May 15, 2020

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript May 15

Pritzker Press Conference May 15
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsIllinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript May 15

Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois held a COVID-19 briefing May 15. He said all essential employees should get free COVID-19 tests. Read the full transcript of his press conference speech.


Follow Rev Transcripts

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Speaker 1: (00:46)
( silence) All right, everyone. Thanks for joining us on this Friday. We’re going to get started with Governor Pritzker.

J.B. Pritzker: (00:59)
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our Friday, May 15th, 2:30 public briefing. And as usual, we’ll begin with Dr. Zika’s medical update.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (01:10)
Thank you, Governor. And good afternoon everyone, and happy Friday to those who observe that. Thank you for joining us. I begin with the medical reports. Today, we are reporting 2,432 new cases over the last 24 hours, for a total of 90,369 individuals with COVID-19 in Illinois. Included in that 90,000 plus total are 4,058 deaths of Illinoisans, of which 130 were reported in the last 24 hours. As of last night, we received report that 4,367 individuals were in the hospital with COVID-19, and of those, 25%, actually 26%, 1,129 individuals, were in the ICU, and 675 patients were on ventilators. To date, 538,602 tests have been performed. 26,565 were reported over the last 24 hours. That gives us a 9% positivity rate for the last 24 hours.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (02:22)
As we look to expand testing in Illinois, I want to make specific mention of the need to test pregnant women who are admitted to the hospital for delivery. This is for multiple important reasons. First of all, many of the symptoms associated with labor can mimic or cover up symptoms of COVID-19, so we could easily escape detection with just symptom screening. But we also know that many people with COVID-19 are completely asymptomatic. Early data from hospitals in Illinois that have already implemented universal screening of women admitted for labor, show a positivity rate anywhere from 3% to 12%. knowing if a woman giving birth has COVID-19 will help inform the medical plan, help inform medical decisions that need to be made, including those surrounding the use of the appropriate personal protective equipment, PPE, that will help protect not only the pregnant woman, but also her healthcare providers, and in fact, her newborn baby as well.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (03:27)
Early data show that after birth, women may be at further risk from additional complications if they have COVID-19. So knowing of the COVID-19 status is essential to be able to look for those potential complications. Knowing if a mom has COVID-19 will also help physicians determine how to best provide care for that newborn baby. A mom should know whether she is at risk of passing the infection to her baby after they leave the hospital, and help her take steps to protect her infant. Testing is crucial in all situations and all aspects, and we look forward to increasing and expanding testing opportunities and capacity across the entire state. You should know how hard the state team has been working on increasing testing capacity. We have been encouraged, to put it lightly, by an amazing leader in the person of J.B. Pritzker, who understood very early the importance of testing, and has done all that he can to support the team in increasing our capacity.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (04:34)
And now, I will summarize my comments in Spanish. [Spanish 00:04:38]

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (04:37)
And with that, I will turn it over to Governor Pritzker.

J.B. Pritzker: (07:49)
Thank you very much, Doctor. Testing, testing, testing. That’s what every epidemiologist, every immunologist, every responsible business owner, and everyone who cares about safely opening up our economy, says we must do to successfully maintain a high standard of protection, as we move into phase three and phase four of the Restore Illinois plan. You’ve heard me focus on it and report on it almost every day, and because testing is so important, I want to bring everyone up to speed again on where we are, and how we are using the tests that we have.

J.B. Pritzker: (08:31)
First, the White House, just a few days ago, called for all states to grow their testing to 2% of their populations in May. Illinois has far surpassed that level, and has now tested more than double that amount. Using a seven day average, Illinois is testing 4.7% of our population per month, and we won’t stop growing our testing until this pandemic is over. As a result of our testing levels, we’ve been able to expand testing eligibility for the following groups of people: all frontline workers and essential workers, including workers in grocery stores, and pharmacies, restaurants, and gas stations, public utilities, factories, child care, elder care, and sanitation. All health care workers, including those who provide home health services, nursing home residents and staff. All first responders, such as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, or firefighters. All those who work in correctional facilities, such as jails or prisons. All people with a compromised immune system or chronic condition. Anyone with COVID-like symptoms, anyone who has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, whether or not they have symptoms. We now have 251 public testing sites across the state that offer free testing. You can find a testing location near you, under the headline Testing Sites, under the resources tab at Again, These sites, these testing sites also include our seven state-run drive-through free testing sites at Markham, Bloomington, Harwood Heights, Rockford, Aurora, Waukegan, and East St. Louis. As I mentioned earlier this week, our Bloomington site will be operating in its current form through next Friday, and we’re continuing to work with community leaders to further expand testing in that area. In addition, there are six new testing sites in the city of Chicago, in Little Village, Pullman, Hanson Park, Englewood, Gage Park, and Bridgeport.

