Apr 9, 2020

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Briefing Transcript April 9

Illinois Governor Coronavirus April 9
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsIllinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Briefing Transcript April 9

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker’s coronavirus press conference from today, April 9. He said he has doubts about summer 2020 festivals and it’s very unlikely the stay-at-home order will be lifted early.

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J.B. Pritzker: (00:00)
Breakfast and lunch that Quincy children receive from their local public schools. Fighting for those needing behavioral health services, health care alternative systems, has restructured its operations to expand telehealth and phone counseling options for those seeking services to battle addiction or work through mental health needs. Fighting for our healthcare workers, Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey gathered up critical PPE from their health sciences program and donated hundreds of boxes of masks and gloves, gowns, and hand sanitizer to local hospitals. Fighting to provide services and housing for the homeless, La Casa Norte continues to help individuals throughout DuPage, Kendall, Cook and Kane counties find permanent shelter for themselves and for their families.

J.B. Pritzker: (00:53)
Fighting for small businesses, the communities of Southern Illinois came together to launch Marion United, a livestream benefit featuring local artists, musicians, and community leaders sharing hope and encouragement. They raised nearly $200,000 from hundreds of donors, money that will go directly to support local businesses that have been impacted.

J.B. Pritzker: (01:20)
Fighting for equitable community support, the Latino Policy Forum has worked to ensure early education providers serving essential workers in the Illinois Latino community to make sure that they have the diapers and wipes and formula that they need to support the families they serve. And they’re doing the same to ensure fair food access statewide.

J.B. Pritzker: (01:47)
I could go on, but the point is that all across Illinois, individuals, and communities, and nonprofits, and grassroots organizations have stepped up to meet this moment. I am very, very proud of each and every one of them, and I hope you are, too. Know that everywhere that you look, there are helpers. And the truth is that Illinois is home to the kindest and most generous people in the entire nation.

J.B. Pritzker: (02:15)
One final item. Over 45,000 people have now answered our call to volunteer through Serve Illinois, our State Commission on Volunteerism, or Illinois Helps, our volunteer network of health professionals. If you’d like to join them or learn about other ways that you can volunteer or help such as donating blood or offering financial support to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov and scroll down to the volunteer opportunities section on the main page. Again, that’s coronavirus.illinois.gov.

J.B. Pritzker: (02:56)
So thank you. And now I’d like to hand it over our Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, for today’s medical update. Doctor.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (03:08)
Thank you, Governor, and thank you for sharing all that great news about people in organizations doing great work. And I think you’ve inspired many people to be a part of this great effort, and so thank you for your continued leadership. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been tremendous. The community partners, hospitals, healthcare providers, individuals, people who are keeping our essential businesses running. Of course, are first responders, we could never forget them. And I have to tout again our public health frontline workers. It’s time for another shout out to our public health officials. This week is National Public Health Week, so it’s officially the time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (03:56)
This pandemic is certainly testing the public health system. The IDPH laboratories are working around the clock now seven days a week, multiple shifts, testing specimens for COVID-19 and communicable disease experts are issuing guidance on an extensive range of issues and tracking cases. Our preparedness staff are monitoring and working to increase supplies, check on the capacity of the hospitals, and doing that all across the state. I want to say thank you to my public health professionals, but also thank you to the doctors and the nurses and the community organizations. Thank you to the essential workers that show up to work everyday to make sure that all the people of Illinois have the supplies and the products that they need. We’re all working together in our various ways, although we’re keeping it at a six foot distance.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (04:50)
I want to encourage you to check on your neighbors and your elderly friends, of course, by phone. While we need people to stay at home, we don’t want to learn about people who are dying at home from COVID-19 because of fears of being infected or being scared to seek out medical care. We want everyone to receive the care that they need. Our hospitals have the ability and will take care of you. If you or a loved one is very sick or seem to be getting worse, do not hesitate to call your healthcare provider or call 911 and explain that you have worsening respiratory symptoms. We know that COVID-19 can be a life-threatening disease.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (05:38)
Unfortunately, I have to report an additional 66 lives that have been cut short to bring us to a total of 528 deaths here in Illinois. There are 1,344 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, bringing our total case count to 16, 422. We are all making sacrifices, and I ask you to stay the course. We are headed in the right direction because of all the tremendous efforts by all of you. All of these actions are making the difference and we must continue to work together. And now I will translate comments for our Spanish speaking population.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (06:24)
[foreign language Spanish 00: 06:24]

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (09:24)
And with that, I am happy to turn it back over to Governor Pritzker.

