Mar 23, 2020
Illinoid Governor J. B. Pritzker Coronavirus Briefing March 23
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker held a press briefing today on COVID-19. He reported 236 new cases, and efforts to make more masks and other medical equipment. Read the full transcript here.
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J. B. Pritzker: (07:34)
Well, good afternoon and thank you all for joining us today. With me this afternoon our IDPH director, Dr [inaudible 00:07:41] and the Illinois National Guard director, our adjutant general Brigadier general Richard R Neely, as well as several industry leaders who I’ll introduce to you in just a few moments. Illinois is a state with a grand history of profound impact on our nation. We invented the cell phone here, the first widely used internet browser, and the first skyscraper. Time and time again the talented and forward thinking people of Illinois who call this state home have stood up to meet the challenges of their time and they’ve surpassed those challenges. Today in the face of the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, the people of Illinois have stepped up once again. Our innovative biotech companies and state of the art manufacturers are teaming up with the state of Illinois to ramp up production of personal protective equipment, also known as PPE through a newly launched alliance, the Essential Equipment Task Force. The Illinois Manufacturers Association, a statewide representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities will be coordinating manufacturers interested in donating or producing essential supplies that are FDA approved and sterilized.
J. B. Pritzker: (09:08)
Things like N95 masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators, sanitizer, face masks, and more. Many of these companies are re-purposing their facilities in order to meet critical demand. The Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization, also called iBIO, represents 85,000 life science employees across the state. The organization has launched a COVID-19 response fund to make direct purchases of protective products at a competitive rate. Going forward, the Essential Equipment Task Force will work with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to scale up to mass production of the FDA approved PPE that Illinois healthcare workers need. I’m incredibly grateful to and proud of these Illinois organizations for stepping up to this moment. We are lucky to have CEO and president of the IMA, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, Mark Denzler and CEO and president of iBIO John Conrad with us today to talk more about their collaboration’s, and how their companies and organizations and other organizations can get involved.
J. B. Pritzker: (10:25)
Mark and John will talk more about this later, but I want to emphasize to all of you, all of those in our audience today, that these factories will be adhering to strict social distancing guidelines to ensure that the workers behind the PPE are safe and healthy too. I can’t overstate how crucial this manufacturing capability will be in our fight against COVID-19. But we’re not just waiting for in state production. My administration continues to work day and night to scour the globe and the global supply chain. Today I can announce several new executed PPE contracts, 2.5 million 95 masks, one million disposable surgical masks, 11,000 gloves, and 10,000 single use personal protection kits. I want to be very clear with all of you, Illinois’ hospitals, and nursing homes, and first responders source and stock their own PPE. Additionally, due to the outside’s nature of its need, the city of Chicago maintains a stockpile of its own PPE.
J. B. Pritzker: (11:35)
Our state efforts are meant to supplement those and to support the institutions and municipalities across the state during this surge. I mentioned yesterday that we’ve had businesses and organizations from across the state contact us about donating additional PPE to support our response to COVID-19. These donations are counted separately from our existing supply. I would also like to make a direct ask to the owners of tattoo parlors, and nail salons, and elective surgery centers, and other facilities temporarily closed during this crisis to contact my administration about their stores of PPE. If you or your business would like to help us protect our first responders by donating PPE, please contact us at PPE.firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s PPE.email@example.com and someone will reach back out to you to seek your donations. Since the beginning, I’ve promised you transparency and honesty on all aspects of our response. To that end, I want to take a moment now to run you through our PPE requests with the federal government and what we’ve received from them thus far. It’s a long-
J. B. Pritzker: (13:03)
… [inaudible 00:13:00] and what we’ve received from them thus far. It’s a long list of numbers, but I want to make sure that the public has all the information so that you can better understand where we’re at, and our efforts moving forward. The graphics next to me on my left also lay this information out, and we’ll continue to make this information available to you as we move forward.
J. B. Pritzker: (13:23)
On March 6th, three days before we issued our disaster proclamation for the state, Illinois’ version of a state of emergency, the State of Illinois proactively requested a shipment of personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. The United States has the largest reserve of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies housed under the Federal Department of Health and Human Service. The stated purpose of this supply is to support states as well as local governments, during a quote, public health emergency, severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.
