Pritzker pays tribute to healthcare workers as Illinois records highest single day COVID-19 death total

Local News

CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker began his daily COVID-19 briefing on a somber note, noting that 238 people have died in the past 24 hours, the highest ever reported in a single day.

The prior reported highest number of deaths was 191 in mid May, he said. Illinois Department of Public Health Department director Dr. Ngozi Ezike clarified the 191 number was the total of two days.

“This virus is a killer. Let’s honor those it has taken by doing everything we can to prevent more people from getting sick and dying,” Pritzker said.

The Governor dedicated his Wednesday press conference to the health care workers on the front lines against the virus, and mentioned Dixon’s Pam Mohr by name.

Mohr is a housekeeping leader at KSB Hospital.

“Pam cleans COVID-19 occupied rooms, from the emergency department to operating room, making sure everyone has PPE and making rooms safe for the next patient,” Pritzker said. “She goes into rooms while the patient is still there, and is one of the few faces that person has contact with while actively battling COVID-19.”

Pritzker said healthcare workers didn’t go into the New Year thinking they’d work double time in a deadly pandemic, and said each Illinois resident has an individual responsibility to keep healthcare workers safe by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and staying home.

Ezike said eradication of the virus is dependent on those who can get vaccinated.

“We’ve already lost too many lives. Yes, we’ve lost our normalcy but we shouldn’t lose hope. We’ll work together and we will prevent the spread of this virus,” she said.

She also said that anyone who gathered with family over Thanksgiving should get a test today or tomorrow, as people generally test positive for the virus within 6-7 days after exposure. If those people get tested, she said, they will be able to catch 99% of the cases and be able to trace them.

Ezike added that COVID-19 patients now have a higher likelihood of surviving once they’re hospitalized than they did during the pandemic’s first wave, as treatments such as Remdesivir and antibody therapies are now widely available.

Pritzker also corrected what he said yesterday regarding the vaccine’s deployment. Initially saying that Illinois expects 109,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be split between first and second doses for the 54,500 people, Pritzker and Ezike today said first shipment of the vaccine will be used to treat 109,000 residents, with second doses to follow 21 to 28 days later.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses to become fully effective. Other vaccines, also under scrutiny for emergency use by the FDA, are manufactured by Moderna and AstraZeneca, and require only a single dose.

Pritzker voiced his confidence in the vaccine saying he would take it if it clears FDA approval, and is studied by Illinois’ own experts, but said he wouldn’t want to get ahead of someone who need it more.

“I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know exactly what is happening at the FDA, but I’m confident [in the review process for the vaccine],” he said.

The IDPH today reported 9,757 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus today.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 748,603 cases, including 12,639 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 85,507 specimens for a total 10,699,586. As of last night, 5,764 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,190 patients were in the ICU and 714 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from November 25 – December 1, 2020 is 10.6%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 25 – December 1, 2020 is 12.5%.

Region 1’s 7-day rolling positivity average: 15% (14.8% yesterday)
Boone: 19.6% (20.3% yesterday)
Carroll: 9.2% (8.7 % yesterday)
DeKalb: 12.2% (11.9% yesterday)
Jo Daviess: 9.2% (9.5% yesterday)
Lee: 17.4% (18.4% yesterday)
Ogle: 15.7% (15.4% yesterday)
Stephenson: 14.7% (14.4% yesterday)
Whiteside: 14.4% (14.8% yesterday)
Winnebago: 15.7% (15.2% yesterday)

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