Pritzker calls for more testing, shares regional data critical to reopening

Gov. Pritzker said people are free to cross state borders if they understand the risks associated with doing so.

Editor’s NoteIn an effort to keep the public informed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have removed the paywall from this article. All listed data is pulled directly from IDPH and St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. There may be discrepancies between the reported statistics. 
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By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker spoke today about the hospital capacity across the state and in each region, sharing how reopening could happen by region. Despite record testing numbers, the governor also said it isn’t enough. He also hinted that more strict orders could be a result if spikes in numbers occur as more people gather.

Asked about who enforces the rules regarding gatherings of less than 10 individuals and ensuring social distancing, Pritzker said “We have always asked local law enforcement and local officials to enforce these orders.”

He added that he is asking local law enforcement to disperse gatherings, not necessarily cite people unless they are defiant. “We’re asking them to disperse. That’s the most important thing. We just don’t want people getting sick, and it’s not an intention that people will go to jail. I will say however, that if people are persistently defiant, they can be put in jail. I’m not suggesting that’s the best answer or the first answer, but it is something that’s an option for local law enforcement.”

The governor said he believes the flattening of the curve is due to the majority of people following the rules, but if people consistently break the rules and gather causing a spike in the virus, it could lead to “more stringent executive orders.”

However, when asked about residents crossing the border into other states to utilize services that aren’t yet available or allowed in Illinois, Pritzker said “Understand there are risks associated with that, and I would discourage people from doing it, but understand that people are free to do what they want as they may leave the state.”

The governor has repeatedly ignored questions about his own family flying to Florida to their equestrian estate, leading to ire from Illinoisans who say his family isn’t following orders.

He did say that phased reopening plans will be made available to the public before May 30.

State numbers, hospitalizations, and regions:

In the last 24 hours, labs across the state have processed 13, 834 tests. Pritzker previously called for a state benchmark of at least 10,000 tests per day, but with over 10 straight days of testing above the benchmark. To date, Illinois has performed 333,147 tests.

“We’re not doing enough testing across the state now. Again, I want to remind everybody we’re doing the second most testing among the ten most populous states, but no state is doing enough testing. We need to vastly increase the amount of testing we’re doing, even though, you know, we’re doing a lot,” he said. Pritzker said that expanded testing was the key to reopening.

There was an increase of 2,341 new cases in the past 24 hours for a state total of 63,840 cases. There have also been an additional 46 deaths for a state total of 2,662 COVID-19 fatalities. This is the second day in a row that there have been under 100 deaths.

On April 26, hospital utilization was at 4,672 hospitalized COVID patients. “As of midnight last night, May 3, that number had reduced to 4,493,” said Pritzker.

ICU beds occupied by COVID patients on April 5 were at 43 percent of the 2,709 statewide beds, and as of midnight last night 33 percent of 3,681 available ICU beds.

Ventilator usage is down, and the temporary McCormick Place hospital is being deconstructed due to non-use, which the governor said is a good thing, and indicative of most people following orders. The hospital will be deconstructed slowly over a number of weeks in case of a spike as restrictions loosen.

“When combined with ICU beds occupied by non-COVID identified patients, that leaves about 933 ICU beds available statewide,” Pritzker said, before announcing statistics by region, which are “designated by their interconnected networks of emergency medical services. These are the regions that existed before the novel coronavirus,” he said.

Regions include Bellwood, West Chicago, Champaign, Marion, Edwardsville, Peoria, and Rockford.

When asked about reopening regions, Pritzker said “Think of the state not in the typical way that you think of regions, but rather health care regions…. A spike in one area that happens to have 25 hospital beds, or 25 ICU beds available, if there’s a significant spike in that area, 25 is not a big number, and so we want to make sure we are able to handle a spike, because that’s what potentially can occur if we reopen things too fast.”

That number seemed to be a nod to the Edwardsville region, in which St. Clair County is located.

Region 4, Edwardsville Region:

Cases by County-

Sangamon County: 212 cases, 11 deaths

Morgan County: 24 cases, 1 death

Scott County: 0 cases

Pike County: 1 case

Calhoun County: 1 case

Greene County: 3 cases

Macoupin County: 34 cases

Montgomery County: 29 cases, 1 death

Christian County: 28 cases, 4 deaths

Madison County: 365 cases, 26 deaths

Bond County:6 cases, 1 death

St. Clair County: 570 cases, 49 deaths

Washington County: 13 cases

Clinton County: 114 cases, 5 deaths

Monroe County: 73 cases, 12 deaths

Randolph County: 182 cases, 1 death

Regional totals: 1,655 cases and 124 deaths

Region 4 Hospitalization Utilization:

ICU Capacity: 91 beds

ICU Availability: 25 beds

ICU Utilization: 73 percent

Ventilator Capacity: 136

Ventilator Availability: 111

Ventilator Utilization: 18 percent

St. Clair County numbers:

St. Clair County now has 570 cases and 49 deaths, with 20 new cases and two new deaths in the past 24 hours. 2,345 residents have been tested, and 1,739 tests have been negative. 35 tests are still pending result.

The county currently has 59 COVID-19 related patients hospitalized, five of which are on ventilators. “The number of people hospitalized today is ten above what it was on May 1, so we are seeing an uptick,” said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

St. Clair County is changing how it announces long term care facility numbers to long term congregate living facilities, as outbreaks are now occurring in other group home settings.

Long term congregate living facilities in outbreak status:

BRIA of Belleville: 12 cases, 2 deaths

BRIA of Cahokia: 5 cases, 0 deaths

Caritas Family Solutions in Belleville: 6 cases, 0 deaths

Colonnade of O’Fallon: 3 cases, 0 deaths

Four Fountains in Belleville: 61 cases, 12 deaths

Help at Home in O’Fallon: 5 cases, 0 deaths

Memorial Care Center in Belleville: 43 cases, 5 deaths

St. Paul’s Home in Belleville: 5 cases, 1 death

Lebanon Care Center in Lebanon: 33 cases, 4 deaths

St. Clair County Zip Code Totals: