Illinois sees worst day of COVID-19 deaths
Illinois officials announced Wednesday that 192 more people have died from COVID-19, the deadliest day yet of the pandemic.
Wednesday’s announcement brings the total number of COVID-related deaths in Illinois to 3,792. The previous high was 176 COVID-related deaths on May 5.
At his daily briefing, Gov. JB Pritzker criticized those downplaying the virus and downstate municipalities that have announced their own plans to reopen businesses.
“192 Illinoisans lost their lives to this virus in the past 24 hours… how is that not real to you?” Pritzker said. “More people will get sick, get admitted to the hospital and die if we don’t stay the course and follow the guidance the experts have provided.”
There were 1,677 new cases reported on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 84,698 in 99 counties. Edwards County is reporting its first case.
A total of 489,359 tests have been completed. The statewide positivity testing rate over the past seven days is 17 percent.
Pritzker said there would be consequences for businesses and municipalities that do not follow the stay-at-home order.
He said the state may look into the revocation of licenses for those who reopen ahead of the order. For municipalities, he said the state may withhold their federal relief funding.
Pritzker also said that local law enforcement and the Illinois State Police “can and will take action” if businesses are found in defiance of the order.
“But there is no consequence the state could impose that is greater than the harm that you will do to your own communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pritzker said his administration is continuing to ramp up testing at long-term care facilities and direct personal protective equipment their way.
Nursing home associations have argued that the administration should have prioritized them earlier in their response to COVID-19. Nearly half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities.
Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Public Health is providing testing for all residents and staff at facilities that have not yet reported COVID outbreaks, which he said can help isolate cases and prevent further spread. So far 30,000 tests have been provided to 129 facilities across the state.
Though he said local health officials should be the “the first line of communication and support” for providing personal protective equipment to facilities, Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency have coordinated an effort to directly provide supplies from the state’s stockpile to more than 1,200 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Each shipment, which includes KN95 and N95 masks, face shields, hand sanitizers and other supplies, is enough for a facility with at least 200 beds. Those with more beds will receive additional shipments.
Pritzker said that nursing homes can also take advantage of the state’s new decontamination system that can safely decontaminate N95 makes up to 20 times without any degradation of filter performance.
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