Gov. Pritzker rebukes those who believe COVID-19 is a hoax, says Illinois hospitals filling up

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said hospitals in the state are filling up and are in danger of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, and offered a rebuke to residents who believe the virus is a hoax.

“Too many people still seem to think that COVID-19 is a hoax,” Pritzker said.

The governor blamed rhetoric by President Donald Trump for “implanting a false narrative” in people, including COVID-19 patients.

Pritzker said the goodwill shown towards healthcare workers in the Spring has evaporated, and said now infected patients sometimes yell at the physicians attempting to treat them.

The governor said Illinois is seeing death rates in rural areas that are 3 times as high as the national average, and said COVID-19 is the No. 3 highest cause of death among residents.

Yesterday, Pritzker announced the entire state would be moving back to Tier 3 mitigations beginning this Friday. Today, the governor said it would take 2 incubation periods, roughly 28 days, to see if the new restrictions are working.

Pritzker added that if the state doesn’t see movement in the right direction after possibly one incubation period, more changes could come, including a stay-at-home order.

“The bottom line is COVID-19 is real, and it is worse than the common cold. This ‘not real’ disease is putting hundreds of people in the hospital,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, saying over 11,000 Illinoisians have died from coronavirus so far.

Ezike said those who believe the virus is a hoax are free to “bury your head in the sand” but shouldn’t be free to infect others.

Tuesday morning, Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-69th Dist.) released a statement, saying in part: “There is no scientific data that supports lower occupancy limits or for keeping restaurants closed to indoor dining. The Governor’s own numbers show that there is very little danger of contraction when inside businesses or public buildings. The Governor’s mitigation policies have proven successful in one aspect, however, and that is instilling fear in Illinois residents.”

At his press conference today, Pritzker responded, saying, “If you do any reading at all, I think what you’ve seen is all of the scientific data, all of the scientific information that is available shows you that putting people in large numbers inside, not wearing masks, having packed groups of people with less airflow is not healthy with this virus. This virus travels. That’s exactly when this virus wants to amplify, so I don’t know where he gets the information he does.”

He concluded by saying, “I hope that he’ll have a safe Thanksgiving and stay home with his family.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 8,922 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 140 additional deaths.

Ezike said deaths reported are based on home addresses, adding that very few people from Illinois may have died in other states.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 606,771 cases, including 11,014 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 103,569 specimens for a total 9,359,227. As of last night, 5,953 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,146 patients were in the ICU and 547 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from November 11 – November 17, 2020 is 11.9%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 11 – November 17, 2020 is 14.2%.

Region 1’s 7-day rolling positivity average: 19.9% (20% yesterday)

Boone: 31.2% (31% yesterday)
Carroll: 17.1% (18.6% yesterday)
DeKalb: 15.1% (15.6% yesterday)
Jo Daviess: 17.9% (15.9% yesterday)
Lee: 16.1% (17.1% yesterday)
Ogle: 18.7% (17.9% yesterday)
Stephenson: 20.5% (21.1% yesterday)
Whiteside: 25.3% (25.3% yesterday)
Winnebago: 19.5% (19.7% yesterday)

Hospital bed availability 34% — threshold is 20% (35% yesterday)
ICU Bed Availability at 37% — threshold is 20% (36% yesterday)

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