J. B. Pritzker: (14:03)
We received our first, and until this week, our only shipment of supplies from the federal government on March 12th. It was only a fraction of our original request. We asked for 1.2 million N95 masks, 600,000 of which would go to the state, 600,000 for local governments, and we received 123,000 total. That’s 10% of what we asked for. We also requested 900,000 surgical masks and we received 45,000. We asked for 1.6 million gloves, 400,000 for the state, and 1.2 million for local governments, and we received 163,000. We asked for 24,000 gowns, and we received a very welcome 45,000. We asked for 24,000 goggles, 4,000 for the state, and 20,000 for local governments, and we received none. We asked for 120,000 face shields, and we received 56,000. We asked for 4,000 respirators, of which we received none. We also received 230 coveralls. My Department of Public Health directed a proportionate amount of these supplies to every hospital and local health department in the state that initially requested supplies, 150 hospitals and 62 health departments, then focus the remainder of those supplies on the other areas of the state in most need.
J. B. Pritzker: (15:48)
On March 20th, we made an additional request to the federal government for PPE for our public safety workers. We asked for 7 million gloves, 1.74 million N95 masks, 900,000 gowns, 43,500 goggles, 85,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, 43,000 canisters of disinfectant wipes, and 1 million meals ready to eat. If you were listening really closely, you might’ve noticed that that was a different list of items, both in quantity and type than our March 6th list. In response, the federal government sent us the same size order that we received on March 12th, but no goggles, no hand sanitizer, no wipes, and no meals ready to eat. This latest shipment has a lot smaller percentage of gloves, N95 masks, and goggles than we requested.
J. B. Pritzker: (16:49)
I want to be clear, thanks to the willingness of Illinois manufacturers to support our state efforts, thanks to private and public donations, thanks to experienced public servants inside the federal agencies, and the military, thanks to the incredible pursuit of this supply chain by our Illinois Emergency Management Agency, our Illinois Department of Public Health and members of my own governor’s office, Illinois is acquiring PPE to compensate for what we haven’t received in our federal requests, but we are doing so while running up against obstacles that should not exist. I have medical professionals and first responders begging for things that they need to keep them safe, but so does Governor Cuomo in New York, so does Governor DeWine in Ohio, so does Governor Inslee in Washington State. We’re all doing everything that we can to do our jobs, which is to protect our residents and to make sure our health care workers have what they need.
J. B. Pritzker: (17:55)
We need the federal government to use the Defense Production Act to help the states get what we need. It’s the federal government’s job to make sure that a nurse being properly equipped in Illinois doesn’t come at the cost of a doctor being ready for work in California. It’s the federal government’s job to make sure that we have a cohesive, prepared, robust national response. It’s the federal government’s job to make sure that cash strapped states are not paying more than they should have to for supplies, that we are not watching prices go up by the hour, because we’re competing against one another, yet for the common good.
J. B. Pritzker: (18:38)
I’m in Illinois, and I’m a governor of Illinois, and I’m going to do everything that I can to protect our residents and get us through this crisis. I said I’d fight like hell for you, and I’m doing that every minute, of every hour of every day. One way or another, we need these supplies, and I have a whole team of people whose singular focus right now is working the phones across the world to get as much PPE as possible shipped to Illinois. They’re the force behind the 2.5 million N95 masks, 1 million disposable surgical masks, 11,000 gloves, and 10,000 personal protection kits that I just announced. And again, I’m an Illinoisian, but I’m also an American, and so long as I know that there’s action that the White House can take, things like aggressively wielding the Defense Production Act, or actually buying and distributing the supplies that they say they’re going to buy and distribute, I’ll do everything in my power to make that clear, on behalf of the people of this state and the more than 300 million Americans who don’t call Illinois home, because that’s the very baseline of what we all deserve.
