Pritzker: Communities of color most at risk from COVID-19

IDPH reports 2,270 new confirmed cases, 136 virus-related deaths

By REBECCA ANZEL, Capitol News Illinois

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, as she does during every COVID-19 daily update, provides the number of new confirmed cases (2,270) and deaths (136) related to the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours during  Wednesday’s news conference in Chicago. (Credit:

The novel coronavirus is unequally affecting Illinois communities of color, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday.

“Because of decades of disparities in health care access and delivery, we’ve seen the worst effects of this pandemic fall disproportionately upon the backs of communities of color in our state,” he said during his daily briefing in Chicago. “That’s especially true in our black communities, our Native American communities and our Latinx communities.”

The state also released data showing those who identify as Latinx have five times the COVID-19 positivity rate than Illinois’ average.

Of the residents who were tested, about half completed their demographic information. Of those, 7.6 percent identified as Hispanic, and of those, nearly 16,000 tested positive for the virus.

The Pritzker administration “has made it a priority” to partner with testing facilities across the state in areas where the population is most at risk.

“Decades of institutional inequities and obstacles for members of our Latinx communities are now amplified in this pandemic, and while we can’t fix generations of history in the span of a few months, we must advance equity in our public health response today everywhere and anywhere we can,” the governor said.

Each of the seven state-run drive-thru facilities offer language services, and other testing sites located in LatinX communities were chosen based on their emphasis on accessibility.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported COVID-19 sickened 68,232 residents, up 2,270 confirmed cases from Tuesday. Laboratories processed 14,974 tests in the past 24 hours.

In the same time period, 136 Illinoisans died in 13 counties. That brings the total fatality count in Illinois to 2,974.

The governor said there are “thousands” of free hotel rooms available for those residents asked to isolate from their families or roommates. Meals, medical assistance and other services are available in these accommodations.

To access a room, he said residents should contact their local health department.

Pritzker said “it’s on us to change the way we think about face coverings” and to be sure to wear one when in a public area where social distancing is difficult.

Wearing a face covering is “a collective act of patriotism,” he added.

He called on Illinoisans to report mask-related discrimination by contacting the Illinois Department of Human Rights at