Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker says all regions will advance to Phase 4 tomorrow - Cass County in warning zone - Pritzker speaks of friend he lost to virus - Talks about what could happen if cases spike again - Cass County spike is meat-packing plant - Warns young people - Will extend evictions moratorium, but open to talks - “We’re taking this as it comes” - Will maintain federal sites with federal money already received - Will not delay minimum wage hike - Implies Lightfoot is defying Phase 4 crowd regulations - Reiterates support for police reforms - Commends Gaming Board - Calls virus numbers “stable” - Says he is trusting Illinoisans to make smart decisions - Warns going backward would be “terrible for business” - Dodges question about why IDES director doesn’t speak at briefings - Didn’t need GAO report to know he was right about PPE mess
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Pritzker says all regions will advance to Phase 4 tomorrow - Cass County in warning zone - Pritzker speaks of friend he lost to virus - Talks about what could happen if cases spike again - Cass County spike is meat-packing plant - Warns young people - Will extend evictions moratorium, but open to talks - “We’re taking this as it comes” - Will maintain federal sites with federal money already received - Will not delay minimum wage hike - Implies Lightfoot is defying Phase 4 crowd regulations - Reiterates support for police reforms - Commends Gaming Board - Calls virus numbers “stable” - Says he is trusting Illinoisans to make smart decisions - Warns going backward would be “terrible for business” - Dodges question about why IDES director doesn’t speak at briefings - Didn’t need GAO report to know he was right about PPE mess

Thursday, Jun 25, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* No surprise, but here’s the press release…

Today, Governor JB Pritzker announced that every region of the state meets the health benchmarks to advance into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Ahead of the transition tomorrow, Gov. Pritzker announced several new efforts to build on the state’s robust response to COVID-19 and help keep Illinoisans safe.

“We’ve seen what’s happened in other states that have allowed politics or short-term thinking to drive decision-making. Many other states are now seeing significant increases in cases, hospitalizations, and intensive care bed usage and they’re being forced to move backward and stay at home – that’s not the story in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Here, we have been gradually restoring business and leisure activities in a highly deliberate manner, guided by doctors’ advice. Illinoisans are following the mitigations that we can each do ourselves, like wearing face coverings, keeping 6 feet distance between us, and washing our hands frequently. It’s because of the people of Illinois that we’re seeing a trajectory of relative success where other parts of the country are not.”


All four Restore Illinois health regions have met the IDPH health benchmarks to advance into Phase 4. Metrics include reductions of positivity rate and hospital admissions and availability of hospital surge capacity.

On a statewide level, Illinois flattened the curve, passed the peak and saw a sustained decline in key metrics since the coronavirus pandemic began. Looking at 7-day rolling averages – which smooth out daily fluctuations and allow trends to emerge – Illinois is seeing marked declines in cases, deaths, case positivity and covid-related hospitalizations.

This post will be updated with some of the Q&A with the governor and Dr. Ezike. Please make sure to pardon all transcription errors when that happens. Thanks.

…Adding… The state has some new county metrics. If you click here, you’ll see a color-coded county map of the state

Blue indicates that the county is experiencing overall stable COVID-19 metrics.

Orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.

Illinois has just one orange county right now, Cass County in west-central Illinois. It has a positivity rate of 10.8 percent.

* On to questions for the governor: Governor you mentioned during this that you lost a family friend or a relative or someone close to you. Can you elaborate on that?…

Yeah. Someone that I’ve known for more than 25 years was a leader in our community when I used to live in Evanston, and he was a real leader in Evanston, somebody who cared deeply about young people, in particular those who had gotten in trouble and he wanted to help them reform their lives as he had himself. A man named Hecky Powell. I grieve for his family and I, when his life had been lost I honestly, I had to call people that we all know that are friends with him, too, and share the grief that I’ve had over that loss. And you know I know many others who are suffering have suffered over the time of COVID-19 with the virus, including our attorney general, that we all know is recovering at home. And so I hope we’ll pray for him and for everybody who’s suffering now.