J.B. Pritzker: (09:28)
Thank you.

Speaker 1: (09:29)
Reporters, please let Claire get you a microphone so that the people who are listening online can hear your questions.

Speaker 2: (09:35)
Good afternoon, Governor, pool reporter today. Lots of questions, so bear with. So this is either for the Governor or Dr. Ezike, the CDC put out this Wednesday about a Chicago super-spreader and how that they attract him. What is this case show over all and the warning to people that continue to live their life as they normally would?

J.B. Pritzker: (09:55)

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (09:58)
No, I mean the guidance remains the same. We know that-

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (10:03)
… anybody can catch this virus and that means anybody can transmit it. It’s irresponsible to not take the necessary precautions to protect not only yourself but those around. I’ve heard of people saying, “Oh, I’m young, I’m sure I’ll be fine.” It’s not enough to say that because while you might be fine, the person that you infect might not be as fine. And so I’m begging and urging people to look beyond themselves. And I know this messages is obvious to most people, but to the few who think that this is not something for them to act on, please think beyond yourself. Think beyond just your immediate family. If you think nobody is at high risk, just remember that there are those who contracting that virus from you, it could literally end their lives.

Speaker 3: (10:55)
And again, Dr Ezike, why are some zip codes seeing more cases than other cases? 60645 in Chicago’s northwest side is leading the state. 272 cases. Are public health officials investigating that area for potential reasons behind the higher level of cases there?

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (11:11)
Yes, we know that there are higher risk areas. There are zip codes where there may be more cases. First of all, let’s not put all our eggs in the zip codes and the tallies that we have there, because we do know that there are many more positive cases than we have actually tested and confirmed. Again, working as hard as we can to get those testing numbers up and increasing that capacity.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (11:35)
But nevertheless, for every case that you find, there are many others. So it doesn’t mean… Again, we’ve been stressing that significantly that even if you think you don’t have a case in your zip code, that’s probably not actually the case.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (11:49)
But we do know that there are areas, communities, neighborhoods where there’s a higher density of people with whether it’s comorbid conditions that predispose to serious complications and death. We know that there are certain ethnic groups that have these high risks. African Americans we know have a higher risk of hypertension, other cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity. These are all significant risk factors that portend to higher complications including death.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (12:23)
So it’s not necessarily news that we have zip codes that have more spread. And you also have to think about density in certain communities and in certain households. We do have multiple examples of families where multiple people have contracted the virus. Multiple people in the same family have died. And that might be based on how different communities live, where there are extended family members that live in a single dwelling, which would obviously cause more spread because we’ve seen that the first people to get the virus from an index case are people who are in their household contact. That’s the closest contact.

Speaker 3: (13:03)
Perfect. Thank you. Governor, what feedback have you gotten from small business owners about how the minimum wage increase in July could affect business recovery issues?

J.B. Pritzker: (13:13)
It’s only been the large business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce who have brought this up. The truth is that I think the current conditions actually indicate to you more than ever before, why we need to raise the minimum wage across the state. So look, we’re all concerned to make sure that we bring this economy back to where it could be, should be after we’re able to get past the peak and past the danger that this poses for many people. But that is very frankly, it’s unrelated to the rise in the minimum wage, which is a very small raise. Each year it goes up by a little bit and it’s a very small raise that’s coming in July relative to the entire raise which will happen over a six year period.

Speaker 3: (14:04)
Okay. And governor, the rules of unemployment were supposed to change to allow them to apply for benefits. But we’re hearing from many people that IDES has not yet allowed them access to apply. Is there a timeframe on when this will happen? Any advice for those people?

J.B. Pritzker: (14:19)
Well, there are federal benefits, you’re right, that were provided in the federal bill. But almost no state has this available to them because you’ve got to build a system for that. That’s not just something you can add on to your existing system. So we’ve hired the necessary personnel. We’ve hired the outside provider who can build the system for us and it’ll be up in the coming weeks.

Speaker 3: (14:43)
So coming weeks kind of the timeline for that.

J.B. Pritzker: (14:45)
Yes. And again, we’ve got we’ve hired the best. They’re working as expeditiously as they can. Every state has this challenge. So we’re going to do it as fast as we possibly can.

