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Pritzker sounds the warning in Peoria, La Salle counties

Friday, Jul 31, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Speaking in downstate Peoria, an area Pritzker has put on his warning list, the governor suggested residents are at a crossroads.

“We’re at a danger point everybody. Pay attention,” he said. “Now is the moment to wear your mask properly.” […]

“Much of the increase in cases has been tied to the 29 and under population, large social gatherings and household spread from family member to family member,” Pritzker said in a Facebook post. […]

If a region surpasses certain thresholds — metrics include percentage of people testing positive, hospital capacity, and rising hospital admissions — then officials can choose to tighten restrictions from a “menu” of options outlined in the new tiered-system.

* More from Peoria

Peoria County has determined, with the help of contact tracing, that cases are rising mainly because people under 30 have not been wearing masks and practicing social distancing, said Monica Hendrickson, administrator of the Peoria City/County Health Department, during a news conference last week when a health advisory was issued. Hendrickson relayed more alarming statistics during Thursday’s news conference.

“Our data shows that our positivity rate has doubled in the past two weeks, that our seven-day average, in terms of cases each day, has climbed 14 cases in one week, where we average 33 new cases each day in Peoria County, as well as our ICU and medsurge capacity is on the incline,” she said.

Peoria County’s positivity rate, at 4.3%, is higher than the state’s 3.8% seven-day rolling average.

Mayor Jim Ardis spoke about the detrimental impact more shutdowns would have on Peoria businesses.

“Taking a step back right now is very likely to be the end of a lot of our small businesses; they can’t take it,” he said.

Ardis is exactly right.

* Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) hit all the right notes

“This is not a time for Democrats and Republicans to do battle against each other on the topic of public health. We need to take this very seriously,” he said. “Our economic recovery is at stake, the reopening of our schools is at stake, the education of our children is at stake. We need compliance, we need your help. Everyone who is listening, Republicans, Democrats, independents, old people, young people, the millennials — I’m a millennial myself — we are not invincible. We need to take this message very seriously, and everybody needs to do their part to work together as a community. Work to beat this very serious public health challenge.”

Good on him.

* Pritzker also traveled to La Salle County

“La Salle County has seen an uptick in the number of cases since moving into Phase 4, and especially since early July. Cases in the county have more than doubled since that time. La Salle County is experiencing community spread of the virus. Community spread of the virus means some people are testing positive and are not able to pinpoint when or where they are becoming infected, which is happening all over the county, not one particular area or town,” [La Salle County Health Department administrator Julie Kerestes] said.

“In addition, our highest number of cases continue to be those who are 29 years and younger.”

The COVID-19 numbers are going in the wrong direction, La Salle County Board Chairman Jim Olson said. He said he was “urging” all La Salle County residents to follow procedures set in place by the IDPH and LCDH.

“It’s clear to see that the states that ignored the recommendations from the scientists and opened up early are paying the price now,” Ottawa Mayor Dan Aussem said, adding he doesn’t want to see the same happen here.

He admitted it is uncomfortable to wear the mask, but “at the end of the day, it’s a pretty simple task to do.” He said if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a mask, order curbside or delivery or stay home.

* NBC 5

In Peoria County, increases were traced to people under the age of 29, large Fourth of July parties and people traveling to Florida, Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin.

In LaSalle County, large family and social gatherings, increases in younger populations and young people visiting bars and attending large social events without masks were blamed.


  1. - SandyC - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    Thanks LaSalle county. I live here and have seen first hand how masks are not being utilized, even by businesses. We need to work together. If businesses are joining in on the no masks required, we’ll never move forward. I was getting an oil change last week and not one mechanic or customer except myself was wearing a mask. The response? I can sit outside if I felt more comfortable. 🤷‍♀️

  2. - Kids as spreaders - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:39 am:

  3. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    Money or Life…what’s it gonna be?

  4. - Nuke the Whales - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    Could at least one article note that younger people are often employed in the same indoor dining industry that Pritzker has warned easily spreads COVID? I’m not disqualifying younger people getting it through not socializing responsibly, but this effort to dunk on young people by assuming bad faith gets old quick.

