ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — While COVID-19 cases are spiking at alarming rates in states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida, Illinois has been on a steady downward trend for weeks. However, a couple weeks into Phase 4 of re-opening, public health experts say the public’s choices could determine if we see a resurgence.
Across the country, some states have been forced to either delay re-opening or reinstate restrictions after surges of COVID-19 are packing hospitals–again. Health experts in Illinois say this isn’t the time to bail on efforts to stop the spread.
“We’re right at two weeks into with the change to phase 4, again we are going to see an increase,” said Beth Squires, the public health program coordinator at NIU.
Illinois took a back-seat to other states waiting to re-open, but now in Phase 4 health experts are saying the future is in the hands of the public. Squires says the surges in other states is an example of how infectious the virus can be.
“Every person that dies from COVID-19 is an unnecessary death. This could be a preventable disease,” Squires added.
“If the majority of people can wear their masks to prevent the spread of it we won’t see the surges in cases like other states.”
On Wednesday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker testified in front of the house committee on Homeland Security, saying the state made the right moves at the right time.
“We were the second state in the nation to issue a state at home order,” Gov. Pritzker said. “Illinois is home to the country’s third-largest metropolitan area and major international transit and tourism sectors, we had all the potential to become a major early hot spot like New York and Florida and Texas have now become. The early March projections show that without intervention our healthcare system would be overrun.”
Pritzker says Illinois’ cases are down over 80%.
“Illinois can be a leader in that showing we wear masks because we care about fellow Illinoisans and we don’t want to see a surge in cases again,” Squires added.
Winnebago County Health Department Director Dr. Sandra Martell says she will address this issue on Monday.
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