Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker says one of his office employees has tested positive - Largest single-day death toll so far - 3680 hospital patients yesterday - “43% of our total hospital beds are available and 35% of our ICU beds are available” - Non-COVID hospital visits drop due to stay at home order - Usage trend up 8 percentage points for ICU beds and 5 points for ventilators in a week - Some Chicago-area ICU units “near max capacity” - Peoria and Edwardsville see available ICU beds dropping - New cases in 23 more counties in last week alone - Thanks Gov. Newsome for 100 ventilators - Placed orders for 3620 more ventilators - 25 percent reduction in detained juvenile population - No “regular close contact” with infected staffer - Pritzker not tested - Won’t comment about report of 12,000 body bags ordered - State and locals checking records for missed COVID-19 deaths - Not encouraging arrests - No special policing orders issued - Asked about regrets - Responds to Rep. Wilhour - No plan for regional stand down of order - Responds to Trump’s latest claim - Addresses EO on prisoner release
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Pritzker says one of his office employees has tested positive - Largest single-day death toll so far - 3680 hospital patients yesterday - “43% of our total hospital beds are available and 35% of our ICU beds are available” - Non-COVID hospital visits drop due to stay at home order - Usage trend up 8 percentage points for ICU beds and 5 points for ventilators in a week - Some Chicago-area ICU units “near max capacity” - Peoria and Edwardsville see available ICU beds dropping - New cases in 23 more counties in last week alone - Thanks Gov. Newsome for 100 ventilators - Placed orders for 3620 more ventilators - 25 percent reduction in detained juvenile population - No “regular close contact” with infected staffer - Pritzker not tested - Won’t comment about report of 12,000 body bags ordered - State and locals checking records for missed COVID-19 deaths - Not encouraging arrests - No special policing orders issued - Asked about regrets - Responds to Rep. Wilhour - No plan for regional stand down of order - Responds to Trump’s latest claim - Addresses EO on prisoner release

Tuesday, Apr 7, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker today

I want to start today by informing you that this morning, a member of my governor’s office learned that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

This individual started to feel unwell. On Thursday, March 26, and immediately went home. That same day we sent everyone that works in the governor’s office home, and had a professional multi our deep cleaning done.

We had already earlier in March significantly reduced our in office staff and directed all those who could to work at home. These are the same instructions that I’ve asked offices across the state to follow. Back then, we also implemented temperature checks for anyone still coming into the Thompson center. Those temperature checks have continued.

Following the staffer’s exit from the office, we reduced in-office staff in the governor’s office even further to a critical few, asking all of those who are staying at home to self isolate as the medical professionals advised. We also put in place additional protocols about in office, and out of office behavior.

The individual who tested positive continues to isolate at home. And it has now been 12 days since that person left the office, and none of our remaining in office staff have demonstrated symptoms. I’m incredibly happy that this member of my team is doing so well.

This is an anxious time for everyone and it should be a cautionary tale that even among those who are most attentive and taking the most precautions, it is still possible to get the virus. If you leave home and interact with others. So let this just affirm what we already know. Nobody is immune.

Again, please pardon all transcription typos. Thanks.

* The governor then announced the daily death total…

Now I’ve said all along that this would get worse before it gets better. But speaking the truth in no way softens the blow when it does in fact get worse.

And it has been reported to me and I’m deeply saddened to say that in the last 24 hours we have had 73 fatalities in the battle against COVID-19, our largest single day increase to date.

There are so many tragedies here, the countless family members loved ones, friends and neighbors who grieve the indefinite delay of funerals and celebrations of life. The fact that this will not be the last day that we say goodbye to our fellow Illinoisans because of the terrible toll of COVID-19.

It’s okay to let yourself feel all the pain that there is to feel today. I too am grieving, but I want you to know that my grief is only fueling my efforts to fight this virus and win.

* Hospitalization…

Although all of the available data serves as an important part of the overall picture, we consider our hospitalization data a particularly significant indicator. If someone’s sick enough to need hospital care. They’re likely going to seek that care whether or not they have been tested.

