Daily Journal

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 1,346 confirmed cases in Illinois in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total of 24,593 in the state. Residents in 89 counties are affected.

There were 80 additional virus-related deaths in 12 counties over that same time, bringing the state’s total fatality count to 948.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the department’s director, said “community mitigation strategies” such as washing hands frequently, cleaning commonly used items, wearing a mask when outside and social distancing are contributing to a “slowed rate of increase.”

Both she and Gov. JB Pritzker said the number of residents who have or had COVID-19 is likely higher than what the state reports due to lack of available tests.

“We have to stay the course,” Ezike said. “Remember that actions that we take today will set us up for a better future. We are doing this together.”

The governor added that one “mitigation measure” he is contemplating is a mandate for residents to wear masks in public.

“Anything that we can do going forward that will protect people and at the same time make it more likely that we can have slightly different conditions for stay-at-home, better conditions, is a good move,” Pritzker said.

The governor said he will rely on epidemiologists, scientists and other experts to determine what measures should be taken to protect Illinoisans.

His administration is still considering what steps should be taken by April 30 to either lift or extend the stay-at-home order.

“My No. 1 consideration, my No. 1 consideration, is the life, safety and health of the people of our state,” Pritzker said. “...We’ve got to [make these decisions] in a fashion that really works for everybody so we keep customers safe, that we keep workers safe.”

The governor added, “decisions need to be made soon” about schools, so parents and students have an idea of what the next two months will be like. A final determination will come “in the next two weeks,” he said.

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