Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » 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
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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

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Pritzker today talked about tomorrow’s Phase 3 reopening, including this…

We will also be posting recommendations for houses of worship, providing more guidance for houses of worship in phase three. Having received many plans and ideas from responsible faith leaders, IDPH has reviewed many detailed proposals and has provided guidance, not mandatory restrictions for all faith leaders to use in their efforts to ensure the health and safety of their congregants. This includes suggestions on capacity limits, new cleaning protocols indoor gatherings of 10 persons or less a reduction of activities like sharing food, and the safe conduct of outdoor congregating. The safest options remain remote and driving services, but for those that want to conduct in person activities, IDPH is offering best practices.

That’s an interesting development, considering the US Supreme Court now has a case before it.

* Back to Pritzker…

Additionally with phase three, horse racing will be returning to Illinois tracks, boosting the industry in a key season, especially for thoroughbred and harness racing. The Department of Agriculture has worked with the IDPH with the Illinois racing board and industry leaders to develop guidelines for racing, allowing those whose livelihoods depend on these races to get back to work and allowing spectators to watch from home and place wagers online and over the phone.

And while it’s still at least a few weeks off, I want to affirm that the three metrics that have brought us from phase two to phase three will be the same as those that will move us into phase four. Just as this 28 day period of tracking started when we move from phase one to phase two on May 1, our next health metrics calendar will restart tomorrow and run for the same period, meaning that regions that meet the metrics could move into phase four possibly as early as Friday, June 26. That’s the earliest possible date and we will be watching the metrics closely in hopes that we will move forward expeditiously, but our goal is and always has been to keep people safe from this coronavirus while we restore more of our normal activities.

So it’s important that we remain careful about continuing to wear face coverings washing hands, maintain six feet of distance, wiping down surfaces using hand sanitizer and other mitigations. Let’s not move backward, but instead, let’s move forward together.

Please remember to pardon all transcription errors.

* Nursing homes…

Some long term care facilities opt out of the free assistance of IDPH response teams, sometimes because they choose to take their own specimens using IDPH swabs, or because they choose to work with their county or city health department instead. Others work with their local hospitals and health centers to source and conduct tests.

To date, we’ve sent about 45,000 test kits out in 200 shipments, up from 18,000 swabs to 68 facilities back in late April. Still others have declined the free visits, and even the free testing supplies from IDPH entirely.

As I’ve explained, these are largely private entities. And even as we work to ramp up regular testing of all our long term care residents and staff, my administration has received some pushback from owners and industry representatives, making it difficult to secure compliance across the board. […]

(L)ong term care residents are some of our most vulnerable Illinoisans. That’s why strong compliance from many isn’t good enough to counteract any heel dragging at any privately held nursing homes.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is today filing a rule requiring each facility to develop its own individualized testing plan and document an established relationship with a testing lab, whether it’s a commercial lab, a local hospital lab or our state labs. This new rule will require nursing homes to conduct testing, when experiencing an outbreak, when an outbreak is suspected. Periodic testing even when there is no sign of an outbreak in line with new federal guidance issued this week, or when directed by IDPH or their local health department to do testing. The rule also mandates compliance with infection control recommendations, at large test results should be used to identify asymptomatic cases to confirm infection in symptomatic cases to re evaluate quality indicators to follow up on infection control programs, and to support decision making.

To be clear, this rule doesn’t deviate from our existing priorities. But it gives IDPH, a regulatory agency, additional teeth in securing buy-in from these private entities administrators who declined to provide a testing plan will be found in violation of the rule. The challenge of protecting elderly Illinoisans who live in congregate settings, many of whom have underlying conditions is evident in the heartbreaking percentage of illness and death that have been seen nationally in LTC facilities. COVID-19 is unrelenting. And it has visited its worst effects on older Americans. But our state will continue to use every resource at our disposal, and the collective medical experience from across the nation to protect our seniors throughout this crisis.

In response to a question, the governor said violations would typically be a fine, but could involve licensure issues.

* Will you file another IDPH rule like the one you withdrew under pressure from JCAR?…

We’re continuing to look at that, but I will say that what we’ve been left with because of the inaction by the legislature is the removal of licenses, which is something we didn’t want to have to pursue.

