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

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that the state has not reached its peak yet as 125 coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the state in the past 24 hours.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the state’s COVID-19 total has reached 29,160 cases, 1,585 more than Friday, and 1,259 deaths. The number of people tested so far is at 137,404, data shows.

IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said that as the state increases testing, there will be more positive cases reported.

Ezike said that the growth is slowing even though the numbers continue to climb. “That is definitely a good thing. But we must continue to be strong and hold the line. I know people are getting tired of hearing the same message, but the same tactics continue to apply,” she said, adding that people should continue to stay home, wash their hands and wear a mask.

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Pritzker declined to say when he would make a decision about whether he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order or not. “We’re not yet at our peak so it’s very hard to make decisions,” he said.

Pritzker announced on Friday that remote learning across all schools in the state will continue through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I’ve said time and time again, our decisions must follow the science and the science says our students can’t go back to their normal routine this school year,” Pritzker said.

“Over the last month, Illinois’ schools have stepped up and faced the many challenges of COVID-19 with generosity, creativity, and a resolute focus on caring for students, parents and communities. I am confident that our schools will manage and expand the learning opportunities for all our children who will be working from home over the coming weeks,” he added.

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Illinois will receive approximately $569 million in federal funding for K-12 schools, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Each public school district will receive CARES Act funding proportional to the number of low-income students they serve.

The funding can help provide students with technology and internet access to enhance remote learning, support teachers in developing their remote instruction skills, and assist schools in continuing to provide meals to children and communities, the governor’s office.

“Our school buildings may be closed, but the hearts and minds of our teachers and students are wide open,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala.

“This pandemic has altered the fabric of how we teach, learn, and connect, but it has not shaken the core of what our schools do, which is take care of Illinois’ children and prepare them for what’s next,” Ayala said.

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