coronavirus

Pritzker Echoes Call to Limit Trips to Grocery Stores

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday echoed federal health officials' recommendation to limit trips to the grocery store and other essential travel as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force, made the suggestion during a briefing Saturday, saying that the next two weeks are "extraordinarily important" in the nation's response to the outbreak.

"This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the 6-feet distancing, washing your hands."

Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, told reporters on Monday that she hoped to see Americans follow the CDC guidelines “out of respect for every single healthcare worker that’s on the frontline.”

When asked about Birx's recommendation at his daily briefing on Monday, Pritzker agreed and noted the state's stay-at-home order limiting all non-essential travel through April 30.

"I understand exactly what she's saying, that if you can stock up - and we've talked about this before when we did the stay-at-home order to begin with - that people should try to stock up for a period of time, 14 days if they can," he said. "Certainly the less interaction that people have over an extended period of time, the more likely it is that we're going to be bending this curve."

"We already are seeing some evidence that what we've done with the stay-at-home order with keeping kids away from school, with closing down bars and restaurants and so on has had an impact but anything that people can do, I think this is great advice," Pritzker continued, noting that similarly, although there isn't an order to wear masks outside, but a recommendation, many people have begun to wear masks as well.

"I think any of these methods, any of these moves by people to stay at home and stay away from crowds is an excellent idea," he added.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady breaks down coronavirus case data across the city.

Admiral Brett Giroir, a doctor and another member of the White House coronavirus task force, elaborated on Birx's advice on NBC's "Today" Monday.

"We're all saying the same thing," he said. "You really need to keep your physical contact with others and with surfaces to the minimal possible."

"That does not mean go without medications. If you need to go to the pharmacy to get your medications, if you need to get groceries — do it. But don't go every day to the grocery store like many people do. Do it as infrequently possible."

"Anything you can do to protect yourself to avoid yourself from getting this virus and being in the hospital for a month or potentially facing death, I think it's advised to do that," Giroir continued.

Illinois health officials reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases across the state Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 12,262 in the state since the pandemic began. An additional 33 COVID-29 deaths reported Monday brings Illinois' total number of fatalities to 307, authorities said.

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