Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker says state won’t reach 10,000 tests per day this week - Test machines aren’t producing reliable results - “The buck stops with me” - Three shifts at one lab - More than 6,000 tests done in past 24 hours - Feds supplied only 10 tests per rapid test machine - $28 million raised for private grants - 250 negative-pressurized tents being flown in tonight - CDC determination could help restart economy - Locals will make liquor sales decisions - Ezike: Increase “not looking exponential” - Ezike: “We’re hoping that we’re getting close to either the peak or the plateau” - Repeats he hasn’t ordered public mask-wearing - Praises federal workers and Corps of Engineers - Pritzker: “We are seeing a change in those numbers” - Pritzker says it’s “devastating” to see impact on small biz - Claims to have made unemployment insurance approval process “much faster”
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Pritzker says state won’t reach 10,000 tests per day this week - Test machines aren’t producing reliable results - “The buck stops with me” - Three shifts at one lab - More than 6,000 tests done in past 24 hours - Feds supplied only 10 tests per rapid test machine - $28 million raised for private grants - 250 negative-pressurized tents being flown in tonight - CDC determination could help restart economy - Locals will make liquor sales decisions - Ezike: Increase “not looking exponential” - Ezike: “We’re hoping that we’re getting close to either the peak or the plateau” - Repeats he hasn’t ordered public mask-wearing - Praises federal workers and Corps of Engineers - Pritzker: “We are seeing a change in those numbers” - Pritzker says it’s “devastating” to see impact on small biz - Claims to have made unemployment insurance approval process “much faster”

Wednesday, Apr 8, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker today…

Folks I promised you honesty and transparency in every step of our COVID-19 response. So here it is. We have only just recently surpassed 6000 tests [per day], and we will not reach the 10,000 mark this week.

As always, please pardon all transcription typos.

* More…

Today I’m going to lay out exactly why that is, the work that’s been done to increase testing over the past 10 days and what we plan to do to get to our goal as quickly as possible.

10 days ago I presented a roadmap showing how we were going to get to our goal within 10 days. The path that I laid out for you had as its key element the addition of new laboratory automation machines to add a multi thousand unit daily increase to our state labs. To get this done we partnered with a major supplier of molecular testing equipment Thermo Fisher, which is a global provider of COVID-19 testing solutions to state and commercial laboratories. Thermo Fisher like many companies provides testing processes that are regulated by the FDA and are authorized under an emergency use authorization to provide COVID-19 testing to customers like the state of Illinois.

So we acquired five high volume RNA extractors from Thermo Fisher, each of which promise to run 200 tests per hour. And we distributed those five machines across our three state laboratories. Some quick math will tell you that these extractors could increase our testing output by thousands per day when running effectively. Over the past 10 days working alongside experts from Thermo Fisher. We are still not getting the level of output that we want to see from these machines.

More importantly, these tests are not producing valid results in a way that meets our exacting standards. I am as impatient as the rest of you are wanting to increase testing, but I will not sacrifice accuracy for the sake of speed. These tests, and the results they will provide are too important. We have to get this right.

* More…

We’re working around the clock alongside Thermo Fisher to accomplish our goal, but until these challenges are overcome these machines will not be part of our testing capacity here in Illinois. 10 days ago I said to you every day we aren’t hitting 10,000 tests or more is another day that we’re not able to get the answer is that help us get past the current crisis. So today I’m standing in front of you and saying we are not there yet.

* What about private labs?…

Folks, I want to be clear, with all of you that we are choosing the best path, but not necessarily the easiest path. If we wanted to choose an easy but less effective path. We could increase testing capacity through private labs used by the federal government. The problem is those labs take seven to 10 days to produce a result. People can end up on a ventilator before they ever get their testing result. That’s just not a timeline that I want to bet on. When we produce accurate test results at our own state labs or at local hospitals we get results within two days.

No matter how much is beyond our control the buck stops with me. And we are still not where we need to be on the testing front.

* Battle plan…

So here’s what we’re going to do. Instead of solely relying on federally sanctioned labs to save us, we’re charting our own path forward. I’m putting my faith in the scientists and technicians, the academics and innovators here in Illinois, to expand our test results. Our state is nationally and globally competitive in just about every category of research science and technology.