J. B. Pritzker: (19:55)
I want to close by once again thanking all of you for covering these press conferences so ably. I want to thank the citizens of Illinois who are stepping up to assist their neighbors, and their families, and their friends, and their communities, and I want to thank the elected officials across this state in every city and town, Republicans and Democrats who have been calling and emailing my office with leads on supplies and potential donations. You keep us going every day. Thank you very much, and now I’d like to introduce my director of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike. Doctor.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (20:37)
Thank you, governor. So today, we report that there are 236 new cases of coronavirus disease here in Illinois, which brings our total to 1,285. Sadly, we also have to announce three deaths, which brings the total number of lives lost to COVID- 19 to 12. One additional county has been added to the roles of counties that have seen a case, and that new county is Monroe. 31 of our 102 counties have seen cases of COVID-19. As the governor mentioned, there is a desperate need for personal protective equipment or PPE, the gloves, the masks, the gowns that are needed to protect our first responders, our health care workers. Doctors, nurses, health care workers, including those who work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, they are on the front lines. We need to keep them healthy so that they can care for the most vulnerable among us who potentially could suffer severe illness, and of course, even death.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (21:54)
So we need to continue do our individual and collective parts. To reduce the rate of spread, we need to reduce the exposures and thus far, the people of Illinois have been doing just that. I thank each of you, for all of your responsible actions. This has been done through what has been called social distancing, or more appropriately, physical distancing. When you’re at the grocery store or you’re getting gas, you can still be social and say hello. You can talk with those you see, but just maintain that distance of at least six feet. We know that simply exchanging a smile can be a positive interaction that still honors the distancing guideline. The viruses pass through droplets when you cough or when you sneeze. By keeping the six feet of distance between you, you decrease the risk of becoming infected. But of course, the best way to protect yourself, your family, your friends, your loved ones, is to stay home. Follow the stay at home order, and we can all help decrease the rate of spread, and the number of people who become ill and ultimately, the number of lives that are lost.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (23:10)
Thank you. And now I will give a summary of the comments for our Spanish speaking population.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (23:20)
[Spanish 00:10: 21].
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (25:32)
And with that, I will turn it over to Mark Denzler, the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association.
Mark Denzler: (25:42)
Good afternoon, Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. Thank you, Governor Pritzker for your calm and steadfast leadership during this pandemic. I’d also like to thank the brave men and women who are on the front lines every single day, including women and men in manufacturing. Illinois is facing extraordinary times that rival some of the greatest challenges in our history.
Mark Denzler: (26:03)
It’s in extraordinary times that rival some of the greatest challenges in our history. While the headlines are grim and the task is daunting, Illinois manufacturers once again, stand ready to answer the call, conquer obstacles and lead the way forward. The Illinois Manufacturers Association is proud to partner with John Conrad at iBIO, an amazing leader and our partner to quickly, efficiently produce this needed medicine, personal protection equipment, medical devices, food and other products. Over the last few weeks, the Illinois Manufacturers Association has been inundated with offers from companies across Illinois. Some manufacturers are ramping up production of current products, while others are repurposing their facilities to meet the need. Liquor manufacturers are making sanitizer, clothing manufacturers are making masks and gowns, plastic injection molding companies are making parts for testing kits. This new essential equipment taskforce will help these companies collaborate, break down regulatory barriers in Washington D.C. Or Springfield, provide medical standards and testing and help review the validity and safety of these products.
Mark Denzler: (27:13)
Importantly, these products will remain in Illinois to help our families and our neighbors. We have a website where you can go to help www.ima-net.org and click on the dedicated COVID-19 page. There is a site-
Speaker 2: (27:29)
[inaudible 00:27:29] site.
Mark Denzler: (27:29)
Www. ima-net.org and click on the COVID-19 page, where if you’re a supplier you want to get involved with this. You can, Governor, once again, the IMA and Illinois manufacturers are proud to answer the call. We’re going to stand here with you and we’re going to get this done.
J. B. Pritzker: (27:50)
Mark Denzler: (27:51)
And now it’s my pleasure to introduce our partner, John Conrad, from iBIO.
John Conrad: (28:01)
Good afternoon. My name is John Conrad, I’m president and CEO of the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization, also known as iBIO. I want to thank Governor Pritzker for his leadership during this pandemic. iBIO is the association that represents the 85,000 life science employees in Illinois who work in the biopharma medical device and food and nutrition industries. Our life sciences community is leading the charge in the fight in Illinois against COVID-19. Illinois’ innovative companies are ramping up efforts to study the coronavirus and develop solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat this deadly infectious disease. As a community, we are proud to support governor Pritzker’s efforts to provide immediate support to the healthcare workers and first responders by partnering with Mark Denzler and the Illinois Manufacturers Association to launch the essential equipment task force. We are directing our members to make donations of unused personal protective and medical equipment to the task force, which will provide immediate support to the frontline healthcare workers in Illinois. And we’re leveraging our corporate leadership to work with the Illinois Manufacturers Association to assist Illinois manufacturers with technical capacities to begin short-term production of essential medical supplies.