Speaker 3: (14:56)
And last question for me, unless more come in, across the state line, there’s a community that’s changed their Fourth of July plans. What should we expect for the summer? And could we go through this again, come fall or winter?

J.B. Pritzker: (15:08)
Yes. In short, yes. The fact of the matter is that we are not going to be truly able to begin to move on until we have testing, much greater testing, contact tracing and treatment. Test, trace and treat. We have to have those available. That’s even before there’s a vaccine. But you have to have all of those. You have to have testing widely available. You have to be able to easily contact trace for anybody that tests positive. So we know all the people they’ve talked, have been in contact with in the last 14 perhaps 17 days. And then of course there needs to be some treatment to bring down the level of hospitalization, the level of ICU beds that are necessary. And of course the number of deaths.

Speaker 4: (16:00)
Governor, your counterpart in New York said this morning that they’re working to ramp up testing sites in the African American community. You are well aware of Chicago’s situation. What is being done here in Chicago to get more testing in the African American community?

J.B. Pritzker: (16:14)
We’re doing that very same thing. In fact I was just talking this morning and yesterday morning about a drive through site that we intend to put up in the south suburbs in a heavily African American community. We’re looking at other sites. And the placement of testing sites is directly related to who’s getting tested of course. So we wanted to make sure that we spread those five minute tests or the five to 15 minute tests, the rapid tests into communities where we know we have significant issues like the African American community.

J.B. Pritzker: (16:52)
So those 15 machines that you heard me talk about yesterday that we’re trying to get more testing capability through, we want to make sure that when those tests come in that many of those are placed in communities where particularly African American communities, where we have more vulnerability than others.

Speaker 4: (17:10)
We were hearing from the mayor also this morning about the money, the city, the CTA, CPS is expecting to get from the federal stimulus bill. Have you got an estimate as to how much Illinois is going to be getting on that? If you already talked about that, forgive me.

J.B. Pritzker: (17:23)
You mean just on schools or overall?

Speaker 4: (17:25)
Just overall.

J.B. Pritzker: (17:25)
Overall, yes. By virtue of the last bill that was passed, and remember there was a series of bills. There was a third bill. The third relief bill, it was named the CARES Act, but it was actually the third in a series. That bill had about $2.9 billion of reimbursement for COVID related expenses to support the states. Sorry, the State of Illinois, $2.9 billion just for the State of Illinois. Actually let me revise that. It’s about $2.7 billion, apologize. And then there’s about $2.1 billion that’s going to cities across the state as well for various purposes.

J.B. Pritzker: (18:09)
So we do know what the amounts are. The rules around it are still in flux. There is some discussion by the treasury secretary Mnuchin about adjustment of the rules because states operate differently one to another, how they manage all of their affairs, and it isn’t maybe written quite the right way in the bill, but it allows the Treasury Department to make adjustments to how you get reimbursed. So I’m optimistic anyway that we’ll be able to get the full $2.7 billion in reimbursement.

Speaker 5: (18:44)
Governor, as many undocumented residents living here in the State of Illinois, mostly Latino, working families suffering this crisis as everybody else without help from the federal government. What’s your message to this population and what kind of help they can get from the state during this crisis?

J.B. Pritzker: (19:04)
So you’re speaking specifically of undocumented immigrants in the State of Illinois. A number of ways we’re providing support. One of the major ways is through the COVID-19 relief fund, which is ILCovidResponseFund.org and people can apply for direct relief there or through organizations that are recipients of those funds. So that’s one way. There are numerous programs in the State of Illinois that are not related to federal relief that therefore allow us to support any resident of the State of Illinois, whether they’re a US citizen or not.

Speaker 6: (19:52)
Okay. We’ll go to some questions from reporters online. A lawmaker on Twitter said they would like me to say who the question is coming from. So I’m going to try and do that. This is from Lisa Donovan at the Chicago Tribune.

Speaker 7: (20:03)
With Doctor Ezike saying the rate of COVID-19 cases seeming to be slowing and one of the more trusted COVID-19 forecasting models showing Illinois could peak come Sunday and that the number of deaths are about half of what’s been predicted, I have two questions.

Speaker 7: (20:18)
Is the governor concerned that the public may throw caution to the wind and ignore the stay at home order and/or does this latest data suggest that the stay at home order may be lifted before April 30th?