We’ve already relied upon those resources in our fight against COVID-19. Illinois was the first state in the nation to validate the original CDC COVID-19 test back in February. In the United States, only the CDC has been testing for COVID-19 longer than the state of Illinois and teams at universities and research laboratories statewide are already working toward treatments, preventions and cures. We’ve already led the way on state level testing innovation in the United States, and we’re going to do it again.

Our researchers are working in an expedited fashion to get this additional new testing up and running as soon as possible and distributing it to other institutions beyond our state labs that have our same type of equipment to continue increasing capacity statewide. To ensure a steady stream of supplies are in state universities and local laboratories are creating our own raw materials, instead of relying upon the global supply chain, which is frankly in disarray, our institutions are developing and distributing their own viral transport medium, known as VTM, and the necessary reagent locally. Hospitals and labs in Illinois that are running low on VTM will be able to access these resources through their local emergency management agency’s resource request systems.

We’re now running three shifts at one of our state labs, with the other two moving to match their capacity soon. And more than 96 locations across the state are now collecting specimens, this capacity has brought us the increase that we have already achieved. Today we surpassed 6000 tests in a 24 hour period.

We also need to talk about rapid tests, as I’ve told you I spoke directly with the President and the CEO of Abbott Labs, the night that they announced their portable five minute rapid test for COVID-19, and they expressed their genuine interest in taking care of their home state. And for that I am very grateful.

They dedicated the supplies to support more than 88,000 tests, a month or around 3000 tests, a day here in Illinois and we’ve seen the documentation as to where the distributions of those items are headed. Unfortunately, it is our understanding now that the federal government redirected most of these early tests to private systems without our state input about where the tests would make the most impact. That said, we believe this new test capacity will begin to show up in our numbers. As soon as these labs start to utilize their full capacity.

Our teams in our state labs also received 15 Abbott, Id now machines from the federal government, for which we’re very grateful. And those machines are being distributed to every state in the United States, 15 machines. This could be a huge help. But there’s a catch. The federal government included only 120 total tests. That’s eight tests per machine for all of Illinois. But I assure you that we will leave no stone unturned to get the tests that we need to run those machines at full bore.

I lay out these obstacles not to complain or to point fingers but to be fully transparent with all of you. As to the challenges that we face and how we are working to overcome them. It’s on us. I’m also hopeful that this transparency will shine a light on some of what’s taking place across the country and will encourage the White House to remove the obstacles that are blocking our path forward and to work together. Meanwhile, we are using every resource at the state level to increase testing and are continuing to make progress, though frankly not at the rate that I would like.

* Fundraising announcement…

Two weeks back we announced multimillion dollar Illinois COVID-19 response fund to support community organizations and local nonprofits around the state, working to support the residents who were hit hardest by COVID-19. This morning the fund announced its first round of grant distributions $5.5 million to 30 organizations that serve families across 96% of our state’s population by providing people with access to food, shelter health care help with their mortgage and utilities and focusing, especially on supporting vulnerable populations, like our children, our seniors those with disabilities, immigrants victims of domestic violence and others in some of these organizations serve more than 700,000 people. In just the last few weeks the fund has raised more than $28 million from nearly 2000 donors, and many more rounds of funding will be coming soon.

* Richard Neely, Adjutant General, Illinois National Guard…

Today I’m happy to announce that the Illinois Air National Guard will have two C-130 cargo aircraft from the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria move 250 negative pressurized tents from Eugene Oregon to Chicago this evening. … This will be the first of three deliveries over the next few weeks as the Army Corps of Engineers in almost construction complete the build out the McCormick center

* On to questions for the governor. There is some discussion today that the CDC is considering changing its guidelines for self isolation, making it easier for those who have been exposed to return to work if they are asymptomatic. What is your take on that?…

This is an important development. First of all, it’s taken weeks and weeks for a determination to be made and the CDC is acknowledging it now, that if you’ve had COVID-19, there is a high likelihood that you are immune from getting it again. Unless it mutates or there’s some other development of it. COVID-19 once you’ve had it, you cannot get it again that’s the acknowledgement I think that the CDC is making here, so that’s good news, in many ways, at least for people who had COVID-19, and have recovered, that they are not under the same restrictions and guidelines that others who haven’t had it yet, are now.