According to data from April 6 yesterday, the number of known COVID patients and suspected COVID patients, as in persons under investigation and assumed to have COVID-19 for the purpose of medical treatment in our hospitals here in Illinois, that number totaled 3680.

* Context…

Since the earliest days of our COVID-19 response my administration has worked with our state’s network of more than 200 hospitals to increase capacity in our existing health systems. We now have nearly 28,000 total beds, approximately 2700 of which are ICU beds. As a reminder, those numbers don’t include the beds that we’re putting up at our alternate care facilities like Vibra, Metro South or McCormick Place.

* More…

Additionally, we’re seeing signs of a trend here in Illinois for the number of people in the hospital for non COVID reasons. Things like car accidents have dropped with fewer people on the roads since we implemented our stay at home order. This is a pattern that’s reflected in other states as well. As of yesterday, April 6, 43% of our total hospital beds are available and 35% of our ICU beds are available. As for our nearly 2700 ventilators in Illinois 57% are currently available, down from the 68% available on March 31, just one week ago.

So if you’re looking for a trend, here’s another one. On Tuesday, again just a week ago, COVID patients occupied about 35% of our total ICU beds and about 24% of our total ventilators. Today, a week later, COVID patients occupy 43% of our total ICU beds and 29% of our total ventilators, that’s an 8 and 5 percentage point jump, respectively, in just a week.

* Important point here…

I also want to stress that these are our collective numbers across the state. Not every hospital has even that availability and in fact there’s a fairly extraordinarily large range across the state depending upon where you live.

In the city of Chicago, the city’s Southwest suburbs and the city’s northeast suburbs average ICU Bed Availability in those hospitals is still below 25% with some hospitals in the area near max capacity.

But this isn’t just a Chicagoland issue. We’re closely watching other areas around the states places like Peoria at 42% of ICU beds available and dropping, and places like the Edwardsville region at just 33% available.

* More…

We’re also tracking ventilator availability specifically investigating the need to move ventilators not just within a region of the state but from region to region within the state as needed. For those of you who didn’t hear your region listed as one operating with a lower percentage of available beds. That is not a sign that COVID-19 isn’t a problem in your community, far from it. It might feel like a lifetime ago but it was just a couple of weeks back when the state of Illinois had just a few confirmed cases in just one county. In fact it was only last Tuesday when we had confirmed cases in just 54 counties. That’s an increase of 23 counties in seven days. We have to be operating as if COVID-19 is circulating, not just in every county but in every community. We need to maintain our course, and we need to keep working to flatten the curve.

* More on ventilators…

And finally, to round out our conversation about hospital capacity. I must talk about ventilators, the equipment known to make a real difference in the outcomes for COVID patients who are in critical condition. First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude. My genuine sincere gratitude to the people of California and to the governor of California Gavin Newsome who sent us 100 ventilators overnight for use by patients here in Illinois. […]

Once we are past our peak, Illinois will pay it forward. We will pay it forward in any way that we can including passing along these ventilators to the next hot spot in the nation, and any that we may be able to spare.

As you know, over time, we’ve also received 600 ventilators from the federal government, 300 of which were directed specifically to the city of Chicago by the White House. I’m grateful for all of those vents as well. We continue to scour the globe with our own state level procurement operation to secure the rest of the ventilators that we may need. While this market is just as competitive, if not more so than that for PPE we have so far placed orders for 3620 ventilators. The first batch of these deliveries will arrive in April, with the rest coming over the next several months

* From a press release…

* Prisons…

As of today over 60 individuals at the Department of Juvenile Justice have been released. That’s more than a 25% decrease in our overall juvenile population. And at the Department of Corrections during this pandemic we’ve now released over 1100 low risk prisoners who were incarcerated, either by direct action by my administration or under regular release programs.