* So as of right now if they don’t follow they could have their licenses revoked…

They could

* Is there any sort of metric of nursing home residents that have died of unrelated unrelated to COVID maybe from other illnesses that kind of were exacerbated by maybe lack of visitors or something like that?…

Dr. Ezike: When you’re dealing with this population that obviously has the major risk factor of being elderly and has the additional risk factors of having multiple comorbidities. It’s really hard. I don’t think there are any individuals in that group that don’t have 123 multiple of those high risk factors so I think all of those fatalities as unfortunate as they are would absolutely be COVID deaths. In terms of someone die of a broken heart. I don’t know how to assess that so I don’t really think there’s a metric that I could give that could really get to that. I just mean it’s being counted as it’s a separate subset of people who have died in nursing homes during this time of unrelated illnesses. I don’t think there are any that would satisfy that criteria where they had no other medical problem that they were completely healthy, and that, you know, this infection was just a coincidence and that there was not something related to the COVID I think all every one of these deaths had a direct tie to the COVID infection and that spurred on again, they had other conditions definitely but this COVID absolutely had some kind of contributory role.

* A Chicago Church has asked the Supreme Court to overrule your stay at home order, do you have any concerns about this action or the fact that churches continue to hold services with millionaires like Willie Wilson paying their fines?…

Well, multiple federal judges have reviewed and upheld the approach that we’ve taken with our executive orders with regard to houses of worship. So you know these courts have recognized that there’s a public health crisis that’s ongoing, and the need to take steps to protect public health, as we have, including as related to religious services I think we all are aware of circumstances in which there have been infections that have been spread during religious services that were held with many people packed together, the attorney general’s office will be filing a response as required in the case that you’re referencing.

* How will you protect and provide relief to workers who don’t feel safe returning to work next week in phase three?…

Well the first thing we’re doing is imploring and providing guidance to employers that the employees should look at to all of that is available again on our DCEO website and employees that find that employers are not following that guidance should report that their employers are not following it. And of course that should be reported either to the Attorney General’s workplace enforcement office or the Department of Labor, both of which had the ability to enforce it.

* For employees who just might not feel safe going to an office yet next week. What do you advise those? I know you said private businesses should use their discretion…

Private businesses need to use their discretion in fact, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable people who have pre-existing conditions employee should make those, you know, to the extent they are able to make those known to their employers so that their forbearance can be given to them for that. But you know it obviously what we’re looking for here is a common decency. That should come from employers, and then of course we’ll rely on enforcement wherever we need to.

* Some other states including somewhat Democratic governors are making deep budget cuts rather than counting on federal help. Why are you plotting a different course? Are you prepared to make more cuts in this budget if the only help you get is Federal Reserve loans that have to be repaid?…

So, you know, as I’ve said all along this is not a time for governments state governments particularly to be cutting services, especially a government like ours where agencies have been hollowed out over a number of years. As you saw, I’ve attempted heartily to try to build back up some of those agencies, but I’ve known and I think everybody else is known, it would be a multi year process to do that because it took many years to slash and burn those agencies. So, look I also recognize that if the federal government does not step up to the plate. Then we’re going to have massive cuts. Everybody understands that we will have to revisit this right, but the legislature will meet for sure in November for a veto session, and perhaps some time in between, and we’ll be evaluating whether or not the federal government did do what I think everybody hopes and expects that they will do. Again, we’re not in a unique position, and what other states have done, certainly is. Some states have put forward cuts that they might put into place. If they’re unable to get support from the federal government, what we’ve said is look we’ll be working very hard to do that. But our sincere hope is that making cuts now would be so bad for working families and for people who’ve been out of work now as a result of COVID-19 that what we’d like to do is maintain state government as it is. Again, still hollowed out to some degree, as it has been over the years and. And then we’ll manage through as the next month or so reveals whether the federal government will step up.

