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Pritzker urges residents to follow public health measurements as COVID-19 hospitalizations fall

Gov. JB Pritzker urged businesses to continue to comply with public heath measurements a day after a Clay County judge ruled Pritzker’s executive orders since April 8 pertaining to the novel coronavirus pandemic are void because he exceeded his authority when he used his emergency powers for more than 30 days.

The Illinois Department of Public Health instead has “supreme authority” to close businesses and restrict residents’ activities in a public health crisis, Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney added. The governor’s office said Thursday that the Phase 4 restrictions remain in effect and the court on Thursday did not issue an injunction to block the restrictions.

“The virus is not taking the holiday weekend off, and neither can we. Letting our guard down now would fly in the face of the progress we’ve made over many months,” Pritzker said in a news release. “We have seen that mitigation measures have worked in our state and we’ve seen too many other states rapidly lose ground in the fight against the virus. If establishments cannot abide by capacity requirements, I will not hesitate to close them to keep people safe.

“We must continue to take the proven steps that keep us safe: wear a face covering, watch your distance and wash your hands. While other parts of the country are refusing to follow the science and seeing their positivity rate and hospitalizations increase, Illinoisans have come together to keep each other safe. Let’s keep being all in for our communities.”

Illinois reported 18 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, and 868 new cases, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A total of 34,318 people were tested in the previous 24 hours, which is a single-day testing record for the state. The state’s seven-day positivity rate remained 2.6%, and the 24-hour positivity rate was 2.52%.

The state now has seen 145,750 cases of the virus and 7,005 people have died since the pandemic began. A total of 1,700,635 tests have been run during the pandemic.

As of Thursday night, Illinois had 1,349 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, a decrease of 302 patients from the previous 24 hours. The 1,349 total hospitalizations is the fewest number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital since IDPH started publicly tracking. Of those currently hospitalized, 334 were in the ICU, a decrease of 15 from the previous day, and 164 were on ventilators, a decrease of 31 from the previous day.

Ahead of the holiday weekend, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the Illinois Gaming Board have sent communications to local authorities and business owners encouraging them to follow public health guidance and outlining enforcement actions that can take place if they don’t, according to a news release.

“Bars, by design, are social settings where people gather closely together for extended periods of time. Additionally, people often need to raise their voices or shout to be heard, which means droplets from seemingly well but infected individuals could spread further than the recommended 6 feet of distancing,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

Sam Toia, the President of the Illinois Restaurant Association said the group has launched a social media campaign to urge people to be responsible when they go out.

“In recent days, we have seen cities and states nationwide slide backwards in their re-openings,” Toia said in a news release. “We cannot allow this to happen to restaurants and bars in Chicago and across Illinois. We have launched a social media campaign – “Covered Faces Keep Open Places” – to urge restaurateurs, bar owners, employees, and diners to strictly follow local and state public safety guidelines during the holiday weekend and beyond to ensure we stay on a steady path to reopening our economy.”

Regional update: As of Friday, the Northeast region (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, McHenry, Lake and Will counties) reported a positivity rate seven-day average of 4%. The region reported an average of 33% of medical/surgical beds available, 44% of ICU beds available and 74% of ventilators available.

The North Central region (Bureau, DeKalb, La Salle, Lee, Ogle, Whiteside, Carroll, Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, Putnam and Jo Daviess counties) reported a positivity rate rolling average of 3%. On average, the region has enough medical/surgical beds to accommodate a 46% surge in COVID-19 cases. The region reported that 58% of ICU beds are available and 77% of ventilators are available.

The Central region reported an average positivity rate of 2%. On average, there was an availability of 40% of medical/surgical beds, 54% of ICU beds and 79% of ventilators.

The Southern region had an average positivity rate of 4%. On average, there was an availability of 46% of medical/surgical beds, 53% of ICU beds and 80% of ventilators.

Newly reported deaths include:

• Cass County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s, 1 female 100+

• Cook County: 1 female 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s

• DuPage County: 1 male 70s

• Grundy County: 1 female 80s

• Kane County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s

• Kendall County: 1 male 70s  

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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