Pritzker issues stay at home order starting Saturday
Gov. JB Pritzker has ordered all Illinoisans to shelter in place until April to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus.
The order will go into effect at 5 p.m. Saturday and last through Tuesday, April 7. Pritzker said an existing order to close all schools in Illinois has also been extended through the same time.
Pritzker said at a Friday press conference that he did not make the decision lightly, but health experts have advised him it is the only way to avoid the “potential loss of tens of thousands of lives” in the state.
“The only strategy available to us to limit the increase in cases and ensure our healthcare system has the capacity to treat those who become ill is to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the most robust manner possible,” he said.
The order comes as officials announced Friday that a Cook County woman in her 70s is the fifth patient to die in Illinois from COVID-19.
Officials stressed that the order is not a “lockdown” or “martial law.” Essential services, such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and medical providers, will remain open. Residents will also be able to go outside for walks and other activities as long as they exercise “social distancing.”
State officials announced 163 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the state’s total to 585 cases in 25 counties. Adams, Christian, and McLean counties are reporting their first cases.
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