* You mentioned that you would not be afraid to take a step back. Could that include a stay at home order? I know California’s talking about that as a possibility…

Everything that we’ve gone through over the last three and a half months has led us to this point where things are going well and in the right direction and it allows us to gradually open our economy and to do more have more activity and so on. But I’m not afraid to move us backward to the things that we’ve done in the past I you know you can each one of these phases has aspects of it that we may need to return to. I’ll just give one example you just heard that in Texas that they’ve issued an order to eliminate elective surgeries in Texas because they no longer have enough hospital beds. We allowed elective surgeries more than a month ago back in early May, and if we have trouble with hospital beds with the ICU beds, that might be something that we would need to do that’s one example.

* In the country we’ve seen some spikes in cases among young people. Are we seeing any of that in our new cases that have been reported in the past couple of weeks?…

I will say that we’ve seen numbers of young people contract, COVID-19 and indeed very recently there was an accounting of the cases in in Cass County. And I looked at the specific numbers by age bracket, and there are quite a number of people in their 20s, who had contracted COVID-19 and so I immediately called Dr Ezike after I read this article and saw this graph and, and she explained that much of that had to do with an outbreak at a meat processing plant in that area. But that can happen anywhere. I mean it isn’t just meat processing can happen in any office environment in any manufacturing environment. It could happen anywhere and, you know, in many of the places people work there, young people working there. So, it’s a challenge that we are paying very close attention to I know everybody focuses on seniors because it’s had such a devastating effect on people who are over at over 70, and so on. But we can’t forget that many people who are younger than that contract. And sometimes die from COVID-19.

* With some of the executive orders are going to be filing tomorrow would that also include a moratorium on the evictions, would that be extended?…

We’re continuing the course that we’ve been on there are people that are that are very very challenged in these moments from with, you know, paying their rent, as we’re recovering the economy. You know we don’t we want to make sure people are not thrown out of their homes becoming homeless for something that is, you know, that everybody is suffering from. And we’re trying to balance the interests of the people who own those properties with the people who rent from those properties by giving rent assistance for example and quite a lot of rent assistance, we just recently allocated through our COVID-19 relief funds. Those effect, Carlos was mentioning, you know, those are going to be distributed through many organizations throughout the state.

* What’s your reaction to the lawsuit filed by landlords that seek to stop your ban on residential evictions on grounds including that another executive order doing so exceeds your authority?…

I’d just respond with the answer I just gave. It’s important for us to stand up for people who are working class people who cannot otherwise afford to maintain their home we do not want people to become homeless in this difficult crisis.

* Would you be open to carving out exceptions versus a blanket ban for example a ban only on evictions related to renters who cannot pay directly due to COVID-19?…

We could have lots of conversation about different ways in which to preserve people’s homes to preserve the shelter that they live in now and I’m obviously open to conversations like that I always have been. And all the way along I’ve been having conversations. Even with people on the other side of the aisle who deny that those conversations take place. And I’m somebody who’s always looking for a better way to do things. So I would listen to ideas, but suffice to say that my number one focus here is we’ve got to protect the people who are most vulnerable to this virus and most vulnerable to the financial impact of this virus.

* You’ve said if Illinois sees a backsliding in coronavirus data, moving backward through phases is a possibility. But what specific benchmarks will you use to determine whether that’s necessary and to seeing the spiking case and hospitalization numbers in other states that reopened earlier give you pause about Illinois moving into phase four now?…

Well, let me start with the latter part of that question, which is, of course, when I look at states that are moving backward and at such a rapid pace, I always think, are we doing it right, are we handling this right are we measured in our reopening? And I think we are measured in this reopening we’re being careful. So, you know, yes of course I mean, you can turn on the television and see what’s happening in Arizona Florida, Texas, South Carolina, etc. and not ask the question. Are we getting it right?

Sorry, the first part of the question was just, it was benchmark that we’re looking forward to. We’re in the Restore Illinois plan, you can look online we actually do say what what would be the things that would move you backward. Those are examples. But I told you that that we can make adjustments along the way. We start to see hospitalizations go up and are unmanageable. We would cut back on elective surgeries that’s one example of a change that we could make. But, we’re taking this as it comes. We’re watching very carefully the metrics that we’ve been watching all along to move us forward in our phases are the very same metrics that we’re watching about whether or not we need to think about moving backward.

