coronavirus

CHICAGO (WAND) - The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Thursday there are 673 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including seven new deaths.

That brings the state total to 2,538 cases and 26 deaths in 37 counties.

>>Christian County reports second case of COVID-19

The most recent deaths included a man in his 50s, two men and two women in their 60s, a man in his 70s, and a woman in her 90s.  

About 87% of fatalities are among patient 60 years of age and older.

Franklin and Tazewell counties are now reporting cases.

Governor Pritzker gave a fiery update Thursday telling people if they choose to attend parties, gather in groups, or go out unnecessarily they are "spitting in the face," of health care workers and those working to fight the pandemic. "This virus doesn't care that you're bored."

He continued, "We are in the middle of a battle to save lives... I tell you this to save your life. We all have to chose our actions right now. I have one job and one job only, to save as many lives as possible... Please follow instructions and stay at home."

>>Public reminded to take social distancing seriously

He said doctors are facing horrible decisions trying to decide who will live and who will die based on the limited resources and ventilators they have available.

Also on Thursday, President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Illinois and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts.

>>Trump approves Illinois disaster declaration

>>Illinois unemployment rate increases 950% following closer of bars, restaurants

The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of Illinois.

Federal funding is also available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Illinois impacted by COVID-19.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin joined Governor Pritzker for his daily press conference Thursday. He said something, "miraculous has happened in Washington. We've actually done something in a timely manner... The cost of the rescue package is about $2.2 trillion. That is larger than the federal budget for an entire year in domestic and discretionary spending."

>>Trump, Congress agree on $2 trillion virus rescue bill

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He said politicians are understanding the need to put party lines aside to face this crisis and make decisions.

Sen. Durbin said more phases of the relief package are likely to come out.

A new initiative to support non profits was announced Thursday. The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund was established to support community organizations that are working to fight the outbreak and offer resources to those who need it most. Nearly $23 million have already been raised by the fund. Penny Pritzker is spear-heading the fund. Governor Pritzker donated $2 million personally. His foundation donated another $2 million.

For information on how to donate or help, click HERE.

Pritzker announced Wednesday Illinois will delay the state tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. Refunds will continue to be distributed in a timely fashion, he said.

>>How to get unemployment benefits during COVID-19 outbreak

By Friday, small businesses will be eligible for a share of $90 million in state emergency assistance through three new programs. This is called the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund.

Small businesses outside of Chicago with less than 50 employees that made less than $3 million in 2019 revenue in every industry are elligible to apply. Loans of up to $50,000 with five-year low intrest repayment terms are available. Required loan payments would not begin for six months, allowing businesses time to recover. Applications will be available by the end of the week by clicking HERE.

$14 million in grants will be available to bars, hotels, and restaurants to support their payroll, rent, and technology to further delivery service. Applications are available now by clicking HERE.

Officials said the economic impact of COVID-19 on hotels is already worse than the 2008 recession and 9/11 terrorist attacks combined.

Nearly 20,000 hotel rooms state-wide have been offered up as temporary housing for first responders, health care workers, and those in need of being isolated.

Pritzker said letters have been sent to the National Credit Bureaus asking them not to let consequences of the coronavirus outbreak negatively impact the credit rating of Illinoisans.

Two correctional officers and one man incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center have tested positive as well as a contractual worker at Sheridan Correctional Center. 

The two Stateville correctional officers are recovering at home and person who is incarcerated is isolated and recovering in the hospital. 

Those who have been identified as being potentially exposed are being quarantined and the facility is on a 14-day lockdown. 

The Department of Corrections determined staff and men incarcerated at the Sheridan facility were at low to medium risk for potential exposure. The facility also was placed on a 14-day lockdown.

Cases have been reported in people younger than 1 to 99 years old.

As of Tuesday, hospital beds in the state are 51.6% occupied. ICU beds are 57.4% occupied. 28.4% of ventilators in the state are in use.

On Sunday and Monday, drive through testing was being done at four state and federal facilities.

