JB Pritzker moved Wednesday to give residents reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic a three-month extension to file their state income tax returns, aligning IL with the federal government's new summer tax-filing deadline. When she finishes, Pritzker's conference will be joined while in progress.
The state saw an additional 250 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That new amount represents more than double the 753 cases that had been confirmed as of Saturday.
"The report for today is sobering, as it is every day", IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said. "We won't fall into the trap of forgetting that these are people with families and friends who love them, and people who are anxious about them".
Pritzker told reporters at his daily COVID-19 briefing Wednesday that the move would "support our residents and most small businesses and. soften the immediate economic impact of this moment".
The total of lives lost in IL due to COVID-19 is now at 16.
The state, of course, has intervened with its "stay-at-home" order, closing of schools, bars and restaurants, and various other measures.
"As hard as it is to hear the news of more cases and deaths each day, I do believe sharing this information will keep us focused and remind us all why we need to continue doing the right things", state Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said. If the state took no action to combat the virus, hospitals would need an additional 837 ICU beds and 419 ventilators by March 30, and an extra 9,047 ICU beds and 4,704 ventilators by April 6, according to IDPH projections. The state now stands at total of 1,535 cases in 32 counties. But, Pritzker said that is a worst case scenario without any precautions.
"We're using a two-pronged approach to make sure a worst-case scenario does not become our reality", said Pritzker.
Several existing hospital labs are building out their capacity and are within two weeks expected to provide additional 2,805 tests a day, totaling more than 4,300 a day. In February, the state had the capacity to test only about 50 people a day. Now labs are testing around 2,000 specimens a day.
Pritzker's "stay at home" order, which was announced on Friday, remains in place throughout IL until April 7.
"Testing helps demonstrate the actual reach of COVID-19 and informs us how we can potentially isolate the outbreak even as we work to flatten the curve", Pritzker said. "I am concerned that we may have to extend that deadline".
With limited hospital beds, medical equipment and staff, Rush University Medical Center CEO Dr. Omar Lateef is urging people to continue to stay home, wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing measures. "We are in a city where COVID-19 is actively spreading through our neighborhoods today".
While hospitals are now meeting the demand for beds and ventilators, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday outlined what could've happened had he not ordered people to stay at home, and closed schools, restaurants and bars to slow the spread of the virus.
Individuals identified as possibly being exposed are being quarantined and the facility is on a 14-day lockdown.