CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said he is not encouraging police to enforce the stay-at-home order, but said “at some point it is worth considering a real consequence” for those not obeying the rule.

“That is up to local law enforcement and local entities, cities and counties. Some of them are passing their own ordinances and passing their own state of emergency. There are situations like I read about in Quincy where two parties occurred. We’re asking people to do the right thing and most people, the vast majority are doing the right thing,” he said.

“If people are encouraging others to get together in groups of more than 10 and not socially distance, I think at some point it is worth of considering a real consequence,” Pritzker said.

When asked if someone should call the police if a large party was going on next door, Pritzker said he would encourage that.

At his daily press briefing, the governor said the majority of people are observing the stay-at-home order to halt the spread of coronavirus, but expressed his frustration at reports of people attending parties.

Gov. Pritzker also announced that a member of his office has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual felt sick on March 26th and was sent home, and the office was disinfected. The governor said the person is isolated at home and is doing well.

In the 12 days since, Pritzker said no other members of his staff have shown symptoms, but the governor said he has not been tested, saying he did not have regular contact with the infected person.

Illinois has 13,549 cases in 77 of 102 counties. Pritzker said the number of reported cases in the U.S. is a “major undercount,” based on testing capacity.

The governor did see a silver lining as people observe his stay-at-home order: fewer people in the hospital due to car accidents.

“Since the earliest days of our COVID-19 response, my administration has worked with our state’s network of more than 200 hospitals to increase capacity in our existing health systems,” said Pritzker. “These trends offer us further insight into the overall reach of COVID-19 in our state as we adjust the ‘how,’ ‘what’ and ‘where’ of our response.”

In Illinois, Pritzker said 43 percent of the total available hospital beds in the state are still available, and 35 percent of ICU beds are open.

In the Rockford area, 68 percent of beds are currently open.

“We need to maintain our courage and maintain our part in flattening the curve,” he said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,287 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, and 73 deaths, the largest single day death toll so far.

The governor also said that the state has released 60 percent of juvenile prisoners, and have released 1,100 low risk prisoners from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The state has received 2,300 applications from out-of-state and former medical professionals to fight COVID-19. California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent 100 ventilators overnight, Pritzker said. “Once we can, we will pay it forward,” he said.

He also acknowledged receiving 600 from the federal government, 300 of which were directed to Chicago from the White House.

Pritzker said he had ordered 3,620 ventilators, and expects the first batch to arrive in April, with the rest coming in the next few months.

The governor said the best way to avoid being on a ventilator is to stay home.


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