J.B. Pritzker: (11:03)
We’ll be launching four additional drive-through sites that are going live in the coming days. Starting tomorrow, our new site on the South Side of Chicago in the Chatham neighborhood will begin testing. And sites in Champagne, in Peoria, and in Rolling Meadows will be opening all throughout next week.

J.B. Pritzker: (11:25)
I also want to address our positivity rate. That is the portion of our daily COVID-19 tests that are coming back positive. Overall, the positivity rate can be an indication of how widespread COVID-19 infections are among our population. We all want the positivity rate to come down, which would indicate a declining number of people getting sick from the virus. The great news is that the positivity rate in Illinois is coming down.

J.B. Pritzker: (11:59)
Positivity rate is one of the metrics that we’re using to determine whether regions are eligible to move into phase three of the Restore Illinois plan in the weeks ahead. Right now, on a rolling 14 day basis, every region is meeting our positivity rate standard to move to phase three.

J.B. Pritzker: (12:21)
If you’re interested, regional specific data can be found at restore. I’m going to repeat that,

J.B. Pritzker: (12:39)
At a statewide level, our positivity rate over the last 24 hours for today’s 26,565 tests is 9.2%. Our current seven day average is 12%, and the cumulative statewide positivity rate since way back in February is 16.8%.

J.B. Pritzker: (13:04)
Looking back, remember that our peak positivity rate was on April 4th when 23.6% of tests came back positive on a rolling average. But I would urge caution in reading too far into this decline as there is a strong inverse correlation between the number of tests taken per day and the associated positive rate. Meaning that part of the reason for the lower positivity rate can be attributed to our increased testing.

J.B. Pritzker: (13:36)
Remember, we surpassed 10,000 tests per day for the first time on April 24th, and we’ve stayed above 11,000 every day since then. Over the last seven days, we’ve nearly doubled that with an average of 20,000 tests per day.

J.B. Pritzker: (13:55)
The good news is that our current statewide positivity rate is under 14% on average for the last 14 days. And that’s likely becoming a better indicator of the true infection rate among the general public than it was when testing was far more limited.

J.B. Pritzker: (14:14)
Expanding testing, of course, is enormously beneficial to Illinoisans on an individual level. Having the ability to know whether or not you currently have the virus provides a small comfort in a world with so many unknowns.

J.B. Pritzker: (14:29)
More tests also means more surveillance so we can respond to where outbreaks are taking place. But just as importantly, testing is fundamental to our ability to reopen the economy while controlling the spread of the virus. That’s what it takes to keep the public safe while getting people back to work and back into the world.

J.B. Pritzker: (14:51)
Over the past two months, we’ve made major progress in shaping a statewide testing program with strong building blocks, including the following. More tests. Well, we’re the second among the top 10 most populous states for testing.

J.B. Pritzker: (15:08)
Faster turnaround time for test results. More free testing sites. A focus on vulnerable populations like communities of color and seniors. Delivering tens of thousands of swabs for testing at nursing homes and testing every resident and staff member at our state-run veteran’s home. Reaching 20,000 tests per day is a great milestone, and we should celebrate it. It put us in position to keep more people safe from the virus and get people back to work faster. Yet, there is more to come and much more for us to do. So with that, I’m happy to take questions from members of the media.

Speaker 2: (15:53)
Dana, we’ll start with you.

Dana: (15:56)
Thank you Governor today. This question number one is from Joshua Vinson at WHBF-TV in the Quad Cities, and he asks, “I was basically opening up today. Do you have any data that suggests it puts Illinois residents, any residents really who live on state borders at a higher risk of COVID-19 and specifically for Quad City area residents? What is your message to them about crossing that state line?”

J.B. Pritzker: (16:24)
Well, we’re not collecting the data about people who are crossing over from Iowa, but there is a lot of data about people who are gathering together in large groups. We know that there is a widespread positivity rate everywhere in the nation. There are COVID positive people that are walking around and maybe not taking the proper social distancing or precautions. But either way, I am concerned.