* The Restore Illinois website today says the central region is not meeting one specific metric for phase three reopening, which is the hospital admission change. Is that one metric alone enough to delay moving to a new phase does the state have flexibility in determining how to use those metrics?…

Actually the updated numbers from today’s numbers when those got added in I think in the last hour, you’ll find that as it happens, central region is now meeting all those requirements. But even if it had been the number from yesterday, it’s very, again that the idea here is stable, and you know when you talk about 2%, that’s stable.

* With the start of phase three coming tomorrow, how long will it take to gauge whether loosen restrictions lead to any increase in infections hospitalizations or deaths. How is IDPH prepared to respond if that occurs?…

Once again, the whole purpose of each phase and the reason there’s a 28 day period involved in each phase is to monitor when you make the changes. Yes, we all have to watch in one day, two days seven days even 14 days isn’t enough. We see that in other states it sometimes takes three weeks even more before you really start to see the effects of an opening up. So that’s why we have a 28 day period for each phase and a monitoring period of 14 days or seven days depending on which metric you’re looking at.

It’s possible that if we have a surge a spike, and we need to quell that spike, we might potentially have to move backwards in the phases. That’s not something any of us wants to do, but certainly wouldn’t allow a region of the state to move forward, if it wasn’t meeting the metrics.

* Could restrictions be loosened in between that next phase just as the restaurants and bars you offered up last week?…

That’s not our intention, but it always is true that more information becomes known and it allows us perhaps to make adjustments, and as we learned for example about outdoor dining, you know that if you maintain the social distance, and again this is from experience, also the advice of epidemiologists that as we’ve learned more, I’ve always said that we can change the playbook as we go. But it’s not our intention and when we think that the science is pretty good. That’s dictated where we have gotten to and where we’re going. And I would remind everybody that Illinois was just named as the only state in the United States that was meeting the guidelines that were set by the Federal plan for reopening that was put together by Dr. Fauci and presented as the federal government’s plan.

* Do you plan on eating outside at a restaurant this weekend, why or why not. And once again, are you going to be cutting your hair and going to a barber shop?…

You can tell I need to have my hair cut, that’s for sure. I don’t have any plans to dine outside over the weekend, although I did, my wife’s birthday was this last week and we have a little patio in our house so we did dine outside just our family together. I’m gonna get my hair cut at some point. I just, I don’t have an appointment yet and I understand that appointments are hard to come by at this point, so I’ll get to it as fast as I can.

* Is Friday going to be the last of the daily press conferences and are we moving to weekly next week?…

I don’t think we’ve made any decisions about that. I mean, our intention is to make sure that you are regularly updated and as you’ve seen I’ve been here every day. I think we’ve made one adjustment. And that was to allow all of you and all of my staff to have weekend days off, but we’re still providing the information that you’re seeking over the weekend. And again, we’ll always have press conferences when there’s a need to make sure that we get information out but right now the plan is to continue as we are.

* Today five churches in Lake County filed a lawsuit against your administration. [garbled] Christian Assembly of God says they run a food pantry out there, which gets state funding, 30 volunteers feeding 1200 people a week, but they can’t have more than 10 people on Sunday for phase three. How do you respond to that discrepancy which they say, just frankly is not fair to them?…

Well as regards of food pantry you know I was in East St. Louis yesterday at a food pantry and like many nonprofit organizations they’ve had to make adjustments in order to keep their patrons safe you know to keep the people who use the food pantry safe. I know that lots of organizations have made those adjustments, it isn’t. Nothing is directed here at at a religious organization that happens to have a food pantry it’s really the idea here for everybody for everything and food pantry specifically is just to make sure that those who get served are served in a safe environment so you know we provide guidelines for different kinds of food service, and organizations, you know in grocery stores and so on. So I think those would apply here too.

I’m sorry maybe the pastor is saying they have 30 people in working the food pantry. If they can have 30 people to work a food pantry, you’re going to find so they can only have 10 people in a service. Yeah, and the discrepancy there has frustrated the pastor…

Well, again, we have guidelines that are now available for the afternoon on the or will be this afternoon on the dceo website. And those are our best recommendations. We’re not providing restrictions. We’re simply providing the best recommendations that we can for keeping people safe. So we hope that the pastor will follow that guidance and those recommendations for his services his or her services

But if there’s no restrictions then you’re not going to be asking for any law enforcement?…

As you know, I have never encouraged any police enforcement or any other kind of breaking up of gatherings. What I have said is that pastors should use their judgment and the science and data, and should follow the recommendations that have been made, but I realized that some have ignored that.

