Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker unveils new PSA - More tests in African-American communities - Federal contracts extended on two drive-through sites - $51 million from feds for community health centers - Rapid test machine distribution includes state DD facilities, prisons - Issues new guidance on vulnerable populations - Housing program announced - COVID-19 equity team formed at IDPH - Mortality rates among blacks in their 70s ten times higher than whites the same age - State needs to do more testing - “Merely suggesting” people reconsider large gatherings - Comments on death of CPD officer - “We’ll deliver” if first responders can’t get PPE - Not poaching Chicago-area workers for McCormick Place - Talks about projections - Surprised a community health center closed - Urges people to stay home at Easter - Curve is flattening, but not yet bending downward - Talks about testing in rural counties - Asked how he celebrated Passover
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Pritzker unveils new PSA - More tests in African-American communities - Federal contracts extended on two drive-through sites - $51 million from feds for community health centers - Rapid test machine distribution includes state DD facilities, prisons - Issues new guidance on vulnerable populations - Housing program announced - COVID-19 equity team formed at IDPH - Mortality rates among blacks in their 70s ten times higher than whites the same age - State needs to do more testing - “Merely suggesting” people reconsider large gatherings - Comments on death of CPD officer - “We’ll deliver” if first responders can’t get PPE - Not poaching Chicago-area workers for McCormick Place - Talks about projections - Surprised a community health center closed - Urges people to stay home at Easter - Curve is flattening, but not yet bending downward - Talks about testing in rural counties - Asked how he celebrated Passover

Friday, Apr 10, 2020

* The governor will be speaking on this topic today…

Today, Governor JB Pritzker released a new All In Illinois PSA video featuring a strong message directed at African American communities across Chicago and Illinois, as a reminder that no community is immune to COVID-19.

Current data from Illinois and Chicago public health officials show:

    • African Americans make up nearly 30% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases and 42% of deaths.
    • In Chicago, 72% of deaths due to COVID-19 were black, despite African Americans making up roughly 30% of the city’s population.
    • People with pre-existing health conditions are more likely to have worse outcomes if they get COVID-19. Some of those conditions include: diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease or heart disease — all common for black families.

Governor Pritzker will address the challenges facing African American communities during his daily briefing today at 2:30pm.

This new PSA message, featuring prominent African American celebrities, urges everyone to stay at home to protect those who are most at risk and those on the front lines who must work and cannot stay home. “Staying inside truly saves lives,” said Jackie Joyner-Kersee. The message is simple: if we are “All In” for each other and “All In” for Illinois, we will get through this and flatten the curve together.

The new PSA video features the following celebrities:

    • Artist, Chance the Rapper
    • Former Chicago Bears player, Charles “Peanut” Tillman
    • Chicago artist, Theaster Gates
    • Olympian, Jackie Joyner-Kersee
    • Actor/comedian, Deon Cole

The ad

* The governor…

The data accumulating over the last few weeks has shined a bright light on what seems like a uniquely American problem. Many could have told you what it would highlight, long before the data drew the picture. Generations of systemic disadvantages in healthcare delivery and in healthcare access in communities of color and black communities in particular are now amplified in this crisis. In the city of Chicago, suburban Cook County in greater St Louis in cities and towns all across our state and our nation.

First we need more ubiquitous testing. We’re working hard to expand our state testing capacity and as we do so we’re thinking seriously about where and how these tests are available and to whom. To that end, my team and I have worked to set up a partnership between the downtown Lurie Children’s Hospital in the city of Chicago, and for federally qualified health centers on the city’s south and west sides.

As always, please pardon any transcription errors. Thanks.

* The governor listed several city and suburban sites where tests would be done and then said…

These centers will take specimens for 400 people per day, and send them [out] for testing. And in the Metro East region, we’re launching a similar operation, starting next week three locations of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation system will be taking 470 specimens per day and sending them to Anderson Hospital in Madison County. […]

I’m also excited to announce that our new state run South Suburban drive thru testing center will open early next week in the Markham Harvey area. We’ll be taking hundreds of specimens per day with test results coming back to patients much faster than the federally contracted labs.

