Pritzker warns of 'consequences' for defying stay-at-home order
As Illinois health officials reported the state's highest-single day spike in COVID-19 deaths with 192 new fatalities Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned politicians, residents and businesses of consequences for defying the state's stay-at-home order.
"I know leaders across the state are struggling with these choices, and I sympathize with them in that struggle," Pritzker said during his briefing with reporters. "But what I don't have sympathy for are those so intent on disregarding science and logic, and so afraid to tell their constituents what they may not want to hear, that they are putting more people's lives at risk. You weren't elected to do what's easy; you were elected to do what's right."
Pritzker threatened business owners with license and certification revocation for defying the state's public health directives.
"To the small minority of businesses that ignore doctors, the data, and ignore your legal obligations to the residents of your communities, there will be consequences," he said. "Those people will be held accountable."
He warned residents who flout the state's mandate to wear masks in public settings and follow recommended social distancing guidelines that the state police "can and will take action."
"But there is no consequence the state could impose that is greater than the harm you will do to your own communities," Pritzker said. "192 Illinoisans lost their lives to this virus in the past 24 hours. 192. How is that not real to you? More people will get sick and admitted to the hospital and die if we don't stay the course and follow the guidance experts have provided."
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike echoed Pritzker's admonitions.
"This is not a hoax," she said. "Please help us decrease the spread of this virus and please help us save lives."
In addition to the new deaths, Ezike announced an additional 1,677 residents have tested positive for the disease.
However, those new cases were part of a batch of 17,668 test results the state received Wednesday, giving this batch of tests a 9.5% positivity rate, the lowest single-day infection rate since March 21, according to IDPH records.
Since the outbreak began, the state's death toll is now 3,792 and the number of confirmed infected residents is 84,698.
In the Northeast region of the state, which contains Chicago and the suburbs, the case positivity rate continued to decline and now is at 20.7% through May 10, according to the IDPH tracking site.
If the region's hospital admissions are stable or decline during a 28-day period, and the region's positivity rate stays below 20% for 14 consecutive days, the nine-county region will move to the next, less restrictive phase of the governor's statewide recovery plan. Hospitals in the region also have to maintain 14% of ICU and recovery beds, and 14% of ventilators for the region to move to a new phase.
So far, the region's hospital admissions, bed counts and ventilator supply are on pace to meet the state requirement.