* On the two federal sites have lost the funding yesterday, how will the state be paying for those to stay open?…

We’re going to maintain those sites and you know there has been COVID relief dollars provided by the Federal CARES Act. And so we’ll be using some of those dollars to maintain those sites we obviously can’t use federal personnel anymore. Once those sites are the at least the federal government pulls out of those sites, we’ll be using state contracted providers to manage those sites but it’s very important to us to maintain sites and to grow the number of sites where we’re providing testing especially free testing.

* A study came out today saying that food service jobs are down over 40% due to the strictness of the reopening plan speaking with restaurants in Central Illinois, they say it is hard to hire back for a couple of reasons. One of them being the minimum wage rising on July 1. Has there been any thought of trying to suspend that pay raise to a later date?…


We have a lot of challenges in the state, but one of them is people living in poverty and working at the very low minimum wage that we’ve had. We are working very hard to help our businesses get restarted to open up more you’ve seen me work at this every day we’ve provided relief funds for small businesses across the state. And we’re going to continue to do that but it’s not to the detriment of the people who are working class people in our state it’s to the benefit of them.

* Is Chicago defying the state’s rules by allowing gatherings up to 100 people outside? Have you talked to Mayor Lightfoot about this?…

She has not called me about this. It’s very clear our state has set guidelines and every municipality has the obligation to follow the guidelines, or they can put in guidelines that are more strict than the ones that we’ve set out, but not less strict. So I think that’s known by the city and understood by really all municipalities across the state.

* Amid protests over police brutality and gun violence in Chicago, do you think the city needs police reforms? I know you’ve talked about police reform efforts, but she’s talking about the city specifically…

Yes, I mean I would direct this across the state, but if you’re asking specifically about the city of Chicago, of course we need police reforms, because any question about that… I have stood together with people to protest over that very issue. We have, to address police accountability, we have to address criminal justice reform, something I’ve been working on since day one of my administration and that I worked very closely with the Lieutenant Governor on. And then of course we’ve got to work on investing in our black and brown communities all across the state and that’s something I’ve been doing since day one as well although more recently we’ve been through the federal CARES act, we’ve been able to provide COVID-19 dollars to many of those communities because, unfortunately, in addition to the racial injustice that’s been experienced for hundreds of years in this country by those communities. It’s also being experienced specifically by those communities from COVID-19, which happens to attack Latino communities and Black communities to a larger extent than other communities across the state.

* Gaming reopening…

I’m not an expert about how many times you need to wipe down a video terminal to make it safe, that’s one example of some detail that needs to be handled by people who understand the industry. The gaming board is doing a very good job I think of taking those things into consideration, most especially what we want to make sure is that people are safe when they go back to any activity entertainment or otherwise, but I would caution that we want to be, we’re like other activities we’re trying to do these things in measures, with lots of health and safety guidance, and that what’s the number one driving factor is people should not get sick of doing those activities.

* So we were at 2% positivity rate for three days this week now we’re going back up to 3%. Do we read into that do we need to wait a few more days to see if that goes up?…

…I think you need to wait to really make an evaluation. Here’s why we don’t really look at these on a day to day basis. I know we report them on a daily basis, but the way we look at them the way the IDPH looks at it is really on a seven day rolling average on an ongoing basis. What’s directionally, where are we going, is it stable is it downward is it upward. And also sometimes these get reported as whole numbers, 2% 3% but actually underneath that it’s 2.4% or 2.6%. And if you’re around those, one of them is two and one of them is three. So again, we’re watching closely these numbers but I wouldn’t read anything into the current numbers.

Obviously every day I watch the numbers and I think,are we going the right direction? And I’m rooting for it to go the right direction and we’re making policies that we hope will move it in the right direction. So, I’m,we’re watching. I would wait to make a judgment about whether there’s some direction here that it’s going to right now I would call it stable.

