can almost guarantee you when we’re when we’re all said and done here, all 102 counties are going to have cases

* We’re getting a lot of questions from people who are confused, business owners who say are there rules in place and exactly what are the rules governing how a business should operate when they suspect that there might be COVID 19 cases within their workforces?…

…The rules are being written as we go here, I mean you’ve seen that we’ve had to evolve as we learn more and so we’re going to continue to try to set those rules, we’re going to continue to try to work with businesses with workers to make sure that things are done in the right way. But as I said yesterday, any businesses that are forcing their workers to come to work When they are ill. Those people, we’ve got to raise attention about that and we should go after them and make sure that businesses are doing the right thing.

* We’re still getting a lot of complaints from essential workers, specifically in healthcare about not having enough equipment. What would you tell someone in your family if they were involved in healthcare, and they’re not having the proper equipment to do their jobs and stay safe and protect their families?…

The equipment, by all of the measures that we use the, equipment exists at those health care facilities. And so if it’s not being provided to you by your employer, they haven’t, because we’ve checked on the stocks at every one of these healthcare institutions, they have the ability to call us anytime they’re running low in any way they can call their county public health boards to get PPE. We’ve been acquiring PPE and pushing it out to every county in the state of Illinois and directly sometimes to the hospitals. Here in the city of Chicago the city has a stockpile of its own PPE that it is responsible for pushing out to the hospitals in Chicago, and by all measures they have reported that every hospital has what it needs in the immediate term for every person that works in a healthcare facility. So if people are not getting it it’s not because it isn’t on site. And so they should insist with their supervisor or with higher ups at those healthcare organizations that they get the proper PPE. But I think we all know that they you know that if you’re treating COVID 19 patients and even if you’re not and perhaps in an adjacent Ward or something where you know you’re being exposed to COVID 19 patients in any way, but the PPE and E95 masks surgical masks other PPE that people can wear is, is exactly what we’ve provided there so it is available, they should wear it.

* Why isn’t Illinois putting tougher measures in place, like perhaps no one on the streets after 7pm or perhaps why not only one person per family, one day a week depending on the last name of that family, for example…

These are all measures that potentially could be put in place. There’s no doubt there are other things that we can do as well. You know in South Korea, just to give you one example, there, everybody that walks into a grocery store, before they walk in there, their temperature is taken. And when you came into this building your temperature was taken here at the State of Illinois building. That’s something that I think is a very interesting idea something that I’ve looked at and if considered.

And, you know, as we move along here you’ve seen we’ve tightened and tightened you know wherever we thought we could. So these ideas that that are being brought up by Erica Maldonado are perfectly good ideas. We could do those things.

I think what we’re seeing is people are, for the most part, the vast majority of people are abiding by our stay at home, they are doing the right things, but we will continue to look at what is possible what is likely, and how we would enforce those things.

* Could this pandemic or others come around again and this disruption of people’s lives and health would be every few years possibly?…

Well, there’s no doubt that, you know, a single virus pandemic even if we overcome it when we overcome it doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be another one.

* Are there any criteria or data points that could lead the governor to impose tighter restrictions than those that are currently in place and what might those look like, or is this literally all the state could do right now?…

Well, as indicated by an earlier question, there certainly are more things that could be done. […]

As I look at the potential for peaking in the next couple of weeks that we’ll be able to manage through this with the resources that we have. But I’m not fully confident of that and that’s why we spend every day trying to obtain more PPE trying to make sure we have more beds available to us (etc.)

* What are you doing to keep downstate legislators up to date on the decisions and impacting their constituents?…

I have a call with legislators across the state, one on Tuesday one on Friday. We talked to mayors, also other leaders, and I made sure to give them all the information that I have available to me so that they can better inform their constituents and they can help us, frankly, with the ideas that they have and they call every day, just so you know, have a staff, what is normally a legislative staff dealing with legislation that is taking calls from legislators and trying to answer questions that they have and for their constituents and you know we’re doing the best we can to get to everybody, every single day. I think we do a pretty good job of it.

* For Dr. Ezike: Does IDPH have any way to measure the mental health impact to them the millions who say they feel isolated? [That’s actually a function of IDHS, but whatevs]…

I think we know that that’s a significant issue. And I know when I talked to Secretary Hou agrees, Grace Hou of the Department of Health Services. We know that the work that’s going to have to be done between our agency and her agency will just be exponentially more in terms of the amount of mental health, decompensation, and amount of social services that will be needed. And so our agencies, of course, along with other sister agencies and so many agencies are already trying to mitigate some of the damage that’s being done. We know that we’ll continue to be working overtime not just now but even months and years after we get on the other side of this to kind of repair, so much that will be undone from the current situation.

* Pritzker was asked a question earlier about Iowa’s governor. He criticized governors for following the president’s lead and denying that this is a real problem. So he returned to the podium to make a final statement…

I think sometimes people mistake when I am being critical of the White House or the president, they mistake that for me being critical of the people are helping at the federal level.

The Army Corps of Engineers has done a superb job for the state of Illinois. The Army has come in and they’ve met with me, a number of times, they are putting their personnel forward, they’re working with our Illinois National Guard. We’re the best in the nation to make sure that we’re building out the facilities that we need to.

And FEMA, the FEMA officials that we deal with here in our region, and the HHS officials, all are working very hard. They live here in Illinois, most of them. And so they want this to succeed for them and for their families as well as for all of us.

So I am grateful for all of the help that we get from those federal employees who work day and night really to protect the people of Illinois. And so my criticism has been the lateness of the policies decisions that have been made by the leaders, and therefore the lateness of any help that we have gotten, which has been due to the people who are above the people that I just described, and their unwillingness to make good decisions that work to the to the betterment of everybody in Illinois.



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