John Conrad: (29:23)
We are also excited to announce that iBIO’s public charity, the iBIO Institute, is launching a COVID-19 response fund to coordinate corporate, private and philanthropic donations to make direct purchases of protective medical products to support Illinois based healthcare workers and first responders by leveraging our industry’s relationship with major distributors. As a community, we are coming together to help protect our healthcare workers and our first responders to combat COVID-19 in Illinois. For more information on our programs, you can visit www.ibio. org. Thank you, and I’d like to welcome the Governor back up to the podium to answer questions.
J. B. Pritzker: (30:09)
Thank you, John. Just a brief comment that I’m really proud of the companies represented by both iBIO and the Illinois Manufacturers Association for stepping up in this way. It’s so critically important for the future of the health and safety of the people of our state. I also want to just say about General Neely, who’s standing to my left here that he’s done just an outstanding job being of assistance to our healthcare professionals, helping us stand up drive through testing, making sure that we’re staffed appropriately where we need to be, his soldiers, his troops have just been tremendous. I mean, we often see them fighting floods for us across the state and doing other important things. It’s rare that we get to see them in action in what I would describe as professional capacities, truly helping the people of our state through this pandemic. So with that being said, happy to answer any questions you may have.
Speaker 3: (31:11)
Thank you. This [inaudible 00:31:12]. How soon will it get here and how much does it all cost?
J. B. Pritzker: (31:17)
So I’m not going to talk through what we’re paying because that would be giving away to others what they might, as we’re negotiating with others what we’re paying. But suffice to say that these orders are, many of them due over the next few days. We have stores of equipment, PPE that exist now, just to be clear, but, but we’re happy that we’re going to be able to fulfill on a lot of what we need at least in the relatively near future with the orders that we’ve made. Again, obtaining 2.5 million masks is a big deal, it really is. And so that’s going to protect an awful lot of people across our state, not only our healthcare workers but our first responders.
Speaker 4: (32:00)
J. B. Pritzker: (32:01)
Speaker 4: (32:02)
There’s a lot of people who are having to file for uninsurance, [inaudible 00:32:05] the economy tanking, [inaudible 00:32:09] that they cannot either get online and file claims because they’re getting errors and they sure can’t get through on the phone. What are you doing to help all these people-
J. B. Pritzker: (32:20)
Speaker 4: (32:21)
[crosstalk 00:32:21] claims.
J. B. Pritzker: (32:22)
So about unemployment claims, I mean, first of all, this is just an unprecedented number of people that are seeking unemployment claims during this time period. I don’t think we’ve ever seen this before, even in periods during the 2008, 2009 crisis. Having said that, we found over the weekend and over the last couple of days of the week that the systems that we had that were supporting the online applications wasn’t robust enough to take all of the applications that were coming in at one time. And so we’re porting that system entirely over to a much more expansive foundational software system and server, so we won’t have any of those problems going forward. So we’ve taken care of, I think the online problem, the phone line problem is another issue. We had to take non-essential staff and push them up to the front lines to answer phones to make sure we answered any questions. We would like anybody who needs to apply for unemployment though to go to the website, it really will be, it’s now a… As I say, it’s on a new platform. We’ll be able to take many more at the same time, we want to fulfill on people’s need during this crisis and we’re going to.
Speaker 5: (33:39)
Governor, the police had to break up a couple of parties yesterday. You distributed a number that you could call, they thought that their workplace would stay open when it shouldn’t. There have been people expressing concerns that they’re having to give up some of their civil liberties. I just want to ask you, how do you balance protecting the public health and protecting civil liberties? What do you say to people expressing [inaudible 00:08:02]?