* Three months in with continued restrictions and COVID-19 awareness, why not trust Illinois residents and businesses to make smart decisions about how they conduct themselves?…

Indeed, we are. We’ve set parameters and guidance. We’ve provided people with guidelines at the IDPH and DCEO websites and told them what the limits are. But we are expecting businesses to have to be responsible during this time period they do need to encourage people to wear face coverings when they’re indoors. They do need to encourage people to wash their hands and so on. There are lots of things responsibilities that businesses as you know citizens corporate citizens of the state of Illinois must do and we’re absolutely relying upon them to do that. So, and many have been very very responsible I might add, there are some scofflaws that that have just, you know, throwing caution to the wind, and unfortunately made it much riskier for people.

But the fact is that you’ve seen that it would be terrible for business, I think this is the implication of the question that somehow this is worse for business to do it in a measured fashion. But what’s much worse is going backward after you’ve gone forward. That’s hard. Think about a stay at home order that was put in place, things then open up and then another stay at home order. If you’re a business owner, if you talk about killing a business that is what will do it and unfortunately we’re seeing that in some other states.

* Why is the acting director with the Illinois Department of Employment Security not available to take questions at these briefings?…

He’s answered a lot of questions to legislators, for example. But the fact is, I’ve answered many of the questions that have been asked about IDES and certainly ultimately the responsibility for our agencies falls to me. I’ve also talked here about the Department of Human Services and the work that they do and the and the Department of Children Family Services the work that they do. So, we’re working very hard at making available to everybody all the data that we have about the work that we’re doing to make it easier for people to apply for and get unemployment. And I think people have seen that we’ve largely succeeded in getting unemployment to people who can go online get that done and who can call in, we definitely have a have had a challenge as many, many other states have had. The systems that were built for this were not built for the multiples of unemployment claims that have been filed. And so everybody is, as I’ve said before trying to build the plane as we’re flying it.

* Is there any plan to open up employment offices?…

Each of our agencies has kind of a reopen plan that either has been developed or is being developed with a goal in mind of keeping first their clients, the people of Illinois safe. And second, of course, the people who work in those agencies safe.

* Today the government accountability office issued a 400 page scathing report on trillions in federal COVID aid. You once called the nationwide competition for PPE the Wild West. Does today’s report vindicate your frequent criticism of administration efforts during the early stages of the pandemic?…

I don’t think it needed vindication. Honestly, I think every state, you’ve heard so many states talk about their challenges with PPE and many other states haven’t been as frank as I have about the difficulty that they’ve had with the federal government not being of any assistance indeed kind of hindrance getting PPE. We’ve asked for PPE from the federal government we I think we’ve received 12% of the PPE that we asked for. And that’s been the experience of so many other states as well. So I’ve just say, I think unfortunately the White House has been an utter and complete failure at delivering on what states needed at the most critical time during this pandemic. And now, here we are in June, we’d love to get more help with the many challenges that we have and we get some help and that’s great. But, I think the criticisms, prove themselves out as factual along the way. I don’t need today’s report to do that but yes it’s another fact.



  1. - twowaystreet - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    Not sure how Carroll County has -1 new cases per 100,000.

  2. - Someone you should know - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    Hecky Powell, I’m guessing. Hecky was a bbq man and a pillar of the community.

  3. - Anon221 - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Looks like some of the spike in the Cass County cases are related to a long-term nursing facility-

  4. - OurMagician - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    Cass County must have been moved to Chicago, right Darren Bailey?

    Seriously though, good thoughts to all those in Cass County with this.

  5. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    - Cass County -

    Huge pork processing facility in Beardstown, I’ve been wondering when it would become an outlier.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:36 pm:

    “why not trust, Illinois residents and businesses to make smart decisions about how they conduct themselves?“

    I believe this was asked by Center Square and is the right wing and Republican position that may be responsible for the big spikes in infections in certain states. Don’t have government make restrictions but leave it up to individuals and business—an apparent recipe for disaster.

  7. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    ===“why not trust, Illinois residents and businesses to make smart decisions about how they conduct themselves?“===

    Popped by a restaurant last night that had only about half the staff in masks and had their dinning room about half full with dine in guests — not a single other patron was wearing a mask.

