The state of Illinois has reported more than 1,000 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the state's total number of cases to 12,262 since the pandemic began.
In addition, the state has reported 33 additional deaths, bringing the state's total number of fatalities to 307 as a result of COVID-19.
"We have people of all ages that are passing away. The trauma of losing a loved one can have far reaching consequences," Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health said during the Monday briefing. "Beyond just that, we know that people could have ongoing medical problems associated with COVID-19."
In all, 73 of Illinois' 102 counties are now reporting cases, with both Jefferson and Wabash now reporting their first cases.
"Please stay at home," Ezike said. "Protect our healthcare workers and the limited supply of PPE currently available. You don’t want to be the person who spreads the virus to a healthcare worker. Everyone’s actions matter. They’re critical."
Pritzker said last week that he expects Illinois cases will peak in the later part of April. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has warned the city could see upwards of 40,000 hospitalizations and U.S. health experts worry Cook County could become one of the nation's next hotspots.
"Just because you hit a peak doesn't mean you're going to fall precipitously to zero," Pritzker said Thursday. "Once we get to that peak we're all going to be praying that we come off that peak quickly, but we might not...we might be flattened at that peak."
Already, the state is bringing back online once-shuttered hospitals and has transformed Chicago's McCormick Place convention center into an alternate care facility for patients with mild symptoms.
Across Illinois and the country, Americans are being encouraged to wear masks or face coverings if they have to head outside.
"There’s no order to wear a mask, but I’ve encouraged everyone to do so," Pritzker said.
Officials worry that this week's warmer weather could lead to potential violations of the statewide stay-at-home order, which remains in effect through the month of April.
"Please stay home," Ezike said. "I assure you if people congregate tomorrow, we will set the state back in our fight against COVID-19."