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Gov. Pritzker issues “stay at home order” for Illinois; cases rise to 585

Illinois officials and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a shelter-in-place order for Illinois at a press conference Friday afternoon | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a ‘stay at home’ order starting 5 p.m. Saturday through April 7 as coronavirus-related deaths rise to five along with 585 confirmed cases in the state.

Pritzker announced the order at his Friday press conference alongside Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay at home order for the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said, adding that non-essential businesses must stop operating.

Residents will still be able to go grocery shopping, put gas in their cars, go to pharmacies and have access to other essential services. Residents can also continue to do things like go on walks or runs. All roads will remain open to traffic.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Friday there were 163 new cases of coronavirus and Illinois’ fifth death — a Cook County woman in her 70s.

A total of 585 cases span across 25 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in ages 3 through 99. State officials said they are working to increase testing capacity by working with Illinois hospitals to implement testing within their facilities.

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The state is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens to set up drive-thru testing sites. Those facilities will focus on senior citizens, first responders, and health care workers, state officials said.

The IDPH said that they are focusing on increasing hospital bed capacity and working to reopen closed hospitals.

“We are currently doing assessments at four hospitals in Illinois to determine the current condition of the facility, medical resources available, staffing levels, and what else is needed to open these facilities in order to provide medical care for individuals with COVID-19,” the IDPH said in a statement.

Illinois is the second state to impose a shelter-in-place order after California issued one on Thursday. Pritzker also ordered all schools to remain closed until at least April 8.


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