May 22, 2020
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript May 22
Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois held a COVID-19 news briefing May 22. IL has surpassed 105,000 total COVID-19 cases. Read the full transcript of his press conference speech.
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Dr. Ezike: (00:00)
Still out there, and your individual human behavior, including wearing a mask and keeping six feet of distance, those are the weapons that we have right now to overcome this virus. Let’s continue to hang in there. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s continue to stay all in for Illinois. And with that, I’ll translate my comments into Spanish. [foreign language 00:00: 26] And with that, I will turn it over to Governor Pritzker.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (03:48)
Thank you very much, doctor, as usual, for your regular medical update and all the work that you’re doing on behalf of everyone here in Illinois. I want to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. All of Illinois appears to be on track to move into phase three of Restore Illinois next Friday, allowing hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans to go back to work in the industries that are eligible to reopen in the weeks ahead. Safety is of utmost importance, and we’re working with industry associations and businesses, employees, and doctors to make sure that we set strong health compliance standards to keep everyone safe. But we can’t have a conversation about going back to work without talking about childcare. If we don’t have childcare, a large portion of the workforce, especially women, who too often bear a disproportionate burden, will be without any way to move forward without caring for their child themselves.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (04:53)
From the start of this public health emergency, Illinois has recognized the importance of childcare for working families. We focused, especially, on essential workers, continuing to work outside of the home. And for that reason, we included childcare in the list of essential businesses, starting with our first stay at home order. And over 2,500 childcare homes and 700 centers have been providing care over the past few months. That’s about 15% of the previous operating capacity of our childcare system. When I issued the stay at home order, we implemented an emergency childcare system that provided access to childcare in small group settings for essential workers, people who ensure our public safety and help others, families to get food, gas, pharmacy goods that they need. And I’m particularly proud that Illinois made sure that all essential workers, from nurses and doctors to grocery store clerks and food producers, were eligible for the state’s childcare assistance program.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (06:07)
Meaning the state covered most, if not all, of the cost of childcare for our emergency childcare providers and for the essential workers who use them. And to help keep emergency childcare centers up and running, the state offered a one time stipend and paid enhanced reimbursement rates for emergency childcare for 30% above what we usually pay to reflect the additional costs of providing care in smaller settings. In sum, we’ve been focused on supporting essential workers and protecting the health of children and childcare staff. And I’m pleased to say that this approach has proven successful. To date, Illinois has not seen significant transmission of COVID-19 in childcare settings, which is encouraging evidence that childcare can be provided safely. Public health experts emphasize, however, that there is much that we still don’t know about this new virus, how it spreads and especially what effects it has on children.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (07:17)
Therefore, moving forward, Illinois must take a cautious approach that appropriately balances the need to greatly expand childcare with the need to lessen the risk of spreading Coronavirus. We gathered input from over 80 stakeholders from all around the state, including childcare providers, childcare resource and referral agency staff, legislators, advocates, state agency officials, and of course, public health experts on everything from new health and sanitation protocols, to staff training needs, to what supports families will need as they return to childcare. Their insights are reflected in the plan that my administration is issuing today, shaping our roadmap for safely increasing access to childcare as parents return to work. Following the guidance, all of the 5,500 childcare providers who are not currently operating, are being asked to reopen when their community moves into phase three of the Restore Illinois plan. For the first four weeks that they’re open, providers will be able to serve no more than 10 children per classroom.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (08:36)
Once they have provided care safely for four weeks and have gotten accustomed to the new health, social distancing, and sanitation routines, they will be able to expand to larger group sizes, though not yet their fully licensed capacity. On the strong advice of public health experts, these new group size limits will be roughly 30% lower than the levels they were at before the pandemic. For our licensed homes, which tend to be smaller, most will be able to operate at standard capacity. With all centers and homes online, this would bring us to more than three quarters of our previous childcare landscape in Illinois. Providers that have been successfully operating as emergency childcare providers can move immediately to these new maximum capacities when their region enters phase three. Most licensed childcare homes will also be able to reopen to their licensed capacity. Recognizing children’s need for quality early learning experiences, all providers will be expected to resume compliance with all licensing standards related to curriculum, learning environment, and staff qualifications.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (09:53)
