Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Governor says he hasn’t seen party video, but urges people to stay at home - Talks about enforcement powers - Says courts need to address the question of his EO powers - McCormick Place staff being redeployed - Repeats that dentists can be open - Hasn’t watched Jordan documentary - Has not spoken with Missouri governor about Metro East - Looking at cuts or changes to budget - Defends Dr. Birx, praises Dr. Fauci - Wants to know if Illinois Republicans agree with Haley about Illinois undeserving of federal help - Stumped on question about anything reporters have missed - Talks about how gyms can reopen - Rockford a hotspot - Teachers should prepare for both e-learning and in-person learning this fall - Says some IDPH public guidance on testing is wrong
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Governor says he hasn’t seen party video, but urges people to stay at home - Talks about enforcement powers - Says courts need to address the question of his EO powers - McCormick Place staff being redeployed - Repeats that dentists can be open - Hasn’t watched Jordan documentary - Has not spoken with Missouri governor about Metro East - Looking at cuts or changes to budget - Defends Dr. Birx, praises Dr. Fauci - Wants to know if Illinois Republicans agree with Haley about Illinois undeserving of federal help - Stumped on question about anything reporters have missed - Talks about how gyms can reopen - Rockford a hotspot - Teachers should prepare for both e-learning and in-person learning this fall - Says some IDPH public guidance on testing is wrong

Sunday, Apr 26, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The governor is alone at his media briefing today. He outlined new cases, deaths and hospitalizations, which you can click here to read more about.

And then he went on to questions. Make sure to pardon all transcription errors.

* Have you seen the video circulating on social media showing a large party, apparently here in Chicago, people are standing shoulder to shoulder listening to music. Granted, some are wearing masks, but most are violating social distancing guidelines. Have you seen that video?…

I have not seen the video, though I did hear about it.

What is your reaction to that people violating these social distancing guidelines and having large gatherings?

Well first I want to remind everyone that by doing that, by standing together, not social distancing, many people not wearing masks, you’re literally putting everyone around you in danger. They are putting you in danger. And very importantly, all of those people are putting their families and their friends who are not there with them in danger because COVID-19 works like this. First, you are asymptomatic. You are a carrier. And you might feel just fine. And you’ll go home. You’ll feel fine, and you might give it to people at home. You’ll see your friends, you feel fine, you give it to one of your friends or more. And then you are a spreader of COVID-19.

The whole purpose of social distancing, wearing masks or staying at home, in fact, is that we don’t want to spread this to our loved ones or to others in the community. So I would suggest that all of those people have violated, not only the intention of the order that we’ve put out, but also they violated the trust of their friends and family.

* Are you concerned as this order stays in place for the next several weeks, people are going to be tired of following these guidelines and more people are going to be violating them, going outside, not observing social distancing having large gatherings? Do you have a plan in place, just in case, that becomes a bigger problem?…

We have the ability to enforce these things. We’ve chosen to allow people to self enforce, to do the right thing. We obviously have asked the police and other law enforcement to remind people when they see them, when they’re not following social, the new social distancing norms and not wearing a mask that they need to do those things. And then finally the police do have the ability to ultimately to enforce that with people.

And that’s not just with the ability to remind them but if they refuse and if they repeatedly refuse, there is the ability by the police officers to charge them with reckless conduct and take them into custody. Though, again, we have discouraged police from doing that because we believe that people will in general follow the rules. But if you’re putting the community in danger, as a party like that does that should be broken up.

* Center Square: With a hearing on state Representative Darren Bailey’s challenge of your authority Monday, and the possibility that other cases challenging your authority could percolate, how quickly should the state Supreme Court take up the challenge, shouldn’t they take the case quickly if this is about public health?…

I think that the courts need to follow through on this. The obvious answer to this, frankly, is that the governor has the authority to issue a disaster proclamation and to put in place executive orders that are all about saving lives.

We’ve done that for many years in this state when there have been floods or other disasters that sometimes those floods and the disaster, that’s attended with the floods, have lasted for multiple months. And we’ve extended those orders around, and this is worse than that and obviously has threatened the lives of 12.7 million people in the state.

* With the scaling back at McCormick Place, what is going to happen with the nurses and staff hired for the 2000 beds?…

We’re actually redeploying many of the people that were hired for the extra beds, the ones that we’re not going to build out, redeploying those personnel to other areas of need, including needs around nursing homes and other facilities that we have across the state, where because of sickness there may be a reduction of staffing.

* We have two questions from Amy Jacobson with WIND radio, a follow up from her question yesterday, dentists around Chicago are extremely confused after your comments yesterday. They’ve all been waiting for your green light to open. You said they closed down on their own. Can you clarify that please and can they get back to work for more than just emergencies?…

They can. I said that yesterday, I’m happy to reiterate it today.

* Have you been watching the Michael Jordan Bulls documentary on ESPN, if so, what do you think of it so far and are you looking forward to episodes three and four tonight? [59 people died yesterday and this is the question?]…

I desperately want to watch this I have not gotten around to it, I have to admit I’ve been a little busy

* Have you spoken with [Missouri] Governor Parson about plans for Metro St Louis and how the two states might work together in that region?…

I have not. I know that he’s gone in a different direction than we have. We obviously have challenges, you know on our side of the border. It’s likely because of the differences between the two states’ orders, that there’s been more of a hotspot on our side but it’s unclear about that. What I do know is that we’re coordinating, the county health officials there are coordinating across the boundaries.