* On to questions for the governor. The staff member that you said that tested positive did this individual have close contact with you or Dr. Ezike, were you tested, was the doctor tested?…

Pritzker: I was not tested. I did not have regular close contact with this person, this is somebody who worked in the office but not particularly close to my office and didn’t regularly enter my office so very little direct contact with this person.

IDPH Director Dr. Ezike said she had no contact with the person and she has not been tested.

* Just a question regarding the report of the state’s procurement of cadaver bags. If you could comment on that, is 12,000 the number that the state is seeking and is that a number that is within the models of something that could be?…

I don’t really want to comment on it. I mean we’re preparing and always we don’t know what the numbers will be in the end. And it’s hard to point at something that would tell you exactly what those numbers would be I mean obviously there are models out there but a lot of them, but we want to make sure that we’re prepared if we’re if we end up being over prepared in that way.

I’ve been told that the bodies likely have to be double-bagged.

* Is there any way to calculate how many deaths, or estimate how many deaths that have occurred since perhaps January that are unrecorded?…

I think that the DPH is actually going back in the records to to look at some of those but I don’t think that it’s clear yet. … We do have coroners and medical examiners who maybe might be doing post mortem tests to try to see if they can get at that information. So the numbers may increase for a number of people who may have expired who passed on. Before it was knowledge that it was related or that they had COVID at the time of death, requiring every everybody to be tested for COVID-19 eBay, if there wasn’t signs before they died.

* Do you want local law enforcement to enforce your stay at home order to the point of arresting citizens?…

Look, I have not encouraged that. That is up to local law enforcement and to local entities cities and counties. Some of them have are looking at passing ordinances, for example, and some of them have declared their own states of emergency.

There are situations like what I read about in Quincy where there were several parties to parties that I’m aware of that occurred. And look I think we’re asking people to do the right thing and most people, the vast majority of people are doing the right thing. But if people are encouraging others to get together in groups of more than 10 or to not socially distance, I mean, I think at some point, it is worthy of considering a real consequence.

* We’ve noticed police out there that they don’t seem to be pulling people over as there have been some directive from your office to state police to conduct traffic enforcement differently? We’ve seen vehicles parked out in the middle of expressways state police with their lights on, just there as a warning, trying to get people to slow down…

No, I have not given any directive like that.

* Do you have any regrets about anything you should have or shouldn’t have done or said during this crisis?…

Oh gosh. I think that’s always a hard question to ask somebody in public life are there more things you could have done or could have done something differently.

I suppose so I and I, every day, you know, I asked myself about each decision that I make is there is there another choice here or did I miss something. You know I can look back certainly and say, did I miss something that happened in the past, but look we took action we were, we were quick. I think to get on this subject when you know when it was clear that that that just asking people to not gather in groups of 50 or 250. I think originally we said 250 and 1000, 1000 being enforceable to fit that was, that seems like months ago now, right, but that’s really about four weeks ago and that’s back when you know there were very few cases that didn’t seem like enough so we went to closing. We went to limiting the numbers of people getting together to a smaller number and then closing bars and restaurants and then closing schools and then the stay at home order and so on. And yet there are more things that could be done but. So, you know, yeah I wish I knew about this in January when you know when the intelligence agencies seemed to know about it. and we could have begun building ventilators ourselves.

* To counteract COVID’s impact on minorities, you said the state is reopening hospitals and those communities, you’re saying that they will only serve black and brown patients, or are you reopening them for good. If not, how does it close the racial wealth gap?…

No, we are not limiting it to a certain race, that’s not the case. And people will be referred to those hospitals. I think the benefit for the most part will be that people don’t show up as a matter of first resort to any of these alternate care facilities. They are referred to those facilities, and if it is near where someone lives that will be a better place for them than some other location. And so it’s really just a reference to the idea that we’ll be able to serve more people and many of the people who will go to those facilities will be perhaps closer to where they live

* How do you respond to Rep. Blaine Wilhour’s suggestion that the longer we’re quarantine that the more we delay herd immunity, which could ultimately lead to more people getting the virus?…

Okay folks, let me just point out that Great Britain went by this theory that perhaps if we just let everybody get it then everybody will get hurt, we’ll have herd immunity faster, and everybody will be okay. Well guess what, if you let everybody have it all at once, which is what happens when you just let it go, you overwhelm your healthcare system and more people die. A lot of people can die. And so the suggestion that we should just let it happen so that the herd immunity occurs faster, is an invitation for us to just let people die. And I won’t do that. I will not do that.

