Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that anyone with symptoms can now be tested for COVID-19 as he also announced 125 people died in the past day in the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the state’s COVID-19 total has reached 25,733 cases, which is 1,140 more than Wednesday, and 1,072 deaths. The number of people tested so far is at 122,589, data shows.
Previously, state officials encouraged those with mild symptoms to stay at home and isolate due to lack of testing. Pritzker said the state has increased testing capabilities and now anyone with symptoms can be tested without a doctor’s order.
“We are utilizing our incredible statewide network of Federally Qualified Health Centers to launch new testing locations in communities across Illinois”, Pritzker said.
“These new sites will feed specimens to our network of expanded laboratory capacity. We have sites coming online across Chicago, the Collar Counties, Peoria, and Southern Illinois with many more centers expressing interest and working to get their operations up and running,” he added.
Pritzker announced early Thursday afternoon that he and six other governors are working together to figure out when to reopen the Midwest economy.
Pritzker will work with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
Pritzker has said that despite the increase in numbers, the state is bending the curve of cases. At his Wednesday press conference, Pritzker said that he is seriously considering a mask requirement in public.
“I think it’s something that, when I look at the mitigation measures that we should be contemplating and making adjustments to, that is one I think might be seriously important to consider in the period going forward,” he said.
Pritzker announced that the coronavirus has hit the state’s budget hard. In the fiscal year ending June 30, Illinois is facing a $2.7 billion shortfall. Experts predict that fiscal year 2021 the budget will experience a $6.2 billion gap.
“This is a public health crisis – but it is accompanied by massive economic disruption that’s unprecedented in modern history. Illinoisans are all too familiar with the pain the lack of a state budget can cause, so let me just say up front: we will not go without a state budget,” Pritzker said.
“We will need to make extraordinarily difficult decisions on top of the difficult decisions we’ve already made, but together with the state legislature we will make them and we will do so with an unswerving dedication to fairness. In the midst of a pandemic, I am more resolute than ever to protect those who are suffering physical and financial hardship from it,” he added.