Governor Pritzker announces emergency childcare expansion

Coronavirus

(WTVO/AP) — Governor J.B. Pritzker began his daily press conference stressing the importance of protecting children in the state. He emphasized that young children need to adhere to social distancing guidelines as well since they can contract and carry the virus.

“We have essential workers and healthcare professionals who can’t stay home with their kids because they are heroically going out to do their jobs, which are vital for public safety and to make sure other families can get the food and gas and pharmacy goods they may need,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our essential workforce deserves to know their kids are safe and cared for in a small and affordable group setting.”

Over 1,500 childcare centers across Illinois are still providing care. The governor announced that effective immediately, all essential workers now qualify for the state’s childcare assistance program. This means that the state will pay most, if not all, of the costs for childcare.

The Governor announced that care centers will be reimbursed 30% more than under normal conditions. Centers who wish to open as emergency care centers can apply for a permit through the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Illinois governor says the state needs thousands more ventilators from the federal government as it desperately prepares for its a peak in coronavirus cases expected in late April.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker told CNN Sunday that he has requested 4,000 ventilators but has received 450. Vice President Mike Pence says Illinois needs 1,400. Pritzker has sparred with President Donald Trump over what the governor calls a lack of federal assistance.

Pritzker told CNN’s Jake Tapper that even though Trump called for General Motors to build ventilators under the Defense Production Act, they won’t be ready until well after Illinois’ expected peak. 

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