* A couple of questions on IDES, Republicans, held a news conference today calling for an audit, the Auditor General to audit, what went wrong, your response to that?…

Well I think I’ve been very transparent about what the challenges have been and, indeed, if you look at virtually every state in the United States, you can look in the Midwest, Michigan and Missouri and Indiana and Wisconsin. I mean all have had the same challenges. T their challenges of staffing their challenges of the systems that were put in place. Nobody expected to have 10 or 20 times the number of filings that have been made, as have been made over the last two months. And again, we’ve been trying to build that ship and float that boat at the same time. And we’re doing the best we came in 1.2 million applications have been filed and. And those filings have gone through so there are people who remain there’s some people that need arbitrations there’s some people who have challenges because they put something wrong into the system they need to take out of the system. And you can’t make easy alterations once you’ve applied, you may have changed your name for some reason from the last time that you were receiving unemployment to this time. And so those are some specific circumstances that people have to talk to somebody about or use the chat bot that exists online.

You throw an audit though I mean is that a political move by there, I think, I mean I look I, of course that’s the right of anybody but I will just say that we’ve been very transparent about what the challenges are. If their goal is to figure out what didn’t work right. I have stood here, I don’t know how many times over the last two plus months and told people what hasn’t worked right and how we’ve been trying to address it. And again we brought in some of the biggest, most robust companies in America, to help us rebuild those systems, so that we could on the fly, make sure that we’re meeting the needs of people across Illinois, but there’s no doubt about it like many other states. Some people have. It has taken longer to file and get claims delivered upon than any of us would like

* What might reopening schools look like, what do you tell juniors who are going to enter the senior year and Greg Bishop wanted to know, how do you ensure parents that their kids are going to get a quality education?…

I have a junior in my own home and so this is a relevant question to to those of us who have a junior.

It’s unfortunate that we can’t see that far into the future with this virus. What we are trying to do is to set the foundation for any outcome. My hope and desire is for us to be to have all of our kids back in school in the fall and I know some schools have already chosen across the nation. Some states have chosen to do that, some are in the position that we are still considering you know whether it is safe for our kids. But the most important thing is the kids and the people who work with the teachers and the administrators and the paraprofessionals, we have to keep all of them safe and so to make sure that we have the right conditions for that is what we’re looking to do.

* A study by the University of Chicago [garbled] found that uninsured and undocumented residents are most likely to be in need of COVID-19 testing and yet there’s still a lag in testing in areas where they live. What is the state doing to remove testing ability for them, and your message to the undocumented people still fearful to be tested?…

I can’t speak to all undocumented communities, I mean I absolutely agree that we need to make sure that testing is available to everybody. First I would say all testing that we are involved with and I think we have over 260 sites across the state. All that testing is free.

So anybody who needs a test that meets the criteria can go get a test and then those criteria have expanded vastly, to be clear, an undocumented resident of our state has the ability to get a test there’s no citizenship requirement and you’re not required to fill out a form that reveals your citizenship. There may be some federally qualified health centers that have a form with that question on it, you’re not required to fill that out in order to get a test. So that’s one thing and then providing the health care that’s needed by undocumented residents is also something that we are doing in the state, making sure that people have the ability to get cared for if they get COVID-19

* There’s a huge gap in information about the types of workers getting sick with COVID-19 throughout Illinois. As public figures trying to contain the spread of the virus, how is this impacting the state’s ability to track and prevent more of the outbreaks. And does the state plan to do anything about this. Also, why is more information not made public?…

Is this a question about, I’m sorry about the careers of the people who are identified? Sounds like types of workers getting sick, types of workers? And we have a very good idea because we know that some outbreaks are taking place in certain work settings. For example, and you all have heard about, for example pork processing or other meat processing plants is one example.