* In terms of opening the state back up on May 1. If you extend the stay at home border would you consider opening up parts of Illinois, especially some counties that haven’t been severely affected by COVID-19?…

I mean look at where it’s 77 counties as of today, where there are cases, and it’s growing, and the number of cases is growing the number of deaths is growing now. And so it’s hard for me to see that, that just because you haven’t had a case in your county or in your community that you’re not going to see cases developing and growing, and we see hotspots correct. You know, that are happening all over the state, you know, look at you know areas like champagne and like Metro east. And, you know, we need to we need to get much further along here before we start talking about a regional or statewide stand down of these orders.

* President Trump said in a press conference last night, you were very happy about the White House at COVID-19 Task Force response to Illinois needs. The President cited a governor’s meeting with Vice President Pence on Monday morning and said, quote, there wasn’t a negative person on the call, even governor Pritzker from Illinois is happy. He suggested that on one hand you’re positive about the government’s work on the phone but telling the press, a different story could you respond to that…

Well, the President’s taking one snapshot when I was happy about on that call was the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers had done such a spectacular job working with our local tradesmen to build out McCormick Place, and I expressed my gratitude for the help of FEMA in a variety of circumstances. But I have been on many calls with the white house, with staff at the White House, with the Vice President, even with the President and I have expressed my displeasure on a number of those calls.

Look, I’m happy when they make promises, and then deliver upon those promises. I am unhappy when they do not deliver on promises, or when lies are spoken. And look, I’m gonna fight for the people of Illinois in every in all circumstances, but I’ll praise somebody when they do something right.

* Regarding IDOC furloughs, will any inmates regardless of crime be eligible for this for a low as medically vulnerable. Where will they go, when released and how, how will IDOC ensure they don’t spread COVID into their communities?…

Well everybody that’s released will have a medical review before they’re released that’s the first thing.

Second. No we’re not. This is not open to anybody and everybody that’s incarcerated in the state of Illinois.

We have reviewed files, continue to review files of those who are non violent offenders those who are posed the least risk to communities. And we have been working as expeditiously as possible to make those reviews, there are some limitations on our ability even for somebody who is at low risk, or at least low risk in their community to returning their community and committing a crime, because we are required to have a location for them to live at, and sometimes they don’t have someplace to go, but we’re trying to work through even that problem by working with local organizations, so we’ll continue to work at this and giving you kind of regular updates here about how we’re managing through with our corrections. And I think that our corrections staff and leadership are doing an excellent job.

-30-

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Captain Who - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    Wouldn’t the governor and his closest staff have access to Abbott’s new rapid test? The president seems to.


  2. - Ok - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    If they are like most people, they can’t get tested unless they have a fever on top of the other symptoms.


  3. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:08 pm:

    Yet there are enough test kits to test a tiger in a New York City zoo


  4. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    == Yet there are enough test kits to test a tiger in a New York City zoo==

    And practically every player on our major sports teams, regardless of whether they were showing symptoms or not. I remember watching Inside the NBA on TNT the night NBA games were suspended. They were interviewing Charles Barkley, who was awaiting his test results (he had a cough) when the public was being told there were almost no test kits available to anyone. As always, those with enough money to spend can procure whatever they want. In the case of the tiger, I assume the test was probably done through a private company, same as for pro athletes.


  5. - Lt Guv - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    Where in the world are the NE suburbs? Wouldn’t that be rather wet?


  6. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    @Lester and DuPage

    Just so you know the tiger didn’t get swabbed or tested the way a human would. Totally different set of circumstances and procedures and since the zoo has an entire medical staff to tend to the animals not much to bothered by there.