    Outside there was a group of folks all over the age of sixty that were at least 20 strong sitting at the same table, no masks, hugging, etc.

    Aside from trust issues, this is how COVID-19 not being a problem in one location becomes one very quickly.

  8. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    From the map website: ===Week 25: 6/14/2020 Through 6/20/2020==

    I wonder if they plan on having this map get updated daily at some point, or if we really do have to wait until each new week for fresh data, and watch it get less fresh.

    I’m not super confident about using a metric that gets 5 or 6 days out of date. This isn’t a sliding scale — it’s last weeks data.

  9. - JoanP - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    =why not trust Illinois residents and businesses to make smart decisions about how they conduct themselves?…=

    Because it’s pretty obvious that a lot of them don’t. See, for example, Darren Bailey.

  10. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 4:47 pm:

    =why not trust Illinois residents and businesses to make smart decisions about how they conduct themselves?…=

    People make decisions about how they perceive danger on a daily basis. Perfect example is driving. When was the last time you drove at the speed limit and at a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you? Speeding and tailgating are prime examples of people perceiving a dangerous activity as “safe”.

    Likewise not wearing a mask in public. People don’t perceive covid19 is dangerous. In their community, there may be few cases. So there is no danger, so why inconvenience themselves by wearing a mask.

    On the other hand, they could just be covidiots.

  11. - Payback - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 5:07 pm:

    “We have, to address police accountability, we have to address criminal justice reform, something I’ve been working on since day one of my administration…” Lots of buzzwords being thrown about by our “progressive” governor. How about a concrete statement, like “if the legislature passes a bill making Body Cams mandatory for every police department in Illinois, with criminal penalties for deleting footage, I will sign it. We can’t tolerate any more Laquan McDonald situations in our state, where police collude to alter their reports.”

    No? So how is it that Colorado already passed and their governor signed a bill making body cams mandatory statewide by 2023? Then we have no new ideas about body cams for police from AG Kwame Raoul, who sponsored the “historic” Body Cam bill in 2015, with no criminal penalties for turning them off. More silence there.

  12. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 5:18 pm:

    Here’s a good study on how effective mask wearing is (and the difference between 3 feet and 6 feet worth of social distancing):

  13. - WLDS News - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 5:20 pm:

    Cass County’s outbreak at the JBS plant is about a month old. The recent spike in cases is linked to a long-term care facility. One gentleman died today after being hospitalized for 3 days with the virus. The metrics on the Morgan County side is also incorrect. I understand this is a fluid situation, but things from West Central Illinois appear to be slow in getting updated. Morgan County has now had 3 deaths and not 1. It has also had a recent long-term care facility outbreak.

    Greene, Brown, Schuyler, and Mason counties have all been incorrect several times and have stayed that way for a long time. I am curious about how and who updates IDPH’s information and how quickly things get fixed. I have not been able to get any answers from the local health departments.

  14. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    “Dodges question about why IDES director doesn’t speak at briefings”

    This has been a big question mark for me since March. I know they had trouble appointing someone at the beginning of the administration…I wonder if the current director was really meant to be an “acting” leader until they found someone permanently and this crisis just upended that. Maybe he doesn’t want to be in the spotlight because he wants to return to his position within the agency?

    All speculation, but it boggles my mind why the agency hasn’t been front-and-center throughout the crisis.

  15. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Jun 25, 20 @ 5:46 pm:

    Every time I see the personal responsibility argument I think about James Madison’s quote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” I think businesses and residents in IL and across the US have proven that just relying on personality responsibility doesn’t work in a public health crisis. If I were the governor I would have been very tempted to not just say, “see Texas, Florida and Arizona, how’s that working out for them, next question”

  16. - Lee Neubecker - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 8:16 am:

    Heads up. Great Lakes Naval Station placed first in yesterday’s trailing week over week comparison of top Zip Codes where COVID-19 is growing the fastest.
    See the complete statewide list of top zip codes and counties at

    Daily updated statistics for Great Lakes Naval Station and all other Illinois Zip Codes can be found each day after 4PM at

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...







Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller