CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 250 new cases on Tuesday, including four deaths: a Chicago resident in his 50s, two Cook County residents both in their 60s, and a DuPage County resident in her 90s.
In total, 16 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois.
Grundy County is now reporting a case. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,535 cases in 32 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years. The IDPH says 11,485 people have been tested for the disease.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Pritzker again pressed the issue of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, saying that Illinois hospitals and nursing homes stock their own, with backup from the State.
Pritzker said the state’s testing capacity is now up to 2,000 tests per day.
The Illinois National Guard has opened up a northwest Chicago state-run testing site, which the federal government has called the “national model,” according to the governor.
Gen. Richard Neely, Illinois’ National Guard commander, said, “This is like a hurricane hit all 50 states at once.”
Local testing labs are able to test up to 1,500 cases per day, Pritzker said, and he expects the state to handle up to 4,300 per day in the coming weeks, but reiterated that the state needs tens of thousands of tests.
“We can’t just test, we have to treat,” Pritzker said.
The State is currently processing approximately 180 applications from doctors and nurses with expired or inactive licenses, or out-of-state medical workers, who are stepping up to help deal with the crisis.
Pritzker laid out the epidemic with startling data, saying that in a worse case scenario, within 2 weeks there would a need for over 28,000 non-ICU and 9,000 ICU beds than currently exist in the entire state.
The governor once again urged residents to stay home, saying his Shelter-in-Place order was designed to mitigate the spread of the disease.
Over 66 hospitals have set up triage tents from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Rockford-area hospitals deployed such tents outside their emergency rooms in recent days in preparation for the next phase of the virus.
The Governor said closed hospitals should be re-opened, and hospital patients not being treated for COVID-19 should be moved.
FEMA is sending 300 more ventilators, and 300,000 masks, which should arrive in coming days.
Pritzker also repeated his call to President Trump to invoke the Defense Protection Act, which would allow the president to control the civilian economy in order to allocate materials to produce needed equipment.
Pritzker also said the economy worries him, but science would continue to guide his decisions during the pandemic, saying “We can revive the economy. We cannot revive those who lose lives to the virus.”
Dr. Ngozi Ezeike, director of the IDPH, said the virus continues to hit every racial and age group in Illinois. According to Ezeike, 54 percent are White, 33 percent Black, 11 percent Latino or Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.
Ezeike said 16 percent of cases result in hospital admissions, with 4 percent resulting in admission to the ICU.
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