J.B. Pritzker: (20:29)
I am worried about people throwing caution to the wind and seeing a nice day outside and thinking that they’re not in danger. You heard Doctor Ezike talking about how some young people think that they’re invincible, that this virus won’t affect them. So everybody needs to know that if we are improving and it’s still up in the air, but if we are improving here in the state, it is because people are staying at home. That is something to keep in mind.

J.B. Pritzker: (21:00)
So if you don’t stay home, if you go out, you have some propensity to infect other people and we need you to stay at home. We need this curve to bend and then we can begin to talk about how we can begin to open things up a little bit more.

J.B. Pritzker: (21:20)
On the second point, which was, sorry, the question about whether we’re?

Speaker 7: (21:25)
Do you think it will be lifted before April 30th?

J.B. Pritzker: (21:30)
Yeah. Look, we talk a lot about peaking and we talk a lot about how we’re bending the curve. The curve is still upward trajectory and so just because we’re bending the curve does not mean it’s bending down yet and so people need to understand that it is unlikely that we will be able to lift this stay-at-home before April 30th and indeed as we approach April 30th, we will be thinking about what are the restrictions or rules that we need to set going forward after April 30th because it isn’t going to be unlike what some have said, at the federal level, it isn’t going to be that all of a sudden you’re going to drop the stay-at-home and every other restriction and that’s because there is a propensity is another question that if you do that we’re going to see a big spike upward in once again, hospitalizations, ICU beds filled, vents filled and more death.

Speaker 7: (22:35)
This is from Mary Ann Ahern at NBC Chicago.

Speaker 7: (22:38)
Can you confirm the report that three Lake County hospitals have reached ICU capacity peak and does that mean McCormick Place will accept patients sooner than next week?

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (22:49)
Thank you for that question. So we divide the 211 hospitals that are in Illinois into regions. Lake, I believe is region 10. In region 10, there are 10 different hospitals and so when we follow this, again that’s one of the roles of public health is actually to follow bed availability, ICU capacity, vent capacity, so as we look at those stats every single day, we know that that region has some hospitals that are filling up but we know that there are other hospitals in the region that still have available beds and then just a few miles further, there’s other hospitals in region eight that have available beds. So we’re keeping an eye on that.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (23:34)
Again, we’re not seeing an indication to open McCormick yet, but we are following closely the capacity in all of the regions and we are recommending the continued collaboration of hospitals with their hospitals in their region to increase, to ensure that that communication is there so that they know that my hospital may be full today and know that the other hospitals around still have some capacity.

Speaker 7: (24:01)
This question is from John O’Connor at the AP.

Speaker 7: (24:03)
Did anyone at the federal level alert you to stockpile depletion, surprised, unfilled orders from it, partnering with other states consortium’s to get PPE now? How much has the state spent on PPE?

J.B. Pritzker: (24:16)
We’ve been hard at work as all of you know, across the globe trying to find PPE, place orders for PPE and then importantly having it shipped and delivered to Illinois.

J.B. Pritzker: (24:31)
That last part you might not think is a major obstacle but it is. It’s partly because it’s very difficult right now to get things out of China, which is where much of the PPE comes from. But we continue to work at that every day and we’ve actually had some recent successes at getting things loaded onto cargo aircraft and delivered back to the United States.

J.B. Pritzker: (24:55)
So there is progress in that regard and we believe that we’re going to continue to meet the PPE needs of all of our hospitals. We think that we’re going to continue… Remember every hospital has its own store of PPE and then their health department in the local area, wherever that hospital is, has a store of PPE. Then the state has a store of PPE. So in the city of Chicago, has its own large store of PPE. So there are multiple levels of support here.

J.B. Pritzker: (25:34)
In terms of what’s been spent on PPE, we’re going to be listing the various contracts online so people can take a look at it. I couldn’t tell you what the total is now but I know that it’s not infrequent that we have to place a $5 million order or even a $10 million order for PPE. Think about the cost of what is normally an 85 cent or a dollar, N95 mask, is now going for anywhere between four and $7 a piece. So if you need millions of them, as we have indicated that we do, a million of those at $5 a piece is $5 million and that’s just N95 masks.

Speaker 7: (26:15)
This is from Ed Zotti at the Sun Times.

Speaker 7: (26:17)
Governor Baker of Massachusetts has launched a virtual call center of 1,000 people to trace contacts of those testing positive for COVID-19, thus helping stop the spread of the virus.

Speaker 7: (26:27)
Are you considering any similar contact tracing measures in Illinois?