Already we’ve made significant investments in maintaining Illinois’s vast childcare network during this crisis, implementing a simple waiver process to allow providers to be paid for all of their enrolled children in the childcare assistance program for March through June so that childcare staff could continue to be paid as normal through this unprecedented period. And for emergency centers, we increased the CCAP money that providers would get for each child. But there is more to be done, and we are working on developing appropriate business relief funds that will help to minimize the impact of these necessary restrictions. That is work that we’re already doing at the state level with the help of CARES Act dollars. But it’s crucial that the United States Congress amplifies its support for our national childcare landscape in an upcoming relief package. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a red state or a blue state. Every state is home to providers who need real assistance in sustaining their business through the coming months.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (11:03)
Real assistance in sustaining their business through the coming months. And every child in every State deserves access to quality childcare and early learning services. We all want a stronger, more equitable America on the other side of this pandemic, and it starts with our children and their earliest experiences. This is how we begin to build that post COVID world. Now, before I take questions, I want to take a moment to offer additional insight into some of the changes coming in phase three of Restore Illinois, which it looks like will be one week from today.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (11:39)
In the coming days, my administration will be releasing specific industry reopening safety guidelines that combined public health expertise with the creativity of our people to find a way forward. Similarly, my team and I have received a lot of excellent proposals and ideas from different religious groups on how to safely expand their services. Let me address that specifically. From a broad standpoint, I can say that outdoor faith services, including, but not limited to drive in church services, will be welcomed in phase three. And we continue to collaborate with faith leaders to ensure that they can hold services in safe and creative ways that allow for worship while protecting their congregants. I know worship is as essential as food and water for most of us, and it’s my priority to provide guidance, to ensure that it can proceed safely.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (12:39)
Thank you, and now I’m happy to take questions from members of the media.
Speaker 2: (12:43)
Dave, we’ll start with you.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (12:44)
Dave, Good afternoon.
Good afternoon to you Governor, thanks. John O’Connor of the AP asks the budget in the house is $5 billion or more unbalanced. How much federal funding are you counting on to fill the gap?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (12:59)
Well, we don’t know what the Federal Government’s going to provide, but we believe that at least the two proposals that have been made in the Senate and in the House each provide for enough so that we will be able to fill the hole that’s been created by the tax revenues lost during COVID-19.
Do you anticipate they’re going to have to come back once we know how much federal money is coming our way [crosstalk 00:13:23] the Legislature?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (13:24)
I don’t think that we will. As you know, the hole that’s being filled is also, is MLF dollars, and those dollars would simply be repaid with the dollars that come in from the Federal Government.
Rich Miller, Capital Facts. What do you know about the progress of Legislation to codify a modification of your repealed IDPH Emergency Rule?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (13:50)
Well, my understanding is that that Legislation, though there’s still a possibility that it may go through, is something that the Legislature does not appear to want to raise and hold a vote on. I haven’t heard the latest. I’ll be very disappointed. The Legislature has been asking for months and months, they’ve wanted to come together because they consider themselves, and they are, a coequal branch of government along with the Judiciary branch and the Executive branch, and it is their obligation, frankly, to do their duty. They don’t seem to want to help in any way, dealing with the COVID-19 crisis by offering us the ability to use a small enforcement mechanism that we’ve asked for.
Peter Hancock Capitol News, Illinois, asks with the budget package that is out there, it appears you would have pretty broad discretionary authority over a lot of spending decisions. Can give details about how you would intend to use the authority, what your priorities are, and how Illinois would pay back the short term borrowing, $5 billion?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (14:54)
Well, I talked about the short term borrowing just moments ago. So I’ll just address the rest. Look, I put a budget forward back in February. I think everybody understands what my priorities are for the State, and I’m going to follow those priorities going forward.
Kelly Bauer of Block Club. How will the State provide more childcare for parents as they return? I think you already addressed that.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (15:14)
Yes, I did.
The 2,650 emergency daycares are not enough to care for the vast majority of children here. If you want to expand on that.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (15:23)
I think I talked about it a little earlier, but it’s a great question, and that’s why we’re we addressed it today.
Jim Leach WMAY. When do you expect the State Board of Education to offer guidance to local districts on how to proceed with fall classes?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (15:37)
Well, again, I think we’re all subject to the challenges of COVID-19. It’s still unclear whether we’re going to see a spike, what challenges we’re going to see over the summer. I will try very hard to give guidance as we have it, but truthfully, this is going to be guided by the science and the data, and it’s unclear because as you move forward, the data and the science… First of all, the science is evolving, and the data is giving us more information about what we ought to be doing. So short of waiting til the fall, which we won’t, we’ll be giving as much guidance as we possibly can.
