3 More Deaths in Illinois Due to Coronavirus, Governor Announces

Illinois reported its first coronavirus-related death earlier this week and statewide confirmed cases had topped 280.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced three additional coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois, bringing the number of state fatalities to four.

The patients include a Will County resident in his 50s, a Cook County resident in her 80s and a Florida resident in her 70s who was visiting Sangamon County.

Illinois reported its first coronavirus-related death in Chicago earlier this week and statewide confirmed cases topped 400 as of Thursday.

During Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing on March 19, he addressed reporter questions about whether he’s considering a shelter-in-place order for the state of Illinois.

"We are fighting this fight for every person in Illinois," Pritzker said.

The governor had earlier said he was "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 Wednesday. "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."

Health officials urged residents to stay in their homes, while restaurants, bars and schools all remained shut down during the pandemic.

In Oak Park, a shelter-in-place order takes effect Friday.

In Chicago, a public health order requires anyone who is showing symptoms or has been diagnosed with coronavirus to stay in their homes, with few exceptions.

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.

“During this unprecedented crisis, we must move quickly and in the best interest of the public. Restricting the movements of those who have COVID-19 or who are symptomatic is the best way to prevent the virus from spreading further,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “We are implementing today’s order to ensure a precise and data-driven response to the trends of this illness and, following recommendations by our City’s public health experts, believe that these heightened measures are necessary to contain the virus and protect our residents. We must be all in this together, and people who are sick must stay home to protect themselves and the public.”

Statewide 422 cases were reported as of Thursday 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.

Cases have so far been reported in 22 Illinois counties.  

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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