J. B. Pritzker: (34:02)
Yep, so to be clear, we’re trying to protect people’s health and safety, that’s our number one job here. There’s no attempt here to limit people’s civil liberties, people can go outside, they can do an awful lot of the same things that they were doing before. We’ve simply asked that non-essential businesses close during this time period and that people make special effort to stay home. If you work in a essential business operation, which is many across the state, in a supply chain capacity, delivery, manufacturing, whatever it may be, in any of those positions, we want you to go to work. We want you to get to get paid and do your job, and we want you to also when you’re done to go home and stay home. We just need to do this for a period of time so that we can slow this virus down. This is really to protect people and health care workers all across our state, and to make sure that we don’t have our hospitals overrun during this time period. We need to slow it down, also because we’re in process of developing treatments and therapies, and the scientists and researchers need time to develop those therapies, and we don’t want so many people to get sick during this time period while we’re getting those therapies developed.
Speaker 6: (35:18)
We’re going to take one more question in the room.
Speaker 7: (35:20)
[inaudible 00:35:20] involved in, I mean we look at that chart, [inaudible 00:35:22] zero respirators [inaudible 00:35:24] federal government, is the state involved in drawing up guidelines for hospitals, heaven forbid we get into a situation of rationing. There are hospitals in New York City for instance that are in the process of doing that. Are you going to leave it up to the individual hospitals here in Illinois, or is the state getting involved in that process?
J. B. Pritzker: (35:40)
We are involved in that process, period. I was on the phone trying to get ventilators. I mean, talked to two CEOs yesterday afternoon, speaking to them about acquiring ventilators from them, we need to build up as many ventilators as we can. I should also point out that earlier today I reached out to the President of the United States. He returned my call a little after noon and I spoke with him directly about our need for N95 masks and for ventilators. And as you know, it’s very important that we acquire as many of these as we can. I have called for him to invoke the National Defense Production Act, and actually utilize it, because I know he’s invoked it but not utilized it in any industry. And when I called these ventilator manufacturers, and I gave this example to them, in one case they told me I was competing with FEMA to acquire ventilators. So I’m competing against the federal government to get ventilators for the state of Illinois. And the federal government is not distributing ventilators to the state of Illinois. So I’m literally working against a competitor.
Speaker 7: (36:56)
[inaudible 00:36:56] President, how was he responsive to this? How was the tone of the country?
J. B. Pritzker: (37:00)
I just want to give you the second example if you don’t mind. I called another manufacturer of ventilators and he pointed out to me that, well, I would be competing with countries other than the United States as I put an order in and that I better put in as big an order as possible, in order to put myself higher on the list of priority to get ventilators from that manufacturer. Now here I’m competing with my own federal government and I’m competing with countries outside the United States to get things that we need to keep our people safe and healthy. The President was very responsive, frankly. He said, he didn’t so much like the idea of invoking the Defense Production Act, but he did say, “What do you need? Let me see if I can get that for you,” and I gave him some numbers. I told him what we had from the government already and he said, “Let me work on that.” And so I really thought, it seems like he’s being very responsive to what I asked for and I hope that we’ll be able to receive those items in relatively short order.
Speaker 6: (38:05)
Okay. We’ll do Maryanne is the last one and then we’ve got [crosstalk 00:38:07] teleconference.
J. B. Pritzker: (38:06)
Speaker 8: (38:08)
[crosstalk 00:38:08] are still the rumors that you’ve talked about last week. Can you get us any details? There was [inaudible 00:38:15] 80 are there still only 80 national guard working and exactly what are they doing? Are they literally with guns at street [inaudible 00:38:24]?
J. B. Pritzker: (38:25)
The rumors that people are, I know, thank you for asking the question. I do want to dispel those rumors and anybody that watches the Twitter account of our National Guard gets to see the National Guard themselves, dispelling the rumors. But let me call up the man himself, our adjutant general, Rich Neely.
Rich Neely: (38:41)
Thank you Governor, and thank you again for your leadership. It is, and thank you for the question. It’s great to actually get that out in front of the media to dispel any rumors that the National Guard has any weapons. We’re not doing any police inaction, we’re not doing any kind of work at all like that. What we are doing is supporting-
Rich Neely: (39:02)
… Work at all like that. What we are doing is supporting testing within the Rosemont area this week. We just stood up a new testing facility. We have a hundred personnel that are taking care of testing now. These are our professional doctors, our nurses, our medical professionals that are supported by logistics folks that are there to manage that line and to help you know, our, our neighbors, our community folks in our community to get through and be tested. Today, they started out with the first responders. They started testing them early this morning to get them through and make sure that they’re good to go on their test.