Earlier today, Leader Bill Brady of the Senate said that everybody ought to stay in town. He doesn’t want to go home, Legislature and the Governor continue to talk about the Restore Illinois, so there is enough Legislative input. What do you think of that? As well as his statement that, “Yeah, I talk to the Governor, he listens, then he does what he wants anyway.”
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (16:32)
Well, Bill knows better. The truth is that I’ve talked to many, many Republican Legislators. You’ve seen changes that I’ve made along the way. Many of them had been recommended by Republican Legislators, and that’s just staying in town. Look again, there are a coequal branch, the Legislature has the ability to do that. They’re doing quick work. I also think they want to make sure that everybody is safe. You saw that there were some Legislators who could not even come because they have comorbid conditions. And so we want to make sure that everybody gets out of Springfield, when they do, in a safe fashion. But look, it’s up to them, and I’ll be here.
Rebecca Anzel Capitol News, Illinois. President Trump has declared houses of worship essential, what are your plans for churches, synagogues, mosques, and other institutions? What are your thoughts about President Trump’s threat to overrule you?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (17:19)
Well, we’re going to continue to operate on the basis of science and data, and I’m as anxious as anybody to make sure that our churches, our mosques, our synagogues open back to where they were before COVID-19 came along. We’re gradually moving in that direction, but there’s no doubt the most important thing is we do not want parishioners to get ill because their faith leaders bring them together. We hope that faith leaders will continue to do as the vast majority of them have done, which is to worship sometimes online, sometimes in other capacities, as we’ve talked about outdoor and driving.
Bill Ruthhart, Chicago Tribune. Mayor Lightfoot has said she wants to be able to offer Chicago restaurants the option of indoor dining in June, saying the city’s poor weather and desire to give owners the ability to generate enough revenue to help keep them afloat. Is this something you’re willing to reconsider, or will the mayor and Chicago restaurants have to wait till phase four?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (18:15)
Well, I too would like everything to reopen in the fashion that it was at before. Again, what I’m being advised by the epidemiologists is that indoor dining, at least during this next phase, we need to be extraordinarily careful, watch the numbers. With out door dining, with the servers who will be wearing masks, but the people sitting at tables may not be, and of course the food has the potential to carry the virus. So we just want to be very, very careful and watch what happens with the opening up that we’ve already allowed in phase three.
Mike Maletich, Quincy Media. IDES has sent out a release about the data breach investigation. Representative Terry Bryant says no one’s answered her questions about what happened. She doesn’t believe only one person saw the information. How can you or the department be certain that only one person saw that personal information?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (19:04)
Well, they can look at the log data, but here the IDES has been extraordinarily careful and taken extra precautions here by making sure that the contractor has provided for more than 35,000 people, the ability to track their own credit reports to make sure that nothing goes wrong for them.
Charlie Meyerson, chicagopublicsquare.com. It’s been more than a month since two lawyers married to one another, Leslie Ann Jones and Thomas Johnson were murdered in their Oak Park home more than a month since State Police joined the investigation, we’ve heard almost nothing. What can you tell us about that case?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (19:43)
I don’t have details about the case, but happy to refer you to the State Police for that.
And a question from my colleague, Scott Mulford at WTAX. It’s known that you communicate with Cardinal Supich, have you had direct communication with any other Illinois bishops, specifically the one here, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (20:02)
I have not heard from Bishop Paprocki. I have spoken with a number of bishops and pastors, just this morning I spent about a half an hour on the phone with a pastor. And that’s a regular occurrence for me frankly, including of all faiths.
I think that’s all I have except for ones that Toman also has.
Speaker 2: (20:25)
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (20:33)
Welcome back Toman.
Thank you Governor. I appreciate it. We’ve been talking about it for weeks, the impact the virus has having on African Americans and Latinos. There’s a new poll out this morning, showing blacks are nearly three times as likely to personally know someone who died from the virus than white Americans. Why isn’t the Legislature doing a bill to help address the COVID-19 racial divide?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (20:54)
I can’t speak to why the Legislature, and what the Legislature would have done with a bill, but I can say this, that statistic that you cited doesn’t surprise me, and the African American community honestly has had the greatest toll brought up against them in terms of deaths. The comorbid conditions that often exist in the African American community because of historical racism, because of the failure to provide the right kinds of healthcare in the community are some of the reasons why that exists. Now, of course, we’re working very hard to protect people in communities of color, African American community, the Latino community, by providing testing, by doing contact tracing, by making sure that we’re educating people about how important it is that they follow the rules, that they stay at home, that they use face coverings, and so on.
It’s going to be a War Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago under the stay at home orders. What’s the State Police’s plan to help Chicago and other cities keep residents safe? Separately, a concerned viewer wanted to know if authorities have noticed drag racing on the Edens and Kennedy expressways late at night near Chicago. I’ve noticed two cars going a hundred miles an hour.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (22:02)
Unfortunately, as you know that.
Speaker 3: (22:03)
I’ve noticed that two cars going a hundred miles an hour.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (22:03)
Yeah. Unfortunately as you know, that’s been going on for some time, the state police have been trying to track down those people who are committing those crimes. In terms of the broader instruction or guidance for law enforcement I think they’re well aware that this is going to be a difficult weekend, that there are people who maybe not purposely but just by virtue of it’s Memorial day weekend people have an extra day off. They’re used to getting together with their friends and so on. I really want to provide a caution to all the people who are listening to please remind your friends and your family that I know that this is an unusual time. I ask you to take unusual precautions. Wear your face coverings, that may be the most important thing I can say to you. Wash your hands, make sure you’re not gathering in large groups with one another. It is time for us to do something unusual. Keeping each other safe is the most important thing that we can do. And so following those edicts or those suggestions any way will keep your friends and family safe.
Speaker 3: (23:05)
Let’s talk about the Chicago casino from Greg Heinz and Mike Flannery. Are you prepared to support a Chicago Casino bill? And do you expect one to be approved today?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (23:14)
Yeah, I was very clear I think yesterday about my support for the Chicago casino bill. I think it’s very important not only for the city of Chicago, but for the state. And so I’m hoping that the legislature will do as I think it is desired to do by them. And so I’m looking forward to signing that bill.
Speaker 3: (23:36)
Have you been part of the negotiations? How quickly would construction start and when would the money start flowing to troubled pension funds from Chicago first responders?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (23:44)
I can’t answer all those questions, but I can say that as you know I’ve advocated for this casino since the very beginning, I want to make it work for the city of Chicago. We set the basic parameters for this bill and so there may be aspects of it that are still being worked on even this afternoon. And our team is certainly tracking that, but the basics here are still intact and those are the things that are most important about it.
Speaker 3: (24:09)
Want to follow up on Leader Brady’s comments, this comes from Rick Pearson. Do you think there is a Republican strategy at play here with the coronavirus, hoping to seize on the growing frustration of the stay at home orders as a play for GOP votes in November? You seem to be trying to counter it by linking Republican lawmakers to fringe antisemitic protestors, accusing them of trying to suppress voting by opposing vote by mail and favoring budget cuts regardless of the coronavirus.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (24:36)
I didn’t link Republican elected officials to Nazi demonstrators, they linked themselves. There re elected officials that are in the bank of Springfield building right now, who are out there speaking in front of the crowds that were holding pictures of Hitler, swastikas and they knew they were there. They were holding up signs that said death to tyrants. And then they had other signs that depicted me and Hitler. So I would say that the Republicans have tagged themselves and that for as long as they do not call out the elected officials of their own party, they are a part of the very problem that is existent in this country of allowing hatred and bigotry to perpetuate.
Speaker 3: (25:23)
From Mark Maxwell, the same Clay County circuit judge who called your coronavirus restrictions unconstitutional is hearing a lawsuit today that could overturn your executive order statewide. Considering this is Memorial day weekend what options do you have in the event the judge does strike down your order? And do you worry a defeat in court could signal to everyone that it’s a free for all?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (25:44)
No, it’s clear that the judge in Clay County has his own political agenda. I can also say that the decision in that court if it goes against us really only applies to Clay County because it’s been decided already in Cook County court, it’s been decided already in Sangamon County court upholding my ability to issue disaster proclamations and executive orders associated with disaster in the state of Illinois.
Speaker 3: (26:10)
Tiffany Lepinski Channel 2 in Chicago, the legislature is not going to do anything to waive penalty weeks that are denying people employment benefits. That tells us there’s information the governor can take on penalty weeks without legislative action. You’ve previously said that that’s not true it requires a law change. Bottom line these people need help, what are you going to do?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (26:32)
Well again, we’ve been working with the legislature. I hope they get this right this afternoon, but this is on them right now.
