(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.)
Across Illinois, more than 20,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed - but Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday expressed a cautious optimism that social distancing, his stay-at-home order and other measures are working to "flatten the curve" of cases in the state.
He also encouraged voters to cast their ballots by mail in the upcoming election after a person who voted in the primary tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, a third detainee at the Cook County Jail has died, as have four residents of a West Rogers Park nursing home.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (April 13):
Will Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Order be Extended? Lightfoot Says Likely, Pritzker Says It’s Complicated
While Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she expects Illinois' statewide stay-at-home order to be extended into May, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he doesn't have a date in mind yet, and it's too early to tell.
The order, which went into effect March 21, was initially set to last through April 7, but was extended until April 30 as the number of coronavirus cases continued to increase in both Illinois and the United States.
When asked about the possible extension at his daily coronavirus press briefing, Pritzker said he wants to lift the order "as soon as possible," but must pay attention to the way the coronavirus case curve is moving.
Nearly 1,200 New Cases of Coronavirus Reported Monday
The state of Illinois has now reported more than 22,000 cases of coronavirus after 1,173 new cases were reported on Monday.
State officials also reported 74 additional deaths as a result of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 794 since the pandemic began.
According to data, the state conducted more than 5,000 tests in the last 24 hours, a lower number than had been tested in the previous 24 hours. The state is trying to increase testing capacity to 10,000 tests per day, and says that testing needs to increase significantly before the state's businesses can re-open for normal operation.
Pritzker Expresses Cautious Optimism, Says Illinois Is Testing More
Pritzker said Sunday that although the state reported 1,672 new cases of coronavirus, there is evidence to suggest that Illinois is continuing to "flatten the curve."
“I’ve spoken before about a stabilizing or a bending of the curve, and today is one more day of evidence that it may be happening,” Pritzker said. “The percent of those tested that came up positive is almost exactly the same as it has been for the last two weeks, and the death toll is lower than it has been in six days.”
The state is also testing more people than it has at any point during the pandemic. While officials had originally wanted to be testing up to 10,000 people per day by April 10, Illinois had fallen well short of that number by Friday. On Sunday however testing numbers jumped up, as 7,956 people were tested for the virus.
With the higher testing numbers, an increase in positive cases was seen as mathematically inevitable, but Pritzker emphasized that the improving percentage of positive results among those tests is another indicator that social distancing and “stay-at-home” orders are working to help combat the spread of the virus.
According to Pritzker, doctors and scientists are crediting the slowdown in the percentage of new cases on the state’s decision to implement a “stay-at-home” order in March, but cautioned that the state must “stay the course” or risk undoing the progress that has been made.
“We must stay the course in order to continue our progress,” Pritzker said.
Lightfoot to Announce New Measures to Support the Homeless
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is scheduled to announce "new measures to the citywide system to support individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak," her office said.
She will be making the announcement during a news conference from City Hall beginning at around 1 p.m. CST. It can be viewed in the video player above.
Pritzker Encourages Voting by Mail After In-Person Voter Tests Positive
A voter from a precinct on Chicago's West Side tested positive for the coronavirus, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker says it may change the way Illinoisans are used to voting this coming Election Day.
The person who tested positive voted in person on election day on March 17 at the voting site at Harrison and Loomis, election officials said.
“We relied on the local election authorities and backed them up in this effort that they would have sanitizer, PPE, that would protect the people who were working in those facilities… and if there were electronic screens that those were being wiped down,” Pritzker said before adding that officials were looking into making voting by mail easier across the state.
“We want to be looking at allowing everybody in the state to vote by mail and make it easier for people to do that so we have fewer people that would want to show up on election day at a precinct," he said.
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3rd Detainee at Cook County Jail Dies After Contracting Coronavirus
A third detainee at Cook County Jail has died after contracting the coronavirus, officials announced Sunday.
Nicholas Lee, 42, was pronounced dead Sunday at Stroger Hospital, where he had been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, the Cook County sheriff’s office said in a statement.
A ruling on the cause and manner of his death was pending an autopsy, but preliminary reports indicate he died of cardiac arrest, the sheriff’s office said.
As of Sunday evening, 306 detainees at the jail had tested positive for the virus, with 20 of those individuals being monitored at local hospitals. Additionally, 218 staff members at the jail have tested positive.
Apple CEO Tim Cook Donates 100,000 N95 Masks to Illinois
Amid the statewide shortage of PPE for health care workers and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic, Apple CEO Tim Cook donated and delivered 100,000 N95 masks to the state of Illinois this weekend.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of companies near and far stepping up to support their fellow Americans, especially supporting the heroes of Illinois,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at his daily press briefing Sunday.
4 Residents of Elevate Care Nursing Home in West Rogers Park Die From Coronavirus
Four residents of a West Rogers Park nursing home have died of coronavirus-related causes, Cook County data shows.
A 64-year-old woman and 87-year-old man both died Wednesday of pneumonia due to COVID-19 infections, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The next day, two women, 58 and 81 years old, died of sepsis due to COVID-19 infections, the medical examiner’s office said.
All four were residents at Elevate Care Chicago North, located at 2451 W. Touhy Ave., and had underlying health conditions, officials said.
“Today, we can confirm there are several patients residing at Elevate Care Chicago North who have tested positive for COVID-19,” Elevate Care Vice President of Operations Amanda Andrews said in a statement. “In addition, we are deeply saddened to confirm that there has been loss of life associated with this unforgiving virus. The nursing home has followed CDC procedures and has been in contact with our local health department.”