* Three top [budget] areas that need to get addressed?…

Revenue has been a real challenge. And we’re looking for help from the federal government, I’ve talked about that frequently. These are you know revenues that were lost as a result of coronavirus, because the budget that we had proposed originally was a balanced budget based upon the revenues that were projected to exist in the absence of coronavirus before we knew it was among us.

So revenue certainly is a challenge. You know, three things to cover I’m not sure I’d say there are three. I do think that, you know, we’re looking at all the areas in which there may be need to make cuts or changes to our state budget in order to make a balanced. This is a extraordinary undertaking. And so we’ll be coming out with guidance about that as we work together with the legislature, which we’re doing now, in order to put together a budget for by the way of adjusted budget adjusted situation for 2020, as well as the new budget for 2021.

* Today Dr. Deborah Birx did network interviews since the President mused about disinfectant or light injections as possible covert treatment. She hasn’t disavowed his statement. Do you maintain faith in her as coronavirus taskforce coordinator?…

She’s highly educated and certainly I think seems to have very good intentions. So I think I have faith in her. I must say that I personally, I think Dr. Fauci has been a very reliable source of information. I have spoken with him directly one on one, a couple of times already and I rely on the guidance that I hear from him, I rely on you know what the task force, or at least I listen to what the task force puts out. And then CDC is still an excellent organization and has excellent intentions, seems to be non political, although they’ve had political clamp down upon them with regard to their interactions with the media, which is disappointing. But those are at least at the federal level folks that I would rely upon. I was glad to see, I think we all saw some of the facial expressions that Dr Birx made during the comments by the President and I think that’s some indication of what her real feelings are.

* Do you have any reaction to yesterday’s tweet from former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley about Illinois not deserving federal relief because of the state’s reckless spending, including on pensions?…

I want to know if members of the Republican Party in Illinois agree with her that Illinois doesn’t deserve to get any federal help. That’s what I want to know.

* Governor Pritzker answers many questions from reporters daily and I’m wondering if there’s something we have not asked about that he would like to add highlight the importance of or dispel, in the case of rumors or incorrect information being circulated?…

Oh gosh I didn’t come with an entire list of all the rumors and speculation, to address. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I try to be as transparent and as I can be and answer every question that I’m posed. I stand up here every day, you know, probably for too long but you all ask questions and I answer as many or even all of them actually every day.

* How can gyms and fitness centers be prepared to reopen safely when the restrictions are lifted?…

I think it will be obviously very strenuous. I mean I can’t tell you exactly because I’m not in that business, I don’t understand exactly how all that works. I certainly have been to a gym on occasion. And I can say that you would have to have some, a lot of staff, frankly, to wipe down everything on a constant basis to make it sanitary for people. And I know that’s extremely difficult, I mean equipment gets dirty with people’s, you know, with fluids that come from people and I think it would be just an extraordinary undertaking, but it is necessary. If we were to reopen those and at some point we will, we would need to make sure that people are safe, people who work there as well as people who are using the equipment.

* The Rockford area has seen Rochelle foods and other large facilities close or announced numerous cases of COVID-19. Are you treating these areas as hotspots, what is being done to stop the spread of COVID-19 there?…

We certainly are treating Rockford, is you know, if you look at the map Rockford has quite a number of cases, Winnebago County has quite a number of cases. And so you know whether you call something a hotspot or not is kind of irrelevant to the question. Is that an area you’re focusing attention on? And the answer is of course we are. It concerns me when there’s an outbreak in one facility, as well as in an entire community. So, we of course are advising keeping in close contact with the County Public Health Department as well as the elected leadership in the area.

And we’re paying close attention obviously to the food supply and the supply chain for food, to make sure that it continues and that it’s safe.

* How should teachers and administrators use their time this summer with regard to preparing for the fall, ramping up e-learning, in person learning, both?…

I would prepare for both because it is still unclear what things will look like over the summer, in the fall. But without knowing the answer, e-learning is an important thing for us to develop either way, and I think we’ve seen that in this short period of time that we’ve been in this COVID crisis, really about two months. […]

What we’ve learned in that short period of time is that many many schools are not ready for e-learning, but should be. And so the state actually has funds available to help school districts to work with school districts to help spin up e-learning. I would encourage administration’s and teachers to work very hard on making sure that’s available just in case and also because I think that in the future we’ll be using e-learning more and more, even in the absence of a pandemic, along with in person learning.

Otter apparently conked out at one point and I missed a couple of questions, including one from Hannah Meisel. I’ll try to backtrack in a bit. Sorry!

…Adding… Hannah’s question: Governor, there has been conflicting guidance from you and IDPH on who can get a test. You said that now everyone who has COVID-19-like symptoms can go get a test, but guidance put out on IDPH’s Facebook page and other places says you must also have a compromised immune system, comorbidity or known contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19. Which is it? [More info here.]…

It’s the former.

But I also want to add that in addition to having people who have COVID-19 symptoms get tested. we also have the ability for first responders in any condition to get tested. We want to make sure that they have that opportunity wherever they may be and we’ve expanded as you know across the state places where both of those types of folks can go get a test.



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