J.B. Pritzker: (16:56)
I am genuinely concerned that with no stay at home order in place in Iowa that people who are traveling across the border and gathering in large groups, are going into restaurants or bars, or getting in close contact with others will asymptomatically come back to Illinois and spread it.

J.B. Pritzker: (17:23)
There is lots of evidence of that sort of spread taking place, not necessarily across that border, because there isn’t data about that border in particular, but there’s lots of evidence of asymptomatic spread. And that’s the reason, remember, originally for a stay at home order.

J.B. Pritzker: (17:41)
We still have a lot of people who are walking around untested who have COVID-19. That’s why I’ve told you more testing leads to more positive results, because we know people are out there who haven’t been tested and they are in fact asymptomatic carriers. That’s my concern, and I would just warn the people of the Quad Cities region to be extraordinarily careful. I would suggest that if you’re looking for the opportunity to get together, to do the things that you’ve been doing in the past, to go into a retail store or something like that. We’re 14 days away according to the data from you being able to do that. And we’ve done so well up to now. I hope you’ll continue on the same course.

Dana: (18:30)
Okay. Thank you. This question is Mary Ann Ahern at NBC5. “In light of you saying you’re worried about neighboring states opening too early, and people crossing the border into Indiana and Wisconsin and bringing the virus back to Illinois, have you joined your family at your Wisconsin home? And if not, how are they ensuring they don’t bring the virus back to you?”

J.B. Pritzker: (18:53)
Well, I am, as you know, isolated at home, so I have not joined anybody in another state. I’m safe at home and I’m not a carrier in any way if that’s your question.

Dana: (19:13)
I think that’s part of the question, but also if they are out of state, how will you then ensure they don’t bring the virus back to you?

J.B. Pritzker: (19:23)
Well, let me begin by saying that my wife and my daughter were in Florida before the stay at home shelter were in place, orders were put in place, and they stayed there. When the orders were put in place, they sheltered in place as was the order and the suggestion.

J.B. Pritzker: (19:46)
They have since returned home and isolated for a period of time, but they’re home now and they’re safe and no one is a carrier that we’re aware of. I shouldn’t say that definitively, because the reality is that anytime you walk out the door, even if you’re wearing a mask, there is some possibility that people could become infected, so please don’t assume that someone can’t be a carrier. It is possible, but we’re taking every precaution.

Dana: (20:22)
Okay. Thank you. Brett Rowland from Center Square asked, “Georgia, which has a population similar to Illinois and a similar COVID-19 spread pattern is reopened basically and not demonstrating the potential transmission you’ve referenced could be possible in the past here. Can you say your reopening policy is working when it appears other states are outperforming Illinois in terms of a restart? And if you could go back and redo anything, would you, and what would it be?”

J.B. Pritzker: (20:51)
Well, I think that ignores a whole lot of different facts about Illinois than about Georgia or another state. First of all, we have a major global city in Chicago that has international passengers that were passing through, coming to and staying in Chicago and even traveling throughout the state of Illinois. That’s one fact to take note of.

J.B. Pritzker: (21:21)
Another is that whatever the circumstances were or are in Georgia, we know what the pattern of the spread has been in Illinois. We know that they are not essentially the rate at which it spreads. It has come way down as a result of the stay at home rules that we put in place.

J.B. Pritzker: (21:44)
The order has really brought that R0 down from 3.6, around 3.6 all the way down to near one, and that’s tremendous. I can’t speak to what other state’s R0s have gone to because I haven’t watched every state or the particular one you mentioned.

J.B. Pritzker: (22:02)
And lastly, I would say that when things open up… Here’s why it’s important that you have a period of time that you are gradually opening, because you are going to get a higher infection rate. That’s just sort of a fact of life. In a pandemic with no treatment, with no nothing to stop the virus, you are going to get spread. We are testing as much as anybody could at this point. Like I said, we’re among the top states for testing. So we’re finding more people are positive here, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people that are positive in other states that aren’t being tested.

J.B. Pritzker: (22:43)
And lastly, I would just say that it takes weeks between the time that you open things up. That’s why you want this period of time and a gradual opening. It takes weeks and weeks between the time that you open things up and people start interacting with one another, maybe you’ve seen the cell phone data of people’s interactions, and the time that they end up going to the hospital, and the time that they ended up on a ventilator, and the time that, unfortunately, they may pass. So these are all things that are perhaps unique from one place to another, other than the fact that the virus knows no boundaries. And the virus only knows that it is sort of searching for the next person to infect.

