Apr 11, 2020
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 11
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker held a COVID-19 briefing on April 11. Read the transcript of the briefing updates here.
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J.B. Pritzker: (00:00)
… COVID-19. There are the additional stressors of either quarantine or having a loved one hospitalized that they cannot interact with. Although there are reasons to see hope and a lot of examples of people helping one another, all of which should lift us up, there are also circumstances that may cause you to feel despair, to find yourself swimming in the stress and uncertainty of it all. First, I want to say to all of you, feel all of it. We are living in a deeply unprecedented moment, and holding the emotional ramifications of that inside will only be harder on you. It’s okay to feel. Please know that you don’t have to feel it all alone. I want you to know that we’re here to help, and here’s how.
J.B. Pritzker: (00:58)
The Illinois Department of Human Services Mental Health Division has launched a free of charge emotional support text line for Illinoisans experiencing stress related to COVID-19, Call for Calm. This isn’t a crisis hotline, but a source of support. Once a resident texts the hotline, they receive a call from a caring counselor from a local community mental health center. Let them be a listening ear for the challenges that you are experiencing.
J.B. Pritzker: (01:32)
If you would like to speak with a mental health professional, you can text talk, T-A-L-K, to 552-020. Again, text talk to 552-020. Or for Spanish language, you can text hablar, H-A-B-L-A-R, to the same number, 552-020. Again, this service is free to use and it’s available to you no matter your personal circumstances and you will remain completely anonymous. You can also access a wider array of supports using the same number from your mobile phone. You can text that number, 552-020, with keywords such as unemployment or food or shelter, and you will receive information back to help you navigate getting assistance. My administration is here to serve you and to help see you through this time of crisis. This text line is just one more way that we can meet you where you’re at.
J.B. Pritzker: (02:49)
In a few moments, assistant secretary Kia Coleman will talk more about the many ways in which our department of human services is working to strengthen mental health services throughout the state to make them more available to you in these trying times. There are many of you who may be saying to yourself, “I’m taking all the right precautions, but what happens if I get symptoms? Where do I go? Who do I see?” Well, I want to provide you with the answers to that. From what we know so far, the vast, vast majority of people who COVID-19 are able to stay home and get better on your own without requiring hospitalization, but without some medical advice and guidance, the prospect of managing this illness at home may seem unnerving and truly daunting.
J.B. Pritzker: (03:42)
That’s why today I’m announcing a remote patient monitoring program specifically to serve those potentially infected with COVID-19 who will be able to recover from the safety of their homes. Through this program, health workers will digitally connect with you when you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, but do not require an emergency or inpatient care. Patients will receive daily virtual visits and receive wellness kits that include things like thermometers and pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs and alcohol wipes. This program serves to reduce barriers to physical health and mental health services in all communities and income levels, especially underserved communities and those most at risk during this pandemic. Because patients are served in their home, this program will also help limit the spread of the virus and safeguard hospitals from being overwhelmed by keeping those who can recover at home, staying at home. This new program is available for anyone and everyone in Southern Illinois and Central Illinois and will be available soon throughout Northern Illinois during this coming week.
J.B. Pritzker: (05:06)
In Southern and Central Illinois, I’m incredibly proud that’s the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is our partner, serving communities around Carbondale and Metro East, Quincy and Decatur and Springfield. The hotline for that program is (833) 673-5669. Again, the hotline for those areas in Central and Southern Illinois is (833) 673-5669, and that number will be live on Monday. I’m also deeply grateful to our partners at OSF Healthcare, which will serve Central and Northern Central Illinois communities such as Alton Peoria, Champagne or Bana, Monmouth, Ottawa, Bloomington and Pontiac. The hotline for the Central Illinois program is (217) 545-5100. That’s (217) 545-5100, and that hotline is available right now.