  7. - Proud Sucker - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    ===Where in the world are the NE suburbs? Wouldn’t that be rather wet?===

    Waukegan Harbor, maybe?


  8. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    I understand the Governor not wanting to have preferential treatment, but given the nature of this virus that person could have transmitted COVID-19 to any of the employees in that office.

    He should be tested as a precaution because he is our head of state and his leadership is invaluable. He should probably be tested weekly.


  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:52 pm:

    ==If they are like most people, they can’t get tested unless they have a fever on top of the other symptoms.==

    A Governor or the head of DPH is not like most people. If they were exposed they would likely be tested, symptoms or not.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 3:55 pm:

    Mr. Wilhour…

    === Okay folks, let me just point out that Great Britain went by this theory that perhaps if we just let everybody get it then everybody will get hurt, we’ll have herd immunity faster, and everybody will be okay. Well guess what, if you let everybody have it all at once, which is what happens when you just let it go, you overwhelm your healthcare system and more people die. A lot of people can die. And so the suggestion that we should just let it happen so that the herd immunity occurs faster, is an invitation for us to just let people die. And I won’t do that. I will not do that.===

    … go sit down and let the adults talk.

    That’s my thoughts to the governor’s words.

    The governor’s words speak for themselves.


  11. - dbk - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    Good answers to solid questions.

    Re: herd immunity, that one just needs to be put to rest. Herd immunity will occur once there’s a universally-available (and affordable) vaccine, period. Otherwise the virus will just keep coming back and back again each season (depending on whether it’s susceptible to weather conditions, which we don’t yet know).

    Also: I’d still like to hear from IDOC officials, and see the stats on prisons. But IL has rightly decided to only release inmates who have somewhere to go upon release.


  12. - SAP - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 4:29 pm:

    That tiger thing is pretty darn scary. If it turns out that other animals can get infected and transmit the virus–squirrels, rats, deer, coyotes, possums, etc.– I don’t know how you possibly stop the spread.


  13. - Huh? - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 6:40 pm:

    Maybe I’ll tell my wife’s cats about the sick tiger as the reason they aren’t allowed out of the house. They don’t believe me when I tell them the governor has issued a stay at home order.


  14. - Thomas Paime - Tuesday, Apr 7, 20 @ 11:58 pm:

    How did a member of the governor’s staff get tested when they were not even sick enough to require hospitalization?


  15. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 7:42 am:

    I saw the terrible statistic about 15% of Illinois population is African-American but that 41% of the people infected with the virus are African-American. There have been various reasons mentioned for this- health issues - population density -availability of medical resources - their prevalence in occupations that are still employed.

    I have one question about the 15% statistic. I think that’s a state wide number and the virus is affecting Cook and the collar counties more heavily than the rest of the state. Should we be using an area statistic instead of a state one for both numbers( population and infection)? Please note: I believe African Americans are disproportionately affected due to the reasons I mentioned, plus others that we may not know about. I believe we need to do something about it because we don’t want anyone to lose their life, period. I just think the statistic may be a little incorrect.


  16. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 8:23 am:

    Update to my statistics post. Just saw it limited to Chicago area for both. 30 and 68. Still extremely terrible.


  17. - Simply anon - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    SAP - Can’t we ask the animals to quarantine?


  18. - Lee Neubecker - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 6:20 pm:

    The top 10 zip codes with the largest number of Coronavirus Confirmed Positive Tests are largely in Chicago, with the exception of Weukegan. Abbott Labs is based in Waukegan and may have released some of their rapid test units locally which may be causing Waukegan numbers to jump given the lack of the 2 week normal waiting time if Rapid tests are being used. I suspect that social distancing, education and population density are large factors in the test positive rates. Check out today’s top 10 Illinois Zip Codes reporting the highest counts. https://enigmaforensics.com/blog/top-10-illinois-zip-codes-with-largest-confirmed-corona-positive-cases/


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