Dana: (23:26)
This is from Mike Puccinelli, my colleague at CBS 2 News. ” What do you say to small charter operators that are asking how a couple can fly to Chicago, take a train downtown, hop a bus to the harbor, and then be refused to board a small boat for a private sightseeing tour of Chicago’s lakefront, miles off shore. Is this not an entirely arbitrary policy? And are you considering loosening those rules?”

J.B. Pritzker: (23:53)
Well, the policies around air travel are not set by the State of Illinois. They are set by the federal government. So, that’s the first thing. When you say people are flying, that’s not under our control. That is a decision by the federal government. Secondly, obviously, a lot of work has been done to try to make sure that the trains, whether we’re talking CTA, RTA or others, are cleaned, are kept in a condition so that there’s a minimizing of any potential spread. Not suggesting that one couldn’t contract it. Possible. It’s possible really anywhere. But if people are taking the proper precautions, then it’s okay.

J.B. Pritzker: (24:42)
Now you’re saying, why wouldn’t we allow lots of people on a boat? Or why wouldn’t we open up Navy Pier, or something like that? The reality is that, again, when we see lots of people getting together in a single place, someone could easily bring COVID-19 into that environment and spread it. And we’ve seen these circumstances. You’ve read stories, no doubt, about someone who was infected infecting a hundred other people in a location with a lot of people in a room, in a boat, in something else. All I can say is that we’re doing the best that we can with the rules that we have in place. The orders really are following the science. And I think we’ve done a pretty good job in Illinois. We have a ways to go and certainly a long way to completely defeating the virus, which isn’t under our control entirely. That’s something that I think medical science and the researchers are going to have to ultimately come up with a vaccine for.

Dana: (25:46)
So, it sounds to me like what you’re saying regarding like a boat or charter operators that even if they were able to present plans that they could do reservation only, thoroughly clean boats in between tours, allow, let’s say, only two or four people… It doesn’t sound like you’re at a point where you’re saying you’re willing or able to loosen those rules.

J.B. Pritzker: (26:10)
Well, again, we have rules in place now around two people in a boat as a limitation. It’s really for the purposes of advancing… People are just, as a leisure time, want to go fishing and want to have somebody with them. And the theory is that a typical boat might allow six feet distance between two people in a boat. That was at least the recommendation that we received around boating.

J.B. Pritzker: (26:35)
But when you talk about reopening a business… Again, I want to reopen everything as fast as everybody else does. But I just want to be clear that when you get a group of people jammed together in a space, there is potential for spread. And we’re trying to avoid that. But in phase three, in phase four, you can read it yourself, there are opportunities for people to get together in an increasing amount.

Speaker 3: (27:04)
Dana this will have to be your last question.

Dana: (27:06)
Okay. My next question then is from Ryan Burrow at WGN radio. “The FDA issued warnings about the accuracy of the Abbott lab rapid COVID-19 tests. How many of those tests are being administered daily in Illinois? Do you trust them? And have you spoken with Abbott?

J.B. Pritzker: (27:27)
I have not… I have spoken with Abbott a number of times over the course of this pandemic. Abbott is a great company that makes equipment, that is the normal PCR testing. So put aside the ID NOW, rapid tests that you’re talking about. They make m2000 machines that are widely used around the world to do testing for a variety of infectious diseases. So, I have spoken with Abbott many times over the course of this pandemic. As it regards to this ID NOW, and this is important, we are of course tracking what the FDA is now saying about ID NOW. There are the use of ID NOW machines around the state. Absolutely. There are people who owned those ID NOW machines without the state being involved, who are doing testing on those machines. I don’t think the FDA necessarily decided that those are completely ineffectual, but they certainly have put out a warning. And I believe that Abbott is responding.

J.B. Pritzker: (28:35)
We in Illinois today did about 26000, we announced, tests. About over 3000 of those were ID NOW tests. And over the course of the entire time that we’ve done testing or that the state has done testing, there have been about 50000 tests out of the total number of tests that have been done. I think we’ve done 500 and… Well, you can look. 500000 tests. So we’ve looked back at those and we’ve looked at the testing that’s being done now. We’re pulling those results out because we want to be able to see how many are being used. And of course the people who are using those machines are now under an FDA warning, that there may be challenges to them. So I think they’ll probably be used less for COVID-19. They are used for other purposes, I might add, but for COVID-19 I think now we’ve all been put on warning by the FDA.