    NOTE: I am not accusing Rich Miller of doing that. He just reports and comments on what is out there.

  5. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==In LaSalle County, large family and social gatherings, increases in younger populations and young people visiting bars and attending large social events without masks were blamed.==

    Streator (in southern LaSalle County) has seen its infection rate go up by a couple people a day for the past two weeks. That doesn’t sound like a lot, until you think about the number they may have infected themselves.

    From what I’ve seen, people here have not changed their normal behavior on summer cookouts and parties.

    I continue to be flummoxed by people who won’t wear a mask in stores.

    When bars and restaurants are closed again, I’m sure the disgruntled folks will blame it on the governor. Sheesh.

  6. - Homebody - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    If Republicans at a national level sounded more like Rep. Spain, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.

  7. - Nick Name - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    Yesterday, the La Salle NewsTrib reported a “large crowd” as the La Salle Speedway “returns to action.”

    I guess their numbers will continue to go up.

  8. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    Back in the 1950’s, when there were far more auto crash fatalities on the highways and radio stations ran tons of PSA’s urging safer driving (seriously, find an old time radio show from the era with the commercials and it’s bound to include one), did people drive slower on the interstate?

    The Governor and other elected officials can warn/beg/teach all he wants, but he’s mostly preaching to the choir. The cynic in me suspects their plan is to wait for the numbers to get bad enough to roll-back, then say “we told you so,” rather than pass some mask and distancing laws with teeth and enforce them.

  9. - Johnny Tractor - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Kudos to Rep. Spain - he’ll probably catch grief from some constituents and others outside his district, but good for him for showing leadership.

  10. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    COVID 19 Sucks…for those attempting to shift blame to Pritzker.

  11. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:21 pm:

    Mendota’s SOS driver’s facility is now closed until Aug. 12 after an employee tested positive:

  12. - pete4illinois - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    Illinois is an island in a sea of Covid. I can see the tidal wave on the horizon. I also see way too many people waxing their surfboards. I am just not looking forward to having them wash up on my front lawn.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    ===Did people drive slower on the interstate?===
    People driving 70mph on interstate highways were the least of safety problems in the 50s. Think no seat belts or safety design in general and next to no enforcement of DUI laws. Much was because we didn’t have the knowledge of today. Unlike COVID where we have a fair amount of knowledge on what will work.

  14. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    Close bars and indoor restaurant eating immediately throughout the state, regardless of region metrics.

  15. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Six Degrees - no argument, I’m just talking about the effect of preaching. Back then they were stuck with the safety designs they had (interestingly I don’t recall any anti-drunk driving PSAs from old time radio - maybe they had them, but all I can remember are “slow down and drive safely”).

  16. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    ==People driving 70mph on interstate highways were the least of safety problems in the 50s==

    There were no “interstates” as we know them today, until President Eisenhower signed the interstate highway bill in 1956. Even before ‘56, there were some, but rare, cases of 4-lane highways. Mostly just Old 66 statewide and in parts of the suburbs. Two-lane highways were the only form of highway in all but a handful of areas in Illinois during the ’50s.

  17. - Club J - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    Why is it Rep. Ryan Spain gets it and Darren Bailey is at the total opposite end of the spectrum about COVID? They are both Republicans. Bailey is speaking in Morton IL. I wonder if Spain will attend?

  18. - HangingOn - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    I live in a town of about 2,000 people and almost nobody here is wearing a mask in public. All I kept seeing on the town facebook page was “We’re not a big town, it’s not here, blah blah”. Well, according to the IDPH page there are now 10 positive cases. Not a high percentage, but when hardly anyone is taking precautions I doubt it will stay that way. And less than 400 people have been tested.

  19. - Cadillac - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    So JB pays a visit to warn Peoria, LaSalle and Adams Counties and they are taken off the warning list a couple days later. Miraculous.

  20. - Upon Further Review - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    =Club J=

    Because Ryan Spain is an intelligent, thoughtful individual who embodies what a Republican could/should be, works in healthcare and lives in reality.