What we don’t know and I need to read more about what the CDC may be saying about it, is whether someone who has had it can also somehow on their clothing or in other ways carry the virus with them. Right, so even if somebody is immune from it. Is there any way for them to carry the virus with them, I do not know the answer, and I can let Dr. Ezike answer if she does. But I can just tell you that we look very much at this research we’ve been looking at it for four weeks now, that this will help us going forward with the restarting of the economy. […]

So we’re going to look very much at how we would accomplish what they’re suggesting you know because it’s very hard to just look at somebody and know whether they’ve had the test, or they don’t haven’t had the test you can’t tell the difference with somebody. So how would we identify somebody who has had COVID-19 recovered rather not the test, but had COVID-19 and recovered, they would only be if they had a test and some showing that they’re immune.

* Mayor Lightfoot has stopped liquor sales after 9 pm. Could you imagine that statewide as well?…

I think that’s up to local mayors and local city governments and county governments to make the decision

* Why do you need pressurized tents for McCormick Place when it was not intended for very sick people?…

Well, the hope is not, but you want to be prepared and so the idea is to have an area for patients that, who come in their cars with COVID positive, but hopefully at a low level low acuity right and unfortunately some of them will increase the intensity of the seriousness of the effects of COVID-19.

* Dr Ezike on the exponential growth, you said seems to be slowing. Where does this suggest we are in terms of the peak, and also how can we be sure if we’re not testing the 10,000 per day?…

Using the information that we have, we can still track our rate of rise and so with the decrease in the rate of rise, with it not looking exponential, with it looking more linear, that just means that there’s a slower rate of increase and so we are confident with our team of epidemiologists that that is what we’re seeing, thus far. So we’re with guarded optimism we’re hoping that we’re getting close to either the peak or the plateau. It’s not clear yet how long that would be, again, it’s really hard to start making specific days like we’re X number of days from the peak but we think we’re heading in that direction. And we will continue to follow the data and give you more as we get it.

* For Dr. Ezike. Up until yesterday, IDPH, the data on the test was reported as number of people test it. Now, it’s number of tests. So which is it and why is there a change is it true that sometimes multiple tests are needed to get a result?…

so if you recall when we used to talk about the specimens tested we know that we used to take a nasal swab like we had an MP nasal pharyngeal swab and oropharyngeal swab so sometimes people had up to three different swabs from the same patient. We have now switched to doing single swabs. So I think there’s, depending on which data you’re looking at you have to correct for, there may be multiple swabs for an individual. And so I think that’s why the correction was the most part it is one specimen, for one test now because the guidance has changed.

Pritzker on the subject…

You know, a lot of the things that you were measuring a month ago are different now because the CDC has given different and new guidance for the FDA. And so, it used to be multiple swabs for a single person, almost three I think at the beginning, and now it’s really more like one to one

* For Dr. Ezike: Are Illinois hospitals still allowing family members to accompany a woman in labor and what are the guidelines?…

Yeah, so I’ve been following that and it’s not consistent it’s not a single rule for all hospitals. I know that in some hospitals, they are allowing the partner or the coach to be there for the actual labor, but not for any additional time again, understanding the situation we’re in. But knowing that people coming from the outside can bring you know the virus into the hospital. So I know that some hospitals were allowing just the one partner or coach to assist with the actual labor, but not outside of that. And there may have been some other place some other hospitals where that even one person wasn’t allowed so I know that there’s not consistency

* In Los Angeles, the mayor has ordered if you’re at a retail store wear masks. Is that a good idea?…

It is a good idea. It is a good idea when you go out and we haven’t ordered it but but as you’ve said I’ve every day, you know, I wear my own mask when I go outside. If I’m going to a store or any other place I would wear a mask. I would suggest that for everybody. I’ve seen a lot of people doing just that which is terrific.