* A bit of news here since federal help was supposed to end this week…

As for our existing two state drive thru sites, we’ve secured an extension of our federal contracts while we work to transition these sites to run entirely through state and local labs for faster test results.

* Hotel rooms…

As part of our early crisis preparations, we required each of our local jurisdictions to come up with an alternate housing plan to help residents quarantine in a safe place. Simultaneously we at the state level began preparing up to 2000 hotel rooms, outside of Chicago, to support suburban and downstate communities.

These hotel rooms are for people who tested positive for the virus, but have low level symptoms and don’t need hospital level care. There are other rooms available for people who were exposed to a COVID-19 positive person. And are there for a person under investigation, who may need to move out of their home as a precautionary measure to make sure that they don’t expose their families, or their roommates. This extends to our first responder communities especially local health departments.

* Community health providers…

This week 45 community health centers across Illinois are receiving more than $51 million through the bipartisan federal CARES act to sustain their response to this virus.

* Abbott Labs…

I also want to provide an update on our Abbott rapid test distribution. As I mentioned on Wednesday, Illinois received 15 rapid test machines, while we’re still working to acquire the necessary materials to scale up their use beyond the 120 federally provided tests, we are deploying these machines in the following manner so that they’re ready to go as soon as the new tests come. Seven of these machines are going to the federally qualified health centers that I mentioned earlier, to Chicago’s south and west sides, and the remaining three to East St. Louis and the surrounding region.

Another three will go to the Illinois Department of Human Services facilities, the Ludeman Development Center in park forest. The Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee, and the Elgin mental health center. And the final five will go to the Illinois Department of Corrections facilities Stateville, Logan, Graham, Dixon and Menard.

* New guidance…

Today we issued guidance that vulnerable and historically marginalized communities must receive equitable care, so that no person of color, or person with disabilities, suffers a disparate outcome due to a legacy of discrimination. It’s in moments like these that we owe each other even greater expressions of humanity.

* Dr. Ezike…

As the governor mentioned, the state is working on alternative housing in communities of color to address some of these challenges of people who live in close communities, and who may be at risk or who’ve already been found to be positive. At IDPH we’ve also created the COVID-19 equity team. It’s comprised of our director for the Center of Minority Health, and it involves other state agencies as well as many community organizations that will serve as the voice and the informational hub on how to accurately address health disparities.

* Dr. Ezike…

Overall mortality rates among blacks are five times higher than whites. And when you break it down by age groups, the disparities are even higher. For people in their 50s, the mortality rate is 12 times higher for blacks than their white counterparts. For people in their 60s, the rate is eight times higher for blacks than their white counterparts. For people in their 70s, it’s 10 times.

The governor has also invited several African-American community leaders to speak. They all offered praise for the governor and encouraged people to stay home and observe social distancing and see a doctor before they have to go to the emergency rooms.

* On to questions for the governor. You mentioned the need for widespread testing. Is 10,000 the number you’ve been throwing out, is that enough or we’re talking about even greater amounts of testing and should the president invoke defense production act as far as testing is concerned?…

Well I’ve been saying for some time now that the president should be invoking the defense production act for everything that we need to combat this pandemic. This is a war it’s a war against COVID-19. If there’s ever a time when you need to organize our industries in the country to address this with PP with testing supplies with machines. These are all things that we need to accomplish the goals that we need to make, you know, a priority in this

* Just to follow up on your comments yesterday regarding summer gatherings perhaps needing to be looked at and possibly canceled, by that same logic is it inevitable you’re going to have to cancel on site schooling for the rest of the year?…

Yesterday I was trying to address the question of whether people should be thinking about what to do about their festivals over the summer and. And I was merely suggesting that people should contemplate, what if, because we need to follow what the scientists and the doctors tell us. That’s the most important thing that we’ve got to save as many lives as possible. And so that’s going to help dictate what the answers to the questions are, it’s not what I’m saying at the podium. On any given day it’s really about what the best scientists that we’ve got are telling us how we ought to operate going forward, because this is all about saving lives. That is what this is all about.

