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Illinois COVID-19 cases climb to nearly 9,000 with over 200 deaths

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and state officials speak at a press conference Thursday afternoon at McCormick Place in Chicago | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that there has been over 1,200 new coronavirus cases and over new 50 deaths within the past day.

Pritzker held his daily press conference at McCormick Place in Chicago where he announced that phase one of outfitting the convention center into an alternate facility has been completed.

Pritzker said that there are currently 500 beds in McCormick Place and by the end of April there will be 3,000 beds.

Crews are also working to convert to temporarily reopen Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, Advocate Sherman hospital in Elgin and MetroSouth Health Center in Blue Island so they can be utilized as field hospitals.

The four temporary facilities will used to support existing medical infrastructure. Coronavirus patients will be directed to existing hospitals and if they have mild symptoms they will be transferred to one of the four alternative facilities, Pritzker said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the state’s COVID-19 total has reached 8,904 cases and 210 deaths. The number of people tested so far is at 48,048, data shows.

Data provided by the governor’s office on Friday shows that 935 ICU beds and 2,049 non-ICU hospital beds are being used by coronavirus patients in the state.

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Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said on Thursday that she spoke with a man and woman who were the third and fourth coronavirus cases in Illinois and they are doing great.

Ezike also said that the state is seeing clusters of cases in essential businesses.

“We’re also starting to see clusters of cases in essential businesses. And although these businesses need to continue operating, they must take steps to protect employees and customers,” Ezike said.

On Tuesday, Pritzker extended the state’s stay-at-home order, disaster proclamation and school closures until April 30. The stay-at-home order was initially set to end on April 7 before Pritzker extended it by 23 days.

“Each step we have been forced to take by this pandemic has made things more challenging for our residents. The cascading consequences of these steps weigh on me every minute of every day,” Pritzker said.

“But from all the modeling we’ve seen, our greatest risk of hitting capacity isn’t right now but weeks from now. The virus’ spread is growing, so are its risks,” Pritzker noted.


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