Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Over 23K Cases, ‘Milestones,' Unemployment Overload

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today

(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)

Despite plenty of uncertainty over whether Illinois' stay-at-home order will remain in place beyond the current April 30 deadline, officials have expressed "guarded optimism" that the measures taken so far are working.

But Gov. J.B. Pritzker says there are still several "milestones" Illinois must hit before restrictions will be eased.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (April 14):

Illinois COVID-19 Response Price Tag $174M, Records Show

Illinois has paid $174 million for medicine and protective equipment to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the past month, according to data released Tuesday.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza debuted an online portal identifying each expenditure since Gov. J.B. Pritzker's March 9 disaster declaration, which allows his administration to coordinate with state partners and federal agencies in buying equipment and supplies.

Pritzker in Talks With Midwest Governors to Coordinate on Plan to Reopen

Much like his fellow governors in other parts of the U.S., Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is in talks with his Midwest counterparts to work together on a plan to reopen once the coronavirus crisis begins to subside.

"I began this conversation really late last week with some of the East Coast governors, and then over the last few days with my counterparts in Midwest states surrounding us," Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday. "You know, our goal, of course for this is to start to think about, you know, what are the preconditions for beginning to allow certain kinds of businesses to open their doors again, to expand the definition of, you know, those who can work or those businesses that can have their doors open. And as I've said, the preconditions that I think are appropriate are - I've talked about a lot: testing, tracing and treating. And then I would add to that the availability of PPE to the entire population, even those who might not be able to afford their own PPE. So, those things together, I think are the preconditions."

New York, New Jersey and four other states are working together to reopen their economies once the outbreak begins to loosen its grip, governors of those states said Monday. They announced that they will share information and form a task force to help guide the reopening of the states’ economies when it’s time.

The West Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California also announced they would work together to reopen the economies.

Pritzker Says ‘Positive Trends’ in Coronavirus Numbers Helping to Flatten Curve

Citing increasing hospital capacity and a decrease in the rate of new coronavirus cases in the state, Governor J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday there is more evidence that Illinois is making progress in its response to COVID-19.

According to Pritzker, the state has seen a significant increase in so-called “doubling rates,” a statistic that shows how rapidly the number of coronavirus cases is doubling in the state.

“That’s a very good thing,” he said. “The higher the number is, the slower your growth, which means the flatter your curve.”

Illinois Reports 1,222 New Cases of Coronavirus, 74 Additional Deaths

Illinois has reported 1,222 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 23,247 since the pandemic began.

State officials also reported 74 additional deaths associated with the virus, bringing the death toll to 868 statewide.

Illinois' Unemployment System Overloaded

With half-a-million people bounced out of jobs in the past month because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois' unemployment safety net has been stretched to the limit.

Since March 1, first-time unemployment claims have topped 515,000 with Pritzker's closures of bars, restaurants and “non-essential” businesses to slow the spread of the virus. That's more than in all of 2019 and overloaded computer systems and tied up phone lines.

It's also five times more than claims filed at the start of the Great Recession of 2008. Pritzker said the current unemployment computer system was redesigned in 2010 with the thought that unemployment would likely never top that recession's numbers.

If you need to apply for unemployment, click here for what you should do.

You Can Now Buy Hand Sanitizer From Chicago’s KOVAL Distillery

Chicagoans in need of hand sanitizer can now buy one-gallon jugs from Ravenswood's KOVAL Distillery.

The distillery, which started making sanitizer at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, first donated shipments to first responders and others in need.

But as of April 10, KOVAL began selling to the public.

Pritzker Lays Out 3 Key Milestones For Illinois to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

While the state of Illinois’ stay-at-home order currently runs through April 30, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says there are at least three things that will need to happen before restrictions can be significantly eased.

For starters, the governor says that testing capacity must be ramped up, both for the virus itself and for the antibodies that can be detected in the blood of those who have contracted and recovered from the disease.

Secondly, the governor says that a “contact tracing system” must be put in place, enabling the state to not only identify those who have tested positive for the virus, but also to contact those that the person has come in contact with after contracting the virus.

Finally, a treatment to at least lessen the severity and longevity of symptoms is needed, according to the governor.

Illinois Coronavirus Stats: A Look at the Numbers

Monday marked a sad milestone: Exactly four weeks ago, Illinois lost Patricia Frieson – the first person from the Chicago area to be taken by coronavirus.

Four weeks later: An additional 845 deaths, including 78 fatalities reported in a single day across the area. That’s the third-highest single-day count of local fatalities so far.

And while the past month may seem like forever ago, Friday was not that far off.  Yet, what a difference even a single weekend can make:

Just since Friday, NBC 5 Investigates found a steady rise in deaths everywhere, and especially sharp increases in three local counties. Click here to read more.

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