State's coronavirus cases top 1,000, 'will continue to increase'

  • Less traffic on I-94 South bound in Chicago, Sunday, March 22, 2020. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday issued a stay-at-home order, the most strict statewide action he's taken to date in the effort to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus. Pritzker's order follows statewide schools closures, restrictions on the size of gatherings, and an order for bars and restaurants to suspend dine-in service.

    Less traffic on I-94 South bound in Chicago, Sunday, March 22, 2020. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday issued a stay-at-home order, the most strict statewide action he's taken to date in the effort to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus. Pritzker's order follows statewide schools closures, restrictions on the size of gatherings, and an order for bars and restaurants to suspend dine-in service. Associated Press

  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker and President Donald Trump took shots at one another over Twitter on Sunday after the governor appeared on CNN and criticized the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker and President Donald Trump took shots at one another over Twitter on Sunday after the governor appeared on CNN and criticized the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Capitol News Illinois photo by Ben Orner

 
 
Updated 3/22/2020 6:09 PM

The number of coronavirus cases in Illinois has now surpassed 1,000 as state officials reported 296 new infections Sunday, along with three more fatalities.

With the three deaths reported Sunday, COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of nine people in the state. The deaths reported Sunday include a Cook County man in his 80s, a Chicago man in his 80s and a McLean County woman in her 70s, officials said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Unfortunately, the number of cases will continue to increase, as will the number of deaths," Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Sunday. "But we ask that you listen to our guidance and take all preventative measures to avoid becoming sick and to avoid infecting others."

An infant is among the newly diagnosed cases, Ezike said. It is not yet known whether the COVID-19 virus be can passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy or delivery, she said, but no newborns have tested positive, according to the CDC.

The new cases Sunday -- bringing the state's total to 1,049 -- include 10 in DuPage County, authorities said. None of those new cases, however, are linked to the Chateau Center nursing and rehabilitation facility in Willowbrook, which has seen 46 residents and staff infected since the outbreak began.

Lake County health authorities reported 15 new cases since Saturday afternoon, bringing the county's total to 80.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, during his daily briefing, urged Illinois residents to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by donating needed items, such as masks and other personal protection equipment for health care workers, or finding a safe way to volunteer.

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Those who can donate are asked to contact the state at ppe.donations@illinois.gov, and volunteer opportunities can be found at serve.illinois.gov.

"Even in moments when you are feeling anxiety about what's happening, hope is all around us and can still be found in every corner of this state," he said. "It can be found in the creativity and the generosity and the empathy from our people, the ingenuity of the private sector, and the powerhouse research institutions that are pouring themselves into solving this problem."

Earlier in the day, Pritzker and President Donald Trump exchanged shots over Twitter after the governor appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and criticized the federal response to the pandemic. Pritzker blamed a lack of leadership from the federal government for states' difficulties obtaining much-needed medical supplies and protective equipment for health care workers.

"We're competing against each other. We're competing against other countries. You know, it's a wild West, I would say, out there," Pritzker said. "And indeed, we're overpaying, I would say, for (personal protective equipment), because of that competition."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trump responded a short time later in a tweet.

"@JBPritzker, Governor of Illinois, and a very small group of certain other Governors, together with Fake News @CNN & Concast (MSDNC), shouldn't be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings. We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!" Trump wrote.

Pritzker responded in a tweet of his own, saying Trump "wasted precious months" in responding to the pandemic.

He later addressed the exchange during his Sunday briefing.

"I'm a pretty even-keeled guy. But even I'm finding it hard to contain my anger with Donald Trump's response to this national crisis," he said.

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