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Pritzker urges COVID-19 testing as protests continue

Pritzker urges COVID-19 testing as protests continue

As widespread protests continue in Chicago and other Illinois cities related to the death of George Floyd and other African Americans, Gov. JB Pritzker urged protestors to use caution and to get tested for COVID-19 if they exhibit symptoms.

“We have never curtailed people’s right to peacefully express themselves, but this virus is still out there,” he said during a Sunday afternoon press conference.

Chicago is one of many cities across the country that saw wide-scale protests over the weekend with thousands of people in close proximity, which Pritzker said could lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

Pritzker, at the request of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, activated 375 Illinois National Guard members to carry out a “limited mission to assist local law enforcement” with street closures.

Lightfoot said she is discussing with public health officials about whether to delay the city’s planned partial reopening on Wednesday.

“We will make a determination about whether we can go forward as planned,” Lightfoot said.

When asked by reporters, Pritzker said they have not decided whether to reconsider the four regions that the state is broken into for the reopening plan. Health officials will assess over the coming weeks whether the protests lead to a spike in cases.

“I am deeply concerned that when you gather people together, large groups of people… in spaces they cannot socially distance, we do run the risk,” he said.

The city of Chicago is currently in the same region as the surrounding suburbs. All four regions of the state moved to phase three on Friday.


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