* You’ve talked with about the wild west of securing PPE outside the government, but what is it like working with the feds is it organized and or do you feel like you’re getting the runaround?…

Sure, it’s a great question because you know when you say the feds when someone asked the question about working with the federal government, there are so many different parts of the federal government. You know when you’re talking to the Army Corps of Engineers. This is a highly organized, highly effective organization they deliver when they have promised things, they’ve delivered. It’s really quite amazing.

And it you know when you talk about kind of the more political branches right like the White House, it’s less the case, you’ve heard me say before. It is often difficult when people are promising things and then they don’t get delivered. And whose fault is it I mean if someone makes you a promise but it’s supposed to be delivered by somebody else were in the executive chain of command. Did that fall down? I don’t know. What I know is a promise was made, and then it wasn’t delivered. But I will tell you that every time I have interacted with people on the ground who come from the federal government, who are working hard, you know, for Illinois, I mean I’ve been really amazed at what they’re doing for us.

* Governor on the rate of infection growth…

Early on in the development of COVID-19 in Illinois, there was a coefficient that was like three and a half people were getting infected for every one person that you could detect. And it’s much lower now, and again, it’s not an exact science that number, but we are seeing a change in those numbers and it has directly to do with the orders that we put in place people staying at home. People washing their hands people doing the right thing people wearing masks. These all have an effect on the infection rate in the state.

* For Dr. Ezike: It seems likely that downstate Illinois will see cases peak sometime later than the Chicago area. To what extent are rural critical access hospitals prepared for the increased volume of cases they’re likely to see?…

So we know that there’s the population density of is, will affect the rate of spread. But we also know that they have a shortage of hospitals and beds there so we’re keeping a close eye on that as we look right now I think our hotspot is more Northern Illinois and regions seven through 11, but we’re keeping an eye on all the beds the ICU, the ventilators and the availability of those, and we potentially will have to do some moving of things but we are also looking at what the needs will be there and if we need to create some of these additional alternate care facilities in some other regions like we will be looking at that so we monitor all of these numbers through our m resource multiple times a day, and we’ll be keeping up with what’s going on in the southern region as well.

* Governor, how do you feel when you see shops and restaurants closed, maybe forever because of your decision?…

It’s devastating. It’s devastating for the people who have closed their businesses, it’s devastating for the people who worked at those businesses.
I hope that those shops will not close forever. I hope that the small business loans that we’re offering in the state of Illinois, the small business support that’s coming from the federal government will allow those businesses to survive to reopen when it’s time.

We’re doing our best I am lobbying, I mean every day I’m talking to federal officials federal elected officials to get them to do something in a stimulus fashion. There’s going to be another CARES act I’m told to expand support for small businesses as well as for individuals across the country. And so we want to do everything we can to help those people.

But if you want to know how it makes me feel, I know how hard it is to start a business, and to make it initially successful. Many small businesses get started, don’t go over, they don’t get very far. The ones that do survive by working 18 hours a day, seven days a week, sometimes to make it, and when they finally make it, I mean the idea that a virus is going to devastate your business not something anybody could ever have imagined. But here we are, and we’ve got to stop the spread of this virus we’ve got to save lives, so we can save livelihoods.

* Canada radically streamlined applying for unemployment insurance by choosing to detect for fraud and errors after processing the application. Folks are applying in three minutes and getting direct deposits in three days. Could Illinois do something like this?…

In fact, we have streamlined that we’ve taken away the obstacles. There had been a number of checks that somebody would have to go through before getting their unemployment insurance the card and. And we’ve actually reduced the numbers of those checks so that people could get approved much faster.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - PJ - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    Anyone else wondering when those miraculous 15 minute Abbott Labs tests are actually going to scale up to any reasonable number?


  2. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    PJ: The White House has them. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-rapid-coronavirus-tests-abott/2020/04/07/98e44a76-78e9-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html

    Did anyone get the impression the governor’s opening remarks were aimed at a Republican congressional candidate? Maybe it was just me.


  3. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    God bless and protect JB Pritzker


  4. - walker - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    Joe Friday award.