Speaker 3: (29:39)
All right. We’ll move on to questions that came in through the portal. Stacey Baca at ABC 7 would like a response to the five Republican congressmen who have sent you a letter raising concerns that you threatened to withhold federal funding in the state. What’s your response?

J.B. Pritzker: (29:53)
My response is that they understand, I’m sure, that the laws of the state need to be followed, that the executive orders of the state need to be followed. And that we’ll pursue enforcement actions wherever necessary, where people are flaunting the health and safety, that are ignoring the rules that would keep people safe in their communities. So, I know those five congressmen and I have spoken with them over the course of my term in office. I know they have their best interest of their constituents at heart, but in this case, I think they’re missing the point.

Speaker 3: (30:32)
Tina Sfondeles at the Sun Times. “Governor, in late April, you said the state was monitoring studies about antibody tests, but you were hesitant to recommend any because of the inconsistencies and results. Has anything changed since then?”

J.B. Pritzker: (30:45)
There is a lot of work that’s been done. I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Ezike because she understands these antibody tests better than I do. But I’ll just say that there is a lot of work that’s been done around these antibody tests. And, to my knowledge anyway, there are quite a number of them that are ineffectual or not really the kinds of tests that will be useful for us. So we want to be able to parse between those kinds of tests, which ones are effective, which ones not. But I’ll turn it over to Dr. Ezike for a more informed view.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (31:15)
Yeah. Thank you, sir. So we are trying to learn as much as we can, along with the rest of the country, the rest of the world, to see how these antibody tests can be a part of our reopening of the state. We have just convened a group of experts of hospital epidemiologists, immunologists, virologists, academicians from across the state who will be convening to try to gather some of the information that’s around there and give official guidance.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (31:48)
You’ve probably heard reports from the feds, and I think the WHO has said this publicly as well, that even if we do know that people develop antibodies, it’s not clear how long that protection would last. It’s not clear the level of antibodies that would be protective. So I think there’s more questions than answers at this point. But I do know we have some people in the state that have been doing a lot of antibody testing. And so we’d like to see what we can garner. Maybe there is some useful information. Maybe it’s not specific as to, “Okay, you’re good to go and you’ll be immune for the next 10 years.” But maybe there’s some helpful information that can be garnered. So we have a very esteemed group that’s convening to gather some information and see what our official guidance will be.

Speaker 3: (32:42)
Okay. Jamie Munks at the Tribune. “Under your reopening plan to get to phase four, testing must be widely available in each region, regardless of symptoms or underlying risk factors. How close is the state to getting to reaching that sort of testing capacity that would allow for that?”

J.B. Pritzker: (32:59)
Well, more testing is better. So what’s the definition of adequate testing?

J.B. Pritzker: (33:03)
The answer is that we want it widely available. In my view, as we open up more testing sites and as we make available more materials for testing, I think we’re in a much better place. So we’re making a lot of progress. I feel like we’re on a path to being in that spot, as needed for every region of the State.

Speaker 3: (33:29)
This is from Noelle Forde to WISC. How does IDPH count deaths in the state? Is it through the I-NEDDS system or Vital Records? There was a death that was counted in yesterday’s State numbers that happened last week in Sangamon County. How do you prevent counting a death more than once?

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (33:45)
Right? So again, I think we’ve talked maybe about this in terms of, we get the data and then we report it out. And so whenever we get the data from the day before, that is the data that we’ve gotten. Then we can go back and then look at it to make sure that there aren’t duplicates. Again, sometimes there could be a misspelled name and maybe another report had a different name and so you would maybe count them twice. And then after further review, you could see, “No, in fact, these are the same individuals.”

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (34:16)
Again, there is some time that’s needed to re-look at the data to make sure that there aren’t errors. We do know that potentially a death might’ve been reported yesterday, maybe there was a delay in the hospital getting it to us, or a delay in that information coming to us. So again, we are only able to give out the information that we receive. And we try to do all of our due diligence to make sure that there aren’t duplicates, that there aren’t errors, that the deaths attributed to us are actually residents of Illinois that actually belong to the State and that they haven’t been counted previously.

Speaker 3: (34:51)
Ben Cox at WLDS for Dr. Ezike, this talks a little bit about what you’ve just described. But, yesterday Cass County told us a Northern Illinois lab had incorrectly reported to your I-NEDDS system some out-of-state cases being added to their total of positive cases. How many incidents of this has happened that IDPH is aware of?