J.B. Pritzker: (26:30)
Yeah, because it’s a great… What they did in Massachusetts is a great indicator of what really needs to happen all across the nation and especially I talked about as we peak and move beyond the peak, I talked about testing, contact tracing and treatment and that tracing piece is a huge one.

J.B. Pritzker: (26:50)
So what we’d been doing up to now is tracing individuals as they have been identified but as we increase the testing across the state and we are increasing because the last time we talked to you about contact tracing, I think we were doing about a thousand tests per day and now we’re doing about 6,000 tests per day. There’s even more need for contact tracing. So I would just say we are working on that.

J.B. Pritzker: (27:15)
I liked what Governor Baker did with regard to creating a core of people who do that and I think that’s something that we will consider doing here.

Speaker 7: (27:25)
This is from Hannah [Mizell 00:27:26] at the Daily Line.

Speaker 7: (27:28)
What is DHS’s planned to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in residential centers for the developmentally disabled now that cases are reported, especially given the challenges that population presents, including not necessarily understanding what’s going on.

J.B. Pritzker: (27:43)
Yeah. I’m going to allow Doctor Ezike to answer the latter three quarters of this but I just want to say that congregates settings, we’ve talked about this a lot, are very, very difficult ones but they’re necessary; congregate settings are necessary. They’re difficult ones for us to manage. However, in each one of those we provided PPE to the staff, for residents who need it and have specific set of protocols around it whenever there is.

J.B. Pritzker: (28:11)
But well first of all, right up front, we closed down visitation at many of these facilities, most of them in fact because we didn’t want any outside people coming in bringing COVID-19 in with them. But a lot has been put in place indeed, even at the ones where there are COVID positive test results now.

J.B. Pritzker: (28:32)
So we believe that we’re going to be able to limit the spread as best we can with the PPE, with the staff following the protocols and by separating the various residents between those who have COVID-19 and those who haven’t, but Doctor Ezike.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (28:54)
So DHS, being part of the Health and Human Services portfolio, we are, we’re close partners with IDPH and at the end of, again time is becoming relative now, but I believe at the end of February, beginning of March, they were very proactive. They were immediately following recommendations to start thinking about their facilities, trying to identify their space issues, trying to figure out how people would be able to be spread out if they needed to isolate and segregate.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (29:25)
As governor said, we’re right on top of it in terms of closing down facilities to visitors. I know sometimes people would think that sounds difficult but in a situation such as this where you know that the virus is being brought in by a visitor, that is the aggressive step that has to be taken.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (29:42)
Also doing pre-shift assessments on people who work in the facility. So they were even proactively looking at, instead of moving people back and forth, they were bringing providers that had to assess people in terms of trying to figure out if there would be a need for evaluation, if it could be done on site instead of transferring to a…

Speaker 8: (30:03)
… hospital. So again, a lot of steps were taken even before they had a single case. They do have some cases in some of their facilities now. IDPH is working close with them in terms of having a consultant and an infection control preventionists working directly with the facilities and so we’re keeping a close eye on and partner. I think we had a delivery of PPE with thousands of masks, surgical masks and N95 that even went. It should have been delivered today. So we are following closely and they are doing a great job, and we’re going to mitigate as much as we can.

Speaker 9: (30:36)
This question is from Jamie Monks at the Tribune. There have been reports that HHS plans to no longer support community based COVID-19 sites, many at Walmart parking lots. Is this accurate? Has the state been told this? Will these test sites continue? If so, who will pay for the testing?

J.B. Pritzker: (30:53)
Yep. So just to back up a second, HHS, the federal government set up this organized effort to have drive through facilities with Walgreens parking lots, Walmart parking lots, and signed a deal with LabCorp and Quest, which are two of the largest laboratories in the nation to do the actual evaluation of the test. The swabs themselves would be done at the drive through and then those swabs sent to LabCorp and Quest. That’s what we’re talking about when we talk about the federal sites that HHS put up. We have a number of those sites in Illinois.

J.B. Pritzker: (31:37)
It is true that on April 10th, which I think is tomorrow, they will be handing over those sites to the states. Their intention, they didn’t say this up front, but it became clear about a week ago that their intention was to set these up, to make them operational and then to hand them over to the states and so we are taking over those. We will be providing personnel. We’ve asked for as much support as we can get from the federal government in that turnover because obviously we have a limited number of healthcare personnel available in the state, but we need to do this testing.