  5. - JudgeDavidDavis - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    FYI ….. FDA has approved Cepheid GeneXpert rapid molecular diagnostic machines to test for COVID-19. Results in 45 minutes from this 20 year technology.
    Reference https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/the-institute/ieee-member-news/a-rapid-test-for-covid19-arrives-via-a-20yearold-technology-already-in-many-hospitals


  6. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    ===Could you imagine that statewide as well?===

    Well we keep hearing from certain circles that the state lets chicago decide all the rules for the entire rest of the state.

    I know, having evidence to the contrary will never stop those claims, but there it is.

    Perhaps someone can ask Brad Halbrook what he thinks of this?


  7. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    =…regulated by the FDA…=

    Remember when that actually meant something?

    =…these tests are not producing valid results…=

    Why am I not surprised?


  8. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    here’s the machine, and you can use it 10 times with what we give you? is that right?


  9. - Southwest Sider - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    I’ve been watching his daily news briefings and I like the way he communicates. Great job.


  10. - Nick - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    I imagine it must be pretty frustrating to be told repeatedly that the states need to act for themselves, get their own equipment, run their own tests, etc, only for the federal government to repeatedly act to make that more difficult


  11. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:32 pm:

    From Pritzker’s presser on Abbot Labs…“They dedicated the supplies to support more than 88,000 tests, a month or around 3000 tests, a day here in Illinois and we’ve seen the documentation as to where the distributions of those items are headed. Unfortunately, it is our understanding now that the federal government redirected most of these early tests to private systems without our state input about where the tests would make the most impact.”

    Here’s what’s been happening nationwide with confiscation of materials by “Trump and Kushner Inc”-

    https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEJ83Ro1AEraxa66MM33g_CEqGAgEKg8IACoHCAow2KLyCTDI8XIwxbjsBQ?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen


  12. - CapnCrunch - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    Using today’s numbers, if the area of a 9.2” diameter plate is the population of Illinois, a dime laying on the plate covers the portion of the population tested.


  13. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==when did this turn into a Democrat only opinion board? Sad…==

    Who knew Donald Trump visited the Capitol Fax board?


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    ===Maybe it was just me===

    It was. I was told early this morning that testing would be the topic of today’s briefing.


  15. - Former Candidate on the Ballot - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    Interesting speech today - I like that we are going to use our own resources and not rely on the feds for testing - what took so long?


  16. - JB13 - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    The decision to stop demanding the feds do everything for us is one of the best ones I’ve heard throughout this entire process. Let’s do it, and move forward.

    Also, great to hear the governor not just dismiss the notion of possibly sending those deemed immune back to work. There has to be movement toward that goal, or this situation will get away from him in a hurry.


  17. - Huh - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    “No matter how much is beyond our control the buck stops with me.”

    So refreshing to hear someone in government taking responsibility for things not going according to plan and mistakes.

    Thanks JB.


  18. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 4:53 pm:

    ==“No matter how much is beyond our control the buck stops with me.”

    So refreshing to hear someone in government taking responsibility for things not going according to plan and mistakes.=

    Ditto.

    So weird to tune in and not see a leader crying about how mean everyone is and throwing everyone else under the bus.


  19. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 5:00 pm:

    Dang… it’s good to have a Governor.


  20. - 37B - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 7:20 pm:

    I think I’ve got a man crush on one JB “the Truth” Pritzker. All I’m hearing is straightforward facts. No BS. No false hopes. It’s reassuring to have someone in his position that I trust to give me an accurate picture of what’s going on. It’s calming.


  21. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 8:48 pm:

    JB won’t survive the next election due to his incompetence on the covid 19 response


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 8:51 pm:

    - Anon -

    Save it for Facebook.


  23. - Huh? - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:01 pm:

    Anon - 2 bits says you are wrong. If wrong, will donate significantly larger sum than 2 bits to CapFax favorite charity.

    Pritzker isn’t running for the next election for 2 years, but he has my vote. JP has validated my vote from day 1. Will never vote against him. His behavior during this crisis has validated my vote firmly in his favor.

    Name any other leader, governor and/or president who has accepted responsibility for things going wrong.

    At risk of CapFax coronavirus screening, your dear leaders have denied any and all responsibility for their failures.


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* Pritzker calls up 250 more IL National Guard members, deploys 300 more ISP troopers for areas outside Chicago
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