Rich Neely: (39:43)
And then they’re opening more and more up to the public as we go forward. They’re also supporting, as the governor talked about PPE, that personal protective equipment. They’re also supporting accounting for that and distribution. As we get more and more of that coming in as the governor talked about the large orders coming in, they will be helping warehouse that. They’ll package that up. They’ll ship that out along with the Illinois Department of Transportation in conjunction with Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois State Police will be moving that and distributing around the state to different drop areas.
Rich Neely: (40:18)
We’re also doing hospital assessments. We’re going in with our specialized engineering team that we have out of our civil engineering team out of the Air National Guard, and they’re going around the state assessing hospitals that had been closed down previously that maybe provide additional capacity. So they’re actually looking at the heating, the plumbing and the electrical throughout those facilities and identifying which ones are easy to quickly turn on if we need that additional capacity and which are not. We’re also providing support with operations planning and management.
Rich Neely: (40:53)
So when the governor talks about the professionalism that’s brought out by the National Guard, these are, these are your citizen soldiers, your soldiers that work for the Army and your Air Force personnel that worked for the Air Force that are trained in many different skillsets. And unlike a flood where a lot of times we’re doing a lot of security and management and supporting flood operations, this time they’re bringing out some really key needed specialties such as medical and logistics and transportation. That’s what your National Guard brings, unique capabilities and capacity.
Rich Neely: (41:28)
When the state runs out of capacity, because we have so many people working, they come forward and they provide that extra lift. So you’ll see trucks around the Chicagoland area. You’ll see when we show up in camouflage, we tend to draw a crowd, but we’re not bringing weapons. We’re not bringing anything like that. We’re bringing our professional skills to help out. So thank you again for that question.
Speaker 9: (41:50)
We’re going to get to some of them from our reporters not in the room.
J. B. Pritzker: (41:53)
Sorry. We have some online.
Speaker 9: (41:55)
Community health centers in Illinois have canceled all preventative medical and dental appointments in the name of social distancing. So without that income, many say they’ll go broke. The delegation has written you for help. What state help is available?
J. B. Pritzker: (42:07)
Yep. So number one, we want to make sure that those health centers are able to reopen soon as possible. We’re working with our federal partners to make sure that there’s aid made available to local health centers. Those are obviously very important as frontline healthcare providers, so we’ll be working with our federal delegation, Democrats and Republicans to get something done in either the current stimulus bill or in one of the future ones, which I know we’re going to see
Speaker 9: (42:37)
on Friday. I asked IDs whether 10 99 independent contractors including gig economy workers are able to receive unemployment insurance during this time, and I was told, no, I know payroll taxes aren’t being paid on them, but why not temporarily open up unemployment insurance to these workers like hairstylist, freelancers, nannies, and substitute teachers? What other financial relief can the state provide to them?
J. B. Pritzker: (43:00)
Well, you’ve seen some wrangling going on in Washington, DC in this stimulus bill. It’s in part to protect your interests, the very people that are asking this question. Democrats are standing up and saying that those who aren’t currently covered by unemployment need to have that coverage. That’s something that needs to be made available in the bill that’s going through the Senate now. This is the latest stimulus bill. The Republicans seem to want to give a lot of money to companies, not require that any of that money go to their workers and not provide anything for gig workers or hourly workers.
J. B. Pritzker: (43:38)
We want to make sure that we stand up for them, that we don’t make the same mistakes in the United States that were made in 2008 and 2009 where really no controls were put on the money that was handed out and much of that money could end up being used for stock buy backs or something else instead of helping average families, middle-class, working class families across the state.
Speaker 9: (44:00)
What kind of response have you gotten regarding the former medical professionals coming back to work?
J. B. Pritzker: (44:06)
Well, so far, we only opened it up this morning. You could click on the link and download the form and fill it out. And so we’ll see over the next few days the response. But I know that I’ve heard directly and indirectly on Twitter, even, of people who are just glad to step forward and be of service. And so we’re excited to see the influx of workers that we know will want to help out.