So I’m going to follow that advice and to your question it follows that the question about schools will be dictated again by where are we as we approach April 30, which is the end of our current stay at home order, and what progress has been made and what are the doctors saying about, could you congregate groups of people together in the sizes that classrooms tend to be in the size of. So again I’m gonna wait, and listen to as we make progress here. and you’ve heard me say yesterday, we’re making progress, so that’s good news. But I don’t want to project what next week or the week after will exactly look like because I don’t exactly know when we’re going to peak, or how fast the downslide will be if we do come down off of that peak, or if peaking means that we’re simply flattening the curve and flattening the curve and staying at the peak for some period of time, and then falling we just don’t know yet.

They keep answering the question even though the answer never changes.

* The President today said that the governors, and he didn’t name any by name, but he said that the governors are more satisfied now … are you satisfied with where things are in terms of PPE and everything right now?…

I won’t be satisfied until we’re past this pandemic, frankly, so you know if you hear me complain now and again if you hear me argue for more for Illinois. It’s because we need it. And it’s because we’re doing everything that we can, and it’s not enough, and therefore we need help from others. And so I’m going to make that plea, wherever I need to. But, you know, we’re doing everything we can, I feel like we are making progress, but I’m going to be on the phone with the governors and with the vice president with the president for as long and as often as I need to be.

* I don’t know if you were made aware earlier in the day but since we’ve been in this room. The Chicago Police Department announced that they’ve lost their second member to COVID-19. So first of all your reaction to that, and part two of that is there are still first responders on the first line both in Chicago Chicago Police Department and other departments who still claim they are being protected not enough is being done to keep them safe with regard to PPE…

Let me address the loss of another member of our law enforcement. This has happened across the state. Our first responders. They’re the ones protecting us they in our health care workers. And so every loss of life is a loss to all of us. But someone who’s out there every day who, you know, as they leave their home and kiss their families goodbye knows that they’re exposing themselves potentially to people who have COVID-19 and doing so to protect all of us. Those people are worthy of some special note. Those are heroes and so I you know I every loss is important to all of us we’re paying attention to every loss. But again, those heroes are special and should be taken note of each time so I’m glad you raised it to my attention. Thank you.

We are providing PPE to law enforcement all across the state we have state police that are coordinating the provision of PPE to police departments, fire departments other first responders. Remember that the state is really the backup and support, you know we’ll deliver. I mean if a police department doesn’t have what it needs, they simply need to reach out to the state police or to IEMA, the Emergency Management Agency for Illinois, and we will make sure that they get what they need. And we are constantly out in the global market acquiring the PPE that’s necessary we have it today so anybody that says that they don’t have it, or they aren’t being given the PPE, first thing they should do is go to their superiors at their own agency at their police department or fire department and ask them for that PPE, and if they’re not getting it there they can call their local health department which is where we often deliver much of the PPE that we’re sending around the state, or to the state police and we will make sure that PPE is provided to their department.

* Here in Chicago, and our region hospital CEO was worried about nursing and medical staff leaving their posts for other jobs at McCormick Place and other alternative medical care facilities, he says they just can’t compete with the wages that are offered at McCormick and is worried that they’re going to end up with a critical shortage of staff to operate…

So, I want to make clear what’s happening so nationally, there is a shortage of healthcare workers, and they are looking everywhere in New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut and all the states that you’ve heard of that are hotspots, including by the way in Michigan right they’re hiring wherever they can find people, and there is a market for those people. And so they’re being bid up, essentially, so that the competition is coming from all over the country again. This is because there is no organization of, you know, the supply chain even a people here which the President could be helpful with. But, this is where we are. And so, it is true that the the alternate care facilities in Illinois are also in that market, but we are not hiring, we are not hiring or making, we’re not making any effort to reach out to people in the Chicago market within a certain radius of Chicago, because we don’t want to take away from existing facilities in order to have them work at one of our alternate care facilities. That doesn’t mean though that someone who is part time and not assigned to any given hospital, and therefore isn’t on staff doesn’t put themselves in the market for one of these other positions either in another state or in an alternate care facility so we’re trying to be careful to not, you know, try to poach anybody from an existing facility. And we want to make sure that everybody’s fully staffed.

