128 New Coronavirus Cases Bring Illinois Total to 288

The new numbers come one day after the state announced its first coronavirus-related death and as the governor said he's "looking into" further restrictions for residents

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At least 128 new confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in Illinois, health officials said Wednesday, lifting the state total to 288 cases in 17 counties.

The new number includes an additional 20 at a long-term care facility in DuPage County, which now has a total of 42 cases. Thirty of those cases were confirmed in residents at the facility while another 12 were in staff.

Statewide, the cases include people between the ages of 9 and 91.

Both Kendall and Madison counties in Illinois reported their first cases in the newest group.

The new numbers come one day after the state announced its first coronavirus-related death and as the governor said he's "looking into" further restrictions for residents.

"Of course all of the things that we’ve heard, even the restrictions that have been put in place in France, Spain, Italy - those are all things that we’re looking at, maybe we need to do those sooner or right now," Pritzker said in an earlier press conference. "So of course we’re examining it, but I am also trying to be cognizant that the medical science the guidance that we’re getting isn’t quite there yet and I want to follow that. Being arbitrary about it doesn’t make sense to me."

We asked Pulmonologist Randy Orr, MD, ICU and Medical Director at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital to take on comments we’ve seen on social media and let us know what’s true and what’s false.

Health officials urged residents to stay in their homes, despite the fact that on Tuesday, thousands of voters ventured to polling locations in Illinois, while restaurants, bars and schools all remained shut down during the pandemic.

"We need to move with all-do haste to impose these kinds of restrictions because we already know that when you look at China, when you look at Italy when you look at Spain and France this is going to happen here if we don’t jump ahead and do the things that we need to do to keep people isolated. People need to stay in their homes if they can," Pritzker said.

The latest statewide number marks a jump from the total of 160 cases reported as of Tuesday and health officials said they expect the number will continue to climb.

"Containment measures will not show up today or tomorrow...they are about bending the curve long term," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said.

In addition to Kendall and Madison, cases have been reported in Chicago as well as Champaign, Clinton, Cook, Cumberland, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Peoria, Sangamon, St. Clair, Whiteside, Winnebago, Will and Woodford counties. 

If you've been shopping recently, you've seen it for yourself--long lines at grocery stores and maybe even scarcity when it comes to essential household items. People are trying to stock up so they can be prepared in case they're home for a long period of time or in case supplies run out. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that mandatory gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled in accordance with new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This was a difficult decision, but it's what the medical experts and the scientists tell us we must do," he said.

For a list of Chicago-area closures and cancellations, click here.

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