    Darren Duncan embodies a yesteryear Neanderthal know nothing whose idiocy is limitless.

    So there is that . . . . .

  21. - Ominous sign - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    While driving thru small towns south of Chatham all the way to Carlinville. We did not stop, just taking a drive. We saw no mask being worn by folks out in large groups at public locations.
    One traveler stopping by that is unknowingly infected and not wearing mask either and the towns will be devastated.
    Sad to see.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    Spain indeed hit all the right notes. It’s important that the battle is NOT a partisan battle, we are ALL battling a global pandemic, the virus isn’t choosing partisan infections, but thus virus spreads to those choosing to ignore its dangers.

    Spain has made himself standout, not by stating the obvious or speaking thoughtfully to health, but because so many Raunerites want to choose to make this battle… partisan, political, and divisive.

    It’s refreshing. Good on Spain.

  23. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:21 pm:

    People complain about things being shut down, then insist on not wearing masks.

    In LaSalle County, there are 13 ICU beds in three small hospitals (Ottawa, Peru, & Mendota). The hospital in Streator was closed a few years ago. The county residents are flown to Peoria for serious ICU care…if the outbreak grows, where will people get care?

  24. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:24 pm:

    ==Two-lane highways were the only form of highway in all but a handful of areas in Illinois during the ’50s.==

    And even with the huge “boats” that the legendary 50s cars were, they were still traversing narrow 18-foot, 1920s-era State Bond Issue state highways. Ditches and curbs were sometimes non-existent. Major state highway intersections were still Y-junctions with occasionally picnic areas in the middle.

    It wasn’t until about the mid-late 1960s that the two-lane state highways were finally widened to roughly around 24 feet and that T-intersections became more common.

    There are still some Y-junctions in Illinois, but the only one I can think of is the Routes 8 and 78 junction between Elmwood and Yates City (along the Knox-Peoria county line). The 97 and 125 junction west of Springfield was still a Y-intersection (and a major accident intersection) until about 2004 when the junction was rebuilt and the traffic light installed.

  25. - Shaun in East Peoria - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    Spain’s mother is a Vice President at Unitypoint hospital in Peoria. If the public health argument wasn’t successful; I’m sure he’s heard how healthcare organizations can’t afford to go back to the point where they can’t do elective procedures anymore.

  26. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:34 pm:

    ==So JB pays a visit to warn Peoria, LaSalle and Adams Counties and they are taken off the warning list a couple days later. Miraculous.==

    But Sangamon is now in the orange. As is Cass County (Beardstown, Virginia).

  27. - North Park - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    ===So bars and restaurants are to blame, but not protests?===

    They’re all to blame. Wear a damn mask.

  28. - cermak_rd - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    Protests yes but not restaurants and bars. I’ve heard a lot about that and yet, I see two different animals here. Protesting is protected constitutionally. Restaurants and bars are not. Protests aren’t licensed by the gov’t and bars and restaurants are.

    Finally, if BLM protests were huge drivers of the epidemic, wouldn’t Chicago area, NYC and Minneapolis have seen big jumps about 2-3 weeks after the protests began? And we did not. Heck I was expecting a huge wave from that. And was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have one. I think it was being outside, the fact that the protests did not occur during the peak of the infection at any of those places likely helped too.

  29. - Hieronymus - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    @- Anonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 1:42 pm

    Eh, uninformed Anonymous just wanted a drive-by.

  30. - TiredOfIt - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    Lets see, you cant eat with a mask on, you cant drink with a mask on. No brainer, close the bars and indoor eating at restaurants now. The under 30 crowd needs to get serious and stop spreading this virus. RIde by the waterpark in Springfield sometime - social distancing is non-existent. Until everyone realizes that this is not going away, not getting better, but can be reduced by wearing masks and social distancing then shut it all down. Schools and sports included.

  31. - StixHix - Friday, Jul 31, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    I would have loved for Rep. Spain to have said the words “wear a mask”. Perhaps he did.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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