Speaker 9: (44:33)
What is Illinois’ hospital bed capacity and how close to reaching it are we right now and what does the state’s ICU bed capacity and how close are we to reaching it?
J. B. Pritzker: (44:42)
Well, we’re going to be talking about that tomorrow. Right now, we’re in decent shape across the state. We’ll be talking about capacity, the number of beds available, how full they are now and how we’re that capacity. You heard General Neeley talking about the facilities that we’re looking at opening up. We also, as we acquire ventilators and make sure that we’re able to put the equipment with beds, we can actually upgrade some of the existing beds to something that’s akin to an ICU bed. And so we’re really upgrading the entire system and expanding it.
J. B. Pritzker: (45:18)
But again, we’ll report on that tomorrow at tomorrow’s daily press conference at 2:30.
Speaker 9: (45:23)
What exactly are the limits of your executive powers in an emergency? And are there any examples where those limits have restrained you from taking action that you would have otherwise taken?
J. B. Pritzker: (45:33)
I think we’ve taken the actions that we could and should take and the people of Illinois really have been very responsive to that. I think many of you can see that, that people are going to work, they’re operating under kind of social distancing norms. People even standing in line to get something to eat at a takeout, they’re operating with six feet between them as they stand in line. Even at grocery stores for the most part we’ve seen that people are living by those kind of social distancing norms. So far, I think what we intended to have happen here is happening and we’ll see over the next couple of weeks.
J. B. Pritzker: (46:15)
We want to make sure that we’re bending this curve and it’ll be hard to judge in the first few days here for sure. But we are increasing testing and again, we’re going to talk more about that tomorrow. We’re increasing testing and that really allows us to start to judge are we truly bending the curve. Because we know we have a pretty good idea based upon the statistics on the modeling where this would go if we didn’t do what we had done. So now we’re going to see where we actually end up.
Speaker 10: (46:44)
We’ll take one last question from the room.
Speaker 11: (46:46)
I have a question actually coming from a reporter who wants to know, asked me to ask this. Can you tell us how many people with the virus are actually hospitalized and how many are now on ventilators?
J. B. Pritzker: (47:01)
I’d asked, I’m not sure Dr. Ngozi has those numbers with her, but I’d ask her to answer.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (47:05)
I don’t have those numbers on me, but I can tell you that our statistics have looked common to what the global statistics have been and that approximately 15 to 20% of people who contract the virus end up with some hospitalization and about 5% end up in ICU care.
Speaker 11: (47:25)
And ICU care means ventilator for sure?
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (47:28)
No, you can be in the ICU without being on a ventilator. So, 5% needed that heightened level of medical care, which constitutes the intensive care unit, not necessarily … A smaller percentage of the 5% would be on the ventilator.
Speaker 12: (47:42)
Dr. Ngozi, you said people seem to be cooperating with the governor’s orders, what is the best information you have from the medical professionals as how long this is likely to last if people to do as the governor has requested the state?
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (47:58)
Right. So as the governor just mentioned, we are working over our prediction model and so we know in the absence of any interventions what the expected rate of rise and how high we thought this could get day to day. And so as we plot the changes that we have made and try to give it the time for it actually to take effect, closing the schools, closing bars and restaurants, you’re not going to get the effect the next day because people who are already infected are already infected and have already exposed other people. So again, the incubation period of the virus being about 14 days, we know that any action that you take would take a minimum of one incubation period, if not two incubation periods to really see the effects.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (48:42)
So we continue to mark the curve and to mark the changes and see how we’re doing day by day. But really, we’re in this for the long haul. It’s not something that in two days we can say we’re there, but week to week we can be able to get pretty good idea that some of these interventions have caused us to fall lower than what the predicted numbers were.
Speaker 10: (49:04)
Okay. Thank you everyone.
J. B. Pritzker: (49:06)
Speaker 10: (49:06)
Speaker 13: (49:24)
Yes. Reporter downstate.
Speaker 12: (49:33)
Speaker 13: (49:33)
Springfield or she covered the state house. But I don’t remember. Okay. Yeah. I don’t remember [inaudible 00:49:42]. yeah. Hey guys. Thanks. It’s nice to see you all. Take care, everybody. [inaudible 00:49:50].