J.B. Pritzker: (32:14)
I think the biggest challenge is that they’re only providing a limited number of swabs for each of those sites as they have only been using a limited number of swabs themselves at each of those sites and we’d like to do more. And so I’ve asked for more swabs from the federal government. We’ll see whether we were able to get them, but our intention is to do as much testing as we possibly can in those drive through sites.

J.B. Pritzker: (32:37)
But I just want to make it clear that taking a swab is not doing a test. Taking a swab is taking a specimen and then putting it in a vial and then shipping that vial somewhere where the test is done. In our case, we’re building up our testing capacity in the state of Illinois. Right now, we do thousands in the state. What the federal government is doing is sending it off to these other laboratories around the country. It takes seven to 10 days to get a result. I’ve even heard of longer from those. So we don’t want to have to do that. And so that’s we’ve bought machines. That’s why we’re working so hard to build up our stores of VTM, the viral transport media, of swabs and of RNA extractor so that the reagent that’s necessary so that we can do more of that here so that we can get faster results in those drive through facilities. But, we’re grateful to the federal government for setting them up. But in the turnover, it’s going to be difficult because we’re not getting provided as many swabs as we would like to.

Speaker 9: (33:47)
This question is from Shia at Politico. Can you tell us, governor, what are a few specific lessons or takeaways you learned from New York or other places? And how to handle the coronavirus.

J.B. Pritzker: (33:59)
Well, as I watched the challenges in New York, I mean one is preparation. I don’t know if you noticed that we actually put our stay at home order in at I think exactly the same day, a little bit, maybe a few hours before New York did, but on the same day, March 21st is when ours went into effect. We announced it on the 20th, but New York had had more cases earlier than we had. And so they were further along in the curve, I guess I would say. And so when they got around to figuring out that they would need much more hospitalization capacity, they began to build out and plan for and build out Javits Center. I think we were a little bit ahead of them just in the timing of planning for the build out of the McCormick Place alternative site. And as you know, we have many more sites that were spinning up in the event that we have a need for them. So I just overall I would say, being early at it is certainly something that’s been very important to us.

J.B. Pritzker: (35:16)
The other thing I would say is I’ve called, talked to the governor of Washington a number of times to talk about what they did and didn’t do right around nursing homes. Because we all remember that they had a terrible problem with one particular nursing home and we wanted to make sure that we knew what went wrong there and what we should do right. And they learned their own lessons that they shared with me. And that’s the last thing I would tell you.

J.B. Pritzker: (35:42)
I call governors, I mean virtually every day, certainly on average I talked to one a day, around the country, to hear what they’re doing today, how it is that they’ve accomplished something that we may need to accomplish, or to share what we’ve done with them. And that’s been vitally important to the success that we so far have had, any success that we’ve had so far. And I’m trying to learn lessons as we go.

Speaker 9: (36:09)
This is from Jim Leach at WMAY. What advice would you give to organizers of big summer events, concerts, et cetera? Should they plan to proceed, plan on crowd limits? Should they think about canceling?

J.B. Pritzker: (36:21)
I think everybody needs to think seriously about canceling large summer events. From my perspective today, I do not see how we are going to have large gatherings of people, again, until we have a vaccine, which is months and months away. I would not risk having large groups of people getting together anywhere. And I think that’s hard for everybody to hear. But that’s just a fact. Even with testing and tracing and treating as is necessary for us to begin to make changes, it isn’t enough for me to say that it’s okay to have a big festival with a whole bunch of people gathering together.

Speaker 9: (37:05)
And this will be our last question. It’s from Mike Flannery at Fox. Have you heard of the work share program helping 29 states in Washington DC? A university of Illinois professor says Illinois could get $1.1 billion and avert up to 124,000 layoffs. Will Illinois join it?

J.B. Pritzker: (37:20)
Yeah, it’s an excellent program. I understand that the availability of that program was open under the previous governor and he didn’t act upon it. We are looking at how we might open a program like that, a work share program, and I don’t disagree that whatever we can get to support workers to expand the workforce or make available opportunities for people who are laid off, we’re going to pursue.

Speaker 10: (37:49)
All right. Thanks everyone. [inaudible 00:07:52].

J.B. Pritzker: (37:54)
Let’s see what’s today? Thursday. Yeah. It’ll be early next week. Yeah. Thank you. But again, may not have any patients. I hope that it doesn’t.

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