J.B. Pritzker: (06:20)
Finally, I want to talk to you about our children. As we’ve seen, children are susceptible to COVID-19, but a high percentage are much less likely to suffer the more difficult physical effects of the virus, and for that we’re all incredibly grateful, but no child has been spared the upheaval that COVID-19 has brought to their daily lives.
J.B. Pritzker: (06:45)
I’ve heard from many parents who are concerned about how our children and adolescents are processing and managing what they’re seeing and hearing and feeling about all of this. It’s important that we engage our children in these discussions and make sure that they know we’re thinking about them constantly. To begin to address this, I’m co-hosting a special event today with Lurie Children’s Hospital for Childhood Resilience, the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership and Mikva Challenge.
J.B. Pritzker: (07:19)
At 5:00 PM today, I will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting for kids of all ages. It’s being hosted on Facebook live at the Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Facebook page. I’ll repost the link on my Twitter and Facebook pages to help guide people to the site. I hope that kids from all across Illinois will join us there. Thank you, and I hope you’re all finding some joy in this Easter weekend. I want to let you know that I will be holding my regular daily update tomorrow at 2:30 PM, although it will be brief. In the interest of giving Dr. Ezike a happy Easter with her family, she will not be with me tomorrow and instead will rejoin us on Monday. Now I’d like to turn it over to the doctor for today’s medical update, Dr. Ezike.
Dr. Ezike: (08:15)
Thank you governor, and thank you for the day off. Good afternoon everyone. I know I’ve been repeating the same message for many weeks now, but today will be no different. It’s important that we all know that the decisions we make today have real consequences, and they extend beyond ourselves as individuals and affect our entire community and our state. Tomorrow does mark Easter for those who celebrate, and this is a holiday where many are used to congregating together with friends and family and their church community, but this Easter is different. Easter 2020 will go down in history as a completely different type of Easter, and it’s not one where we’ll be able to commune together. Please enjoy your time at home, and keep your community safe. Let me be clear. If there are churches that were planning to convene tomorrow, please cancel now. We can’t risk spreading the virus through this church congregation.
Dr. Ezike: (09:18)
We do have evidence of people who got sick through attending church and other similar gatherings. Let’s not do that. Unfortunately, I must report that 81 additional lives have been lost in relation to COVID-19 and that there are 1,293 new cases. In total, that’s 677 lives that have lost the battle against COVID, bringing us to a total of 19,180 total positive cases. I am lifting up the memory of every individual who’s no longer with us. Our sympathies go to the families and the communities that are bearing this loss. Of course there are grandmothers, there are grandfathers, there are teachers, there are police officers, there are pastors, there are state employees. Death has hit the same families sometimes multiple times. Reporting these deaths is not easy as you can imagine, but it is my duty to share with you the information that you need and to make sure that everyone is clear that this is a serious situation that we’re all facing.
Dr. Ezike: (10:30)
This pandemic is unlike anything anyone currently living has ever seen. Every possible effort is being taken to ensure that we are keeping Illinoisans as safe as we can from this virus, from increasing testing capacity to trying to blanket the state with available PPE. Every state agency is working in lock step for the betterment of Illinois, and of course we have our local health departments and so many community agencies that are in so critical to this effort as well. The support we have received from individuals signing up to volunteer through Serve Illinois and licensed medical professionals answering the call to get back into the workforce is nothing short of inspirational. These are the actions that make a difference in our fight against COVID-19. The actions that you take as individuals is probably even more important. Again, what we do today will guide our path and affect our curve. Stay home and the people who have, you have made an impact in this fight already.
Dr. Ezike: (11:37)
We have to stay the course. There’s no doubt that we will get through this pandemic, but it is a long marathon. We can’t grow tired of washing our hands. Despite the cabin fever, we still need to stay at home. We still have a long road ahead, and we must endure with patients until we get to the other side. As I end today, I want to remind you that you can text the word COVID to (312) 500-3836 for updates on COVID-19 delivered directly to your phone. Thank you for taking the time to listen.