Dr. Ezike: IDPH is a master collector of information. We have millions of pieces of data that come in to us every day from all different sources. In terms of the actual data regarding people who are being tested and people you know obviously some of those tested will then be positive. Again, whatever is put into our, our databases is what we have. And so I think it is imperative that everyone hears that those forms, whether there’s a form that an individual has to fill out whether it’s a healthcare professional that’s assisting with papers being filled out whether it’s in a doctor’s office, whether it’s in the drive thru sites like everything that’s put in there. And that’s what we have so if people just say I’m just going to write my name, and I’m going to leave off the date of birth or I’m going to leave off the address. Then when we’re trying to figure out who this positive case belongs to. We put it in this bucket that has no address until we’re able to chase down that information and we don’t know if this is belongs to one of the riffs, which of the Restore regions it belongs to or, you know, which county had this positive. So, again, all of that information is essential, the more information, we have, the more information that’s given to us, the more that we have to be able to put out in terms of identifying types of occupation, a location. We do know from some of our outbreak investigations that you know you have a specific location when you’ve gone through the, the contact tracing and the interviewing where you’ve tried to go back and think of all the places, work with the person to identify all the places that they’ve been. And then, you know, you would say maybe oh I went to, you know, I went to the grocery store on this day I went to a place of worship on this day I went to this health club, this place to get you know hair, nails massage. So when we get all that information. And then if you get a cluster of people that in that same timeframe all identify like a specific locale. That’s how we then can put things together like an like an investigator to say, Wow, there were around the same time, we have all these people that frequented this one location, and then you try to hone in, then you try to go to that location find other people who may have been there at the same time. So again, once we get the critical information that allows us to do further investigation to have more and then we have more data fields populated in our database and then we can put out summaries of more more intense information. So again, the data that we get is what we can give out and so we want to implore everybody to be very comprehensive in all the forms they’re filling in that involves individuals that involves local health departments that involves hospital personnel lab personnel everyone to work together so we can have as much data so we can answer all these questions.

Gov. Pritzker: The most important data, though, that we we nearly always get is, of course, how to contact the person with their test results

* Large office buildings, reopened after weeks standing by mostly idle, researchers are worried about the potential for bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease being in the pipes. So what guidance do you have for building managers and for people who are returning to work in those buildings?…

Well there are lots of buildings that you know that are in areas that have had legionnaires or Legionella detected in their pipes. You know, there’s one obviously terrible circumstance in Illinois of the Quincy Veterans Home where there are staff at that home too, so workplace where there’s Legionella. But in terms of dealing with Legionella, I mean this is a problem that the state has dealt with for many years. It’s not like we need new guidance about how to deal with legionnaires or Legionella. So it’s not really a new endeavor.

* Two very important metrics to get the state to phase four, even more widespread testing available to everyone regardless of symptoms and contact tracing on more than 90% of cases. To that end, she has two questions. What’s the next big testing metric? How will the state get there with federal support of the National Guard sites going away. Does the State have a large order of testing supplies or test machines coming in?…

We have, there are many testing machines that exist in the state and of course, as I’ve talked about before, contracting with the existing owners of those, they may be hospitals, they may be doctors or others, or commercial Labs is part of our effort to scale up, obtaining swabs. You’ve heard me say this over and over, how will we scale up. These are all the same things that we’ve been doing. But more and more and more in terms of what our goals are. We need to do many more than we are. I would point out that we’re currently as I’ve said many times we’re among the large states, second highest in terms of per capita testing. We’re the third highest in overall testing among the big states and so we’re gonna you know and again. The goal is to get to a much higher number and you’ve seen us do that. I mean, back when, at the, near early on when I talked about us needing to get to 10,000.

It took us a couple of weeks a few weeks before we were able to get from where we were to that 10,000 number, but we moved pretty quickly from 10,000 to 20,000, we’re averaging out about 23,000, a day but you’ve seen [garbled] hit 27 and 29,000 so you know we’re going to keep ratcheting that up. And the goal here is to make sure that everybody, whether it’s nursing homes at our priority locations gets tested on a regular basis, but also as we are reopening many businesses across the state that the businesses where there are more at risk, individuals that they also have the testing available to them, and then the doctors.

