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Gov. Pritzker says “We are, in fact, bending the curve” of coronavirus cases

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and state officials speak at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Chicago | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

Governor J.B. Pritzker said on Tuesday that the state is bending the curve of coronavirus cases as he announced 74 additional deaths from the virus.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the state’s COVID-19 total has reached 23,247 cases and 868 deaths. The number of people tested so far is at 110,616, data shows.

There were 1,222 new coronavirus cases and 74 additional deaths since Monday, the IDPH said.

Pritzker said the doubling rate, which is the number of days it takes to double case counts, deaths, or hospitalization, has increased substantially. The higher the number is, the slower the growth.

On March 22, Illinois had a case doubling rate of 2.02 and on April 1 the rate increased to 3.61 days. As of April 12, the case doubling rate is now at 8.17 days.

“To be clear, there is nothing good about twice as many people having this virus or, worse, dying from it, no matter how long the increase takes,” Pritzker said at his Tuesday press conference.

“But we won’t get to zero cases overnight. The fact that our doubling rate continues to increase in every metric is a clear demonstration that there is a deceleration of virus transmission. We are, in fact, bending the curve,” he added.

4,283 known COVID-19 patients and suspected patients were hospitalized as of Monday, the governor’s office said. COVID-19 patients who are in an ICU bed totaled 1,189 and 796 of them are on ventilators.

33% of all ICU beds and 58% of all ventilators in the state remain available.

“The challenges workers and families are facing today is something my whole administration thinks about each day as we are simultaneously attempting to fend off the health consequences of coronavirus,” Pritzker said on Monday.

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“We are working around the clock at all levels to provide unemployment benefits to the unprecedented number of Illinoisans who have lost their jobs to the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to do everything in my power to get our residents the support they need to get through this crisis,” he added.

Between March 1 and April 4, Illinois has received 513,173 unemployment claims. That is larger than the total number of claims in all of 2019 and five times greater than claims filed in the first five weeks of the 2008 great recession.

The Pritzker administration has increased capacity on the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) website and ramped up efforts at the IDES call center to meet the number of unemployment claims. Since March 1, the IDES website has fielded over 6.5 million sessions and the IDES call center has processed thousands of calls per day.

IDES has overhauled their website infrastructure, expanded the call center capacity and secured private partnerships to expand capacity in its existing systems and implementation of new programs.

Three programs — Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) — help cover those who are unemployed, the state said.

FPUC provides an additional $600 each week in federal funds to anyone who receives regular state unemployment benefits.

PUA helps cover self-employed sole proprietors and independent contractors who are not covered through other avenues of unemployment insurance.

PEUC provides up to 13 weeks worth of federal funds for those who have exhausted their rights to regular state unemployment benefits of up to 26 weeks in Illinois.


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