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (35:11)
So human error probably happens on a semi regular basis. And it’s just our data stewards have to go back and look at this data. We can’t just take everything as it comes. We have to take several passes at it, keep looking at it to make sure that the data is good. We have to clean it up and remove those inconsistencies. We have to respond to information from other states that might say, “Oh, I think you have a resident of ours that’s in your account.” And so both states will have now an adjustment, one will go up and one will go down. So all of these things are happening all the time. We’re dealing with thousands, and thousands, and thousands of pieces of different data just related to testing, related to death. And so you can imagine that human error will factor in. We hope that the cleaning up of the data, the systematic review for the quality assurance that, that will pick up most of these errors and clean it up.

Speaker 3: (36:07)
Jake Griffin at the Daily Herald. Governor, what are your thoughts about the Naperville Park District’s plans to pursue legal action seeking authority to reopen summer programming and facilities independent of the timeline in Restore Illinois?

J.B. Pritzker: (36:21)
Again, all I can say is that they should be following the data and the science here and not their gut. I, too, would like to allow all children, my own included, to go participate in summer sports in group fashion. And I hope we’ll be able to do that soon enough as we move through the phases of Restore Illinois Plan. But, I recommend against it. And of course, people have every right to go to the courts. Too many people choose that, I think, in this circumstance. I realize that the local officials there are going to do whatever it is that they want to do, but I wish they would show some leadership.

Speaker 3: (37:07)
Governor, there’s a few questions about the whereabouts of your family. Do you want to address that?

J.B. Pritzker: (37:13)
Sure. Let me first say that I’ve been very private and reserved when it comes to my children. It’s because there are threats to my safety and to their safety. You’ve seen that there are people that stand outside the Thompson Center and stand outside the Capitol in Springfield holding hateful signs that referenced me personally. And that suggest, if not say, but suggest the potential for violence. I told you earlier that my wife and daughter were down in Florida in early March. And in fact, even a little before that. And they sheltered in place when the stay-at-home order came up and stayed there until very recently. So, I just will say that we have a working farm, they’re there now. There are animals on that farm that is an essential function to take care of animals at a farm. And so that’s what they’re doing. And I would hope that the GOP, the Republican Super PAC, that’s pushing stories like this about my family would stop doing it. Because they are putting my children and my family in danger.

Speaker 3: (38:40)
Thank you. Kelly from Block Club has asked for Dr. Ezike. Has Illinois seen any confirmed cases of reinfection among people who have recovered? Are you following reports of reinfection? And do you have any concerns about it?

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (38:56)
Yes. I mean, as I’m able to watch the news I follow what everyone else has seen. I remember there was initially some cases, I believe it was out of Korea, where they cited dozens, if not hundreds individuals who supposedly had been reinfected after an earlier infection. And I think I saw a follow-up story regarding that saying that, in fact, the tests had been positive but it wasn’t active infection. So it wasn’t a clear case of reinfection. So again, I don’t have the answers in terms of how long immunity lasts and if people can get reinfected.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (39:38)
We know that there are diseases for which people do have lifelong immunity. We know that there are diseases that people receive a vaccine, and then that immunity wanes. So again, this is a new virus. I think time is going to have to tell us that as we look around the world and see cases. And the cases of infection that have happened earlier, we’ll follow those down the road to see if in fact people do have real infection later on down the road. I don’t have the answer, but we will continue to follow the science, which will give us the answer.

Speaker 3: (40:16)
Thank you, Doctor. And Stephanie Goldberg from WBEZ will be our last question today. She’s asking how many Illinois testing sites are relying on Abbott’s rapid tests, and do we have plans to make changes?

J.B. Pritzker: (40:33)
I want to be clear that the State doesn’t own a whole bunch of Abbott machines. The federal government did send us 15 machines. They didn’t send us very many cartridges to go with it to use the machines, but they sent the machines. So, we have used some of those, the cartridges that we received. There are places that are using their own cartridges. And as I say, we can’t control what they do. What we can do is look at the data as it comes to us, as it gets reported to us and just make sure we’re aware where that data came from. But of course, I want to repeat that I want to discourage those folks from using it until they know what the FDA guidance will be to make sure that the sensitivity is proper to get the results that I think we all hope and expect to get from a COVID-19 test.

Speaker 3: (41:32)
All right, everyone. That is all the time we have for today. Thank you so much. We’ll see you on Monday.

J.B. Pritzker: (41:38)
Thank you.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.