* You’ve made it clear that you don’t necessarily agree with some of the peak projections that are circulating. So in the interest of transparency, can you share your own methods and models for calculations and peak?…

Well we have multiple models i mean i it would be hard for me just to point at one particular thing and here’s the thing, even any model that everybody likes to point at the IHME model. And, and, you know, it’s a fine model, but the range of possibility between you know the low end of the high end, we’re talking about, you know, I think 30,000 beds difference between the low end and the high end of that model. So I you know how do you even build for that range?

So you have to, you know, you have to kind of look at several models look at what their assumptions are talk to our own experts we’ve got some of the best in the, in the world right here in Illinois, that we rely upon to listen to how they look at those models and also their own models, and then you know you’re, you’re basically taking several models and trying to guesstimate where is the right spot to aim for. And then the question that I think everybody should be thinking about which is. It’s not just about the peak that we’re potentially going through over the next several weeks. There’s also the threat of a peak in the fall.

And you know doctors will tell you that if you look back at the Spanish flu and other pandemics, and even if you look in other countries that have opened up after they’ve peaked that you see a resurgence of cases because we don’t have a vaccine yet. And there isn’t a treatment either yet. So, if you really begin to open things up you’re going to have a second wave. And so we need to make sure that we’re fully prepared. We don’t want to have a second wave, and God forbid we do, because other places in the country open up or because you know we make adjustments and they aren’t proper, which I hope we don’t do improper ones that is that we have to be able to address that. So, so all of the acquisition of PPE and and ventilators, and the maintenance of ICU beds and hospitals has that in mind and again we look at multiple models in order to try and guesstimate and that’s really the best you can do what you really need.

* A community health center in Jacksonville laid off staff and closed doors today because it has too few patients coming in. What are those medical staff needed and other hotspots and what is your plan to keep these medical centers open?…

Well there’s certainly no intention to hire them away from an existing health center. But certainly any of the folks who were working at a health center that are no longer working there, because that center is closed, we need them elsewhere, we need them at another facility. […]

And I’m surprised to learn of that closing there is money that’s coming in I think I just announced it moments ago that’s going to help centers, maybe it’s not enough and I would argue that the hospitals and health centers in the country are not getting enough yet from the federal relief packages. So I’m lobbying and arguing for more. But, I am sorry that that a health center anywhere in the state has closed.

* The Vice President urged people this morning to keep Easter gatherings to fewer than 10 people. Is that something you would agree with or would you tell people to limit a holiday gathering to just those in their own households?…

Well, I would like people to stay at home. I mean that is the safest best thing that they can do stay home. Celebrate at home, you can do so over telecommunications over video conferencing. Zoom or Skype or some other method and and many, many of the pastor’s that are here will acknowledge, everybody would like to get together for the holidays. But this is just one holiday where, you know, I think the the you know the teachings from the Bible will tell you that you know that it is our obligation to save a life. If we have the opportunity to staying home is saving a life, not just your own somebody else’s.

* The New York Times obtained a homeland security projection showing infections might spike in mid to late summer if stay at home orders are lifted after 30 days. Are you familiar with these projections and when will you decide whether to extend it…

I just read a brief paragraph about it, maybe an hour or two ago.

And then he said what he’s been saying for days and days when these questions are asked. He’ll listen to the scientists before making up his mind.

* The data appears to indicate that the coronavirus case growth rate is slowing and Illinois is bending the curve, but the number of new cases today was higher than yesterday. Can you comment on the prospects for bending the curve down, as well as what’s expected next in terms of next steps needed to bend it down further?…

I said yesterday that I believe when you look at the data, it appears to me that we are bending the curve. As far as bending the curve down that evidence isn’t quite there yet. But bending it downward to show it has a downward slope we aren’t there yet. But remember that we were increasing the number of deaths and increasing the number of cases in an exponential fashion for a little while […]

I think you would see also that the number of cases that are being detected as we have increasing testing, and you saw today that we were again over 6000 I think even over 6500, that we had nevertheless around the level number of cases detected. So again I’m not a doctor, I’m not a statistician but I can read numbers and understand what leveling looks like and, Again, a few days in a row is a good sign and a glimmer of hope.