OK, how many people have been hired for contact tracing. How long will it take for them to be trained, will the state have enough people by the time by the end of June to move into phase four. So, just a clarification when we think about the metrics to move into phase four, they are the same metrics that we needed to graduate, if you will, into phase three. So, the information regarding the metrics around contact contact tracing. Those are, I guess, internal goals that we all know that we need to the more contact tracing the more aggressively we can identify cases and identify potential cases and have people stand down before they have the chance to infect others so that’s not what’s going to hold other people back. We’re working aggressively to get that online and to get people hired and to get the curriculum. We have some pilot, local, local health departments that we’re starting with first, and then we’re going to expand. So, we will not have the contact tracers in every part of the state next week, but we will branch out and keep growing until we get the full capacity that we need. But again, that is not going to hold the state back, but we know that that is an important part of the master plan in order to keep our state safe to be able to quickly rapidly identify people who are positive, and be able to identify their context so that they can stand down before they potentially infect someone else.

* An emergency rule filed May 22 suspends the 30 day time frame for an IDPH inspection that arises from a nursing home complaint, except for allegations of abuse and neglect. Why was this rule needed does it apply to inspections by local health officials?…

So at the state level, I think the feds understood that, in the midst of this pandemic that we were going to be focusing on COVID response and trying to address the nursing homes as they are clearly the highest risk setting for the entire state for the whole country for the whole world. And so they wanted us to focus on the COVID response, but of course made that exception for things that would be considered an immediate jeopardy. So for things, essentially it means some offensive so egregious that you could immediately have to suspend a license. So, other things have been put on the back burner. As we progress that that might be loosen but again we’re following the federal, the federal guidelines.

* Governor we’ve heard from people who say they’re not going to return to restaurant or bar jobs but stay on employment until something else comes along. Well, those who make that decision run the risk of losing their unemployment benefits…

Well that’s a decision the federal government would make. There are regulations around that. You know it’s able and available I think is the standard here. That’s not really a decision that will make at the local level.

* Churches gyms theaters, they all seem to think they can operate in a way that’s safe. To what extent are you rethinking one to let them open to more people and customers instead of just 10 people?…

Theaters and gyms you’re throwing those together, well those are a bit different, gyms tend to be smaller. Although I know there are some that are quite large. And we have provided guidance for certain activities at gyms and fitness centers. But theaters, I think there’s a common belief that the experts seem to tell us anyway that it would be difficult for us to open theaters in the near future in phase three.

* How are malls moving forward during phase three and will business in malls operate differently than other businesses?…

Dr. Ezike: So most of the guidance, were thinking of businesses as solitary individual businesses. And so the the rules that applied in terms of capacity. How many people could be in the store how many people per 1000, square feet? So those I think would continue to apply for individual stores.

And then if they happen to be within the context of a law I don’t think the rules change. So I think it’s still the rules that are prescribed in the guidance, I should say, the guidance that is prescribed for individual businesses, whether it’s a personal care facility, the same rules would apply in terms of what services can be done. I think some of the things that might be hard to implement would be some of the recommendations surrounding like extending the hours so that you have lower population density, if you will, in any one establishment at the time. Your ability maybe to flex the hours might be limited by the by the hours of the mall in general, but otherwise I think the individual facilities and businesses follow the same rules that are prescribed on our website.

* Governor there’s been a growing COVID-19 outbreak at the Pulaski County Jail which also serves as an immigration detention center in rural Southern Illinois. Recent reports from ICE state now 29 detainees have tested positive for the virus. This is in a county with multiple challenges in regards to access to health care. In response, there have been calls from advocates and public health professionals for IDPH to inspect detention centers and ensure the health of those who are held by ICE, how do you respond?…

Dr. Ezike: That is a federally run facility but in Pulaski County, the local health department has been involved with that. We have offered consultation. We have reviewed the methods that have been employed surrounding that outbreak. We actually did see that they have taken the appropriate measures to mitigate the outbreak, so we are partnering with our local health department. Obviously anything that happens within our state affects all the residents of the state in terms of the employees that work there and go home every returning to their communities. And so we have been partnering again with the local health department’s. We feel that a lot of the measures and steps in the mitigation strategies that have been employed have been appropriate. And so we continue to follow that outbreak.