Governor JB Pritzker said labs in Illinois are able to handle and process more tests than before and said the state is serving as a national model for COVID-19 testing. Each of the three state labs is able to process about 600 tests per day.

Within two weeks, Pritzker said with the help of other lab sites, the state will be able to process about 4,300 tests per day.

But, "We can't just test. We have to treat," Pritzker said Tuesday.

Pritzker said he spoke with President Donald Trump and was promised the state will shortly receive 300 more ventilators and 300,000 masks from FEMA.

Hundreds of nurses and doctors have reached out to the state to rejoin the workforce and help, he said.

IDPH said they will begin including numbers of people recovering or who are isolating at home. They say the majority of people will recover. 

The Illinois National Guard has been activated, but commanders insisted they are not there to restrict the rights of anyone, enforce quarantines, or police citizens.

The Illinois National Guard is assisting at test sites and assessing shuttered hospitals and hotels in the state that could potentially be reopened and used should the need should arise.

Governor Pritzker said that while not everyone who contracts the virus will require hospitalization, it is still important that they do not come in contact with anyone, including family while they recover. He said the state is considering providing overnight accommodations somewhere for people with mild symptoms while they recover.

A statewide stay-at-home order is in effect until April 7. All non-essential businesses had to close. People were told to stay home other than quick runs to the grocery store, gas stations, doctor's office, or pharmacy.

The closure of schools will be expanded through April 8.

Bars and restaurants are closed, but drive thru, delivery, and curb side pickup is allowed.

>>List of Businesses Open During the Coronavirus

Interstates, highways, roads, and tolls will remain open.

Pritzker said he made the decision after consulting with numerous medical and health experts to understand the progression of COVID-19, and determined that to avoid rapid spread of the virus in Illinois that has occurred in other countries, drastic action must be taken to contain it.

"I don't come to this decision easily," Pritzker said. "I fully recognize that in some cases, I am choosing between saving people's lives and saving people's livelihoods. But ultimately, you can't have a livelihood if you don't have your life."

Illinois health officials said they expect the number of confirmed cases to grow as more patients are able to be tested. 14,209 people have been tested.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants the country to be back up and running by the April 12, Easter holiday. Public health experts have warned lifting social-distancing restrictions too early could be detrimental to both the health and economic standing of the country.

"You can't have a livelihood without a life," Pritzker said. He said the economy will recover and he is not willing to sacrifice anyone.

>>Trump says he wants the country to 'open back up' by April 12

Governor JB Pritzker said he is working on having more protective masks manufactured in Illinois.

Pritzker said he asked the federal government for masks, surgical gowns, face shields, and supplies, but has only received a fraction of what was requested. The state was not sent any respirators.

Pritzker is asking the owners of businesses like nail salons, tattoo parlors, and others that are closed during the crisis to consider donating face masks.

For donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov.

Counties with positive COVID-19 cases include Champaign, Christian, Clinton, Cook, Cumberland, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Franklin, Grundy, Jackson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Madison, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Monroe, Morgan, Peoria, Sangamon, St. Clair, Tazwell, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Winnebago, and Woodford.

There are cases in all 50 states.

"To maximize the state’s availability of PPE, IDPH released guidance to limit non-essential adult elective surgery and medical and surgical procedures, including all dental procedures, until further notice. IDPH is now encouraging surgery centers, veterinarians, and anyone with unused PPE that is not immediately needed to donate it to assist health care providers, health care facilities, and first responders who are on the front line actively responding to COVID-19," the governor said.

Most cases of COVID-19 have been mild, but people including the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are considered most at risk. However, cases reported in Illinois have included all age ranges.

People are being asked to follow social distancing measures, including working from home when possible, limiting the amount of time spent in the community and avoiding public transportation.

The number of cases with no clear connection to travel or a known positive COVID-19 case is rising, IDPH officials said. 

Click here to learn more about how people, their school, workplace and community can prepare for COVID-19.

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