* More than two thirds of rural counties across the country have a confirmed case and at least one case of a COVID-19 death, and one in 10 are reporting at least one death, what can you do to make sure Illinois rural areas are getting the testing they deserve…

You heard me talk about the fact that in downstate Illinois we in fact are increasing testing. I talked about the Metro East area but you know Carbondale and Edwardsville both we monitor very closely and the health centers that are in the critical access hospitals health centers that are in other communities in downstate Illinois are receiving funding, they’re receiving testing, they have swabs many of them have the ability to send the testing to our state labs, we have a state lab that’s in Carbondale one in Springfield so we have the ability to collect those swabs and test them and in relatively short order. And we want to make sure that everybody has testing available. That is why we must increase testing everywhere. It isn’t just in Chicago.

* When will Westlake hospital be up and running to respond to COVID-19 patients, what about other shuttered hospitals the state has identified for opening again, if they’re not up and running by the time Illinois hits our peak will they only be open as long as money in the cares act can pay for them…

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact date that they will be open but what I can tell you is that our target date for Westlake hospital Metro south, as well as Sherman hospital is April 24 for completion of construction. Once construction is complete, we will need about two days to train all of the staff and have the facility ready to open and accept patients for vibra Hospital, we have a little bit more of an extended timeline we are targeting may 9 for construction completion at Vibra.

* How has the pandemic changed how your family celebrated Passover this year? Do you have any advice or recommendations for family celebrating Easter this weekend?…

Well I was a part of two different saders on both nights of Passover. And they were both over zoom […]

So there are lots of ways to do it. I will say that it was almost fun. … Because you can connect with people that that might not otherwise be able to get to your home on a typical Passover, or a typical Easter and this is an opportunity for you to experience this all the same together. And it really is like being, I know it doesn’t sound like it, but it really is kind of like being in the same room you can see everybody. If anybody ever saw the old show Hollywood Squares. It’s a little bit like Hollywood Squares, you can see everybody on the same screen and talk to them all and it’s really quite good so my staff are all about half my age are laughing in the background because they don’t know what Hollywood Squares. So anyway, thank you all very much. Happy Easter everyone.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

4 Comments
  1. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Apr 10, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    It’s s great time to stay in doors and watch Deon Cole’s Netflix special.


  2. - Behind the Scenes - Friday, Apr 10, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    So, nothing on the State Fair?


  3. - Steve Polite - Friday, Apr 10, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    “So, nothing on the State Fair?”

    “And then he said what he’s been saying for days and days when these questions are asked. He’ll listen to the scientists before making up his mind.”


  4. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Apr 10, 20 @ 4:27 pm:

    Someone must have persuaded him to pull back on his No large gatherings till vaccine started he made the others day. Now it is a suggestion.


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* 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"
* 1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?
* COVID-19 roundup
* All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates
* School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition
* Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO
* Question of the day
* Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff
* Architects abandon alternative reopening plan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Sheriffs file suit against state for refusing to accept jail transfers
* Pritzker says IDPH has offered "suggestions" to churches - Says he's received "pushback" from some private nursing homes - IDPH will file new rule on nursing homes - Still looking at what to do about IDPH rule - Dodges question about Willie Wilson - Employers should use "common decency" when bring workers back - Will wait on feds before making any more budget decisions - Central Illinois hospitalization numbers improve - "We might potentially have to move backwards in the phases - "Not our intention" to make changes to Phase 4 guidance - No plans to dine at restaurant this weekend - No decision about ending daily briefing - Repeats that he has never encouraged police enforcement - Suggests GOP demand for IDES audit could be a "political move" - Still pondering school reopening - All testing is free - Asked about dangers of Legionella in large buildings - Testing and tracing metrics are "internal goals" - Points to federal rules on unemployment and workers who refuse to return - "Difficult for us to open theaters in the near future" - Dr. Ezike talks rules for malls - Dr. Ezike monitoring outbreak at county jail with ICE detainees
* Yesterday's stories

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