  1. - GregN - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    JB should name the LTCF’s that refuse(d) the guidance/help of IDPH.
    I may need one someday and would like to know which should be avoided.

  2. - In 630 - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    GregN- like being able to see restaurant health grades

  3. - GregN - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    Tho a restaurant may sicken me an LTCF could kill me.
    I still agree with you.
    (Also in 630)

  4. - Southern Skeptic - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 4:33 pm:

    I’m confused about the Church thing. I thought it was a requirement. He seems to now be saying it’s just guidance. So does that mean any church can have as big of a gathering as they want?

  5. - First Amdt Lawyer - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 4:39 pm:

    Re: Churches

    ===As you know, I have never encouraged any police enforcement or any other kind of breaking up of gatherings. What I have said is that pastors should use their judgment and the science and data, and should follow the recommendations that have been made, but I realized that some have ignored that.===

    “some have ignored that”

    Law enforcement breaking up meetings, or churches continuing to meet, or both?

  6. - Chambana Librarian - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:28 pm:

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois has guidance for large facilities that are reopening to prevent the spread of Legionella and other bacteria. See

  7. - Responsa - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:32 pm:

    == the pastor is saying they have 30 people working the food pantry. If they can have 30 people to work a food pantry, you’re going to find they can only have 10 people in a service. Yeah, and the discrepancy there has frustrated the pastor==

    There were 2 questions related to this issue. The church issue is not a biggie for me personally, but I have to say the governor’s responses to the questions about an obvious inconsistency involving the same church were very weak.

  8. - Silicon Prairie - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:43 pm:

    It seems it is going to take a while to get contract tracing to 90% to get to Phase 4. I dont see this happening for 5-6 Months. How can the city business survive ? The question was asked today and he basically avoided it saying his plan is in place, which he does a lot. Bars and restaurants in Wicker and Logan are dying every week not to reopen. Lakeview yesterday said unless they are fully open by July 1st 75% of the storefronts are out of business

  9. - Rural stuff - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:51 pm:

    I think the wording regarding churches following “recommendations” is an important change. Is this prep to save face when the rule is overturned? And is there supposed to be a new EO with the phase change? I haven’t been able to find one.

  10. - Jibba - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 6:36 pm:

    “This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,” declared Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen.

    For the first time, I agree with Breen and am disappointed in JB.

  11. - @misterjayem - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 6:56 pm:

    “This is a total and complete victory for people of faith.”

    Any outcome that results in one’s sickness and death is something short of a “total and complete victory,” but do go on Pete.

    – MrJM

  12. - First Amdt Lawyer - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 8:26 pm:

    With respect to changing the restrictions on churches to mere recommendations, he is obviously acting on advice of legal counsel. I think this reflects well on the Governor.

  13. - Jibba - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 8:32 pm:

    With respect, an activity is either risky or not. Risky activities need to continue to be regulated according to best knowledge, whether those industries have legal counsel or not. Backing down to every threat makes the original regulation seem meaningless, so all regulations will be thought of as meaningless.

  14. - Cadillac - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 9:47 pm:

    === - @misterjayem - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 6:56 pm:

    Any outcome that results in one’s sickness and death is something short of a “total and complete victory,” but do go on Pete.

    – MrJM

    Are you you OK with going from Phase 2 to Phase 3 tomorrow, knowing it will cause more sickness and death?

  15. - tully monster - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:46 pm:

    My church isn’t opening until–maybe–Phase 4. I mean really, people. Jesus wants you for a sunbeam, not the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse.

  16. - @misterjayem - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:26 am:

    “Are you you OK with going from Phase 2 to Phase 3 tomorrow, knowing it will cause more sickness and death?”

    I wouldn’t characterize it as a “total and complete victory” for the state or its citizens, as the governor’s plan acknowledges by having subsequent phases.

    – MrJM

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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