CLINTON — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker walked to the podium with his head down with papers in hand. As he lowered the microphone and looked out onto the gaggle of press and televisions cameras, he sighed deeply and said that COVID-19 has taken more lives in his state.
“It brings me great pain to announce we have had three more deaths in Illinois associated with COVID-19,” Pritzker said to reporters in Chicago. “ One was a Will County resident in his 50s. A second, a Cook County resident in her 80s, and a third was a Florida resident in her 70s who was visiting in Sangamon County”
The coronavirus continues to invade Illinois. The number of confirmed positive cases now is 422, up 134 from the day before, spanning over 22 counties, including nearby Whiteside County.
Pritzker said people should be informed about the virus and make sure they are listening to credible sources when getting their information. He shot down rumors that he wanted to close interstates and bridges and said he will never shut down essential things and businesses like that.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the COVID-19 confirmed cases number will continue to rise because more people are being tested. Self-distancing and staying indoors could help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, she said.
“We ask everyone to please, stay home as much as possible,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, “so we can reduce the number of people who are infected and potentially suffer serious illness, including death.”
A little over 330 miles to the west of Chicago, Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds took to the podium to give residents in the Hawkeye state the latest information on COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, there are a total of 44 cases, in more than 13 counties, the majority of them less than 90 miles away from Clinton, in Johnson County. Reynolds said she and her team are working tirelessly around the clock to stay ahead of the coronavirus.
“Iowans understand that we are in this together,” Reynolds said. “Although, I don’t know what the days ahead will hold and when life will return to normal, I do know there is no state and no people that are better prepared to weather the storm, than Iowa.”
There are no confirmed cases in Jackson County and Clinton County. Health officials are putting themselves in prime position to be ready for the day that COVID-19 makes its way to the Gateway Area.
Michele Cullen, community health manager of Clinton County, said that, along with community partners, officials have planning how to respond.
“We say, it’s not if it’s going to happen, but when it’s going to happen,” Cullen said. “Things are going, really, as well as we can expect it, until we get the community spread.”
Cullen says things are very fluid, and officials try to stay on top of this virus by meeting and brainstorming daily with their partners throughout the area.
Health officials continue to urge residents to take this virus seriously as it is impacting everyone more and more each day.