Speaker 3: (26:39)
Let’s see here. Brad Edwards also Channel 2, for the past two months you’ve ruled the state single handedly, including threats to local officials who disobeyed your stay at home order. Why now are you giving local politicians so much leeway when it comes to something as important as health centric as reopening restaurants?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (26:57)
Well, we set guidance.
Speaker 3: (26:58)
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (26:58)
Yeah, but to be clear we set guidance so that’s not like it’s a free for all here. We set guidance at the state level and then at the local level they’re allowed to do something that’s more stringent. And I understand there are places where they want to do that. Why now is simply because we’re listening to the epidemiologists, the doctors looking for how could it work safely? And if we can get something done in a safe fashion where we don’t think this is going to significantly increase the number of people who end up COVID positive, it’s something that we wont allow everybody to do. The whole idea here, just to remind everybody, everything that we’re focused on is about keeping people safe and healthy. That’s it. And if we can keep people safe and healthy and they can go about their business, that’s exactly what I’d like.
Speaker 3: (27:43)
State records show one in five people living in state run developmental centers have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s double the infection rates seen in other longterm care facilities. Some people have raised concerns about smaller facilities where the state does not collect data. What support are you providing for the large and small facilities?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (28:01)
Well, we’ve been very careful about those facilities and this is very difficult there’s no doubt about it. Look, everybody knows it’s all over the country, right? Every congregate facility is at risk and so there’s guidance that’s been provided by the CDC and that is being followed by our IDPH to make sure that we’re keeping everybody as safe as we can. There are private providers that are frankly some of them have concern and so we’ve tried to stay on top of them. We’ve delivered PPE to all of the facilities all across the state. We’ve made sure we provided training to everybody at those facilities so they know how to use the PPE and guidance about how to separate the population and testing. That’s the biggest thing we can do, make sure that we’re testing and then segregating the population according to who is ill and who’s not ill.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (28:49)
We’re trying to get to everybody again, even just looking at the nursing homes, there are 1200 plus nursing homes trying to get to all of those in a very short period of time is a relatively difficult thing. We’ve been building up our testing capacity so that we can go do that. And indeed we are ratably getting that done.
Speaker 3: (29:06)
How late do you expect the legislature to go and is your plan to stay here until they’re done?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (29:11)
That’s my current plan. I don’t know how late that they’re going to go. And if they end up with all of the major pieces of legislation done and it’s really down to some minor issues maybe I’ll leave earlier, but I doubt it. I’ve been here as you know, last year I was here for every last minute of the legislature and I intend right now to do that.
Speaker 3: (29:31)
Thank you governor.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (29:31)
Speaker 4: (29:32)
We’ll go to some questions online we only have a couple. Tony Arnold at WBEZ, do you agree with the approach mayor Lightfoot is taking in not reopening Chicago’s economy with the rest of the state?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (29:45)
We’ve left this up to local officials to make decisions that are best for the people who live in their communities. We’ve tried to set a standard of safety and health for the entire state, and we’ve done it as you know we have a regional plan. So as far as I’m concerned the decisions that get made at the local level are in fact up to those local elected officials, as long as they’re maintaining the proper health and safety standards that we’re setting
Speaker 4: (30:10)
Jim Haggerty at Rock River Times is asking some law enforcement agencies have received letters from FEMA warning them that relief funds could be denied for not enforcing the executive order, were these letters sent before the amendment making violations of crime was removed?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (30:25)
There was not a timing set for a letter like that. I know I’m aware of the letter, it’s a letter really about making sure that people understand that they won’t get FEMA reimbursement if they don’t follow the rules that the federal government set out.
Speaker 4: (30:39)
Heidi clutter at Fox, Illinois, governor Pritzker what is your response to state Senator Chapin Rose after he collected feedback from local leaders across 10 counties, as they shared their fears for their communities and the timeline concerns between each phase? Have you gotten a chance to read those letters and what’s your response?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (30:55)
I’m not sure if that’s something I’ve received recently, I’ve received a lot of plans and I can’t specifically identify the one that came from Senator Chapin Rose. As you know I’m trying very hard to read and listen to all of the ideas that come from across the state. Indeed, we’ve incorporated many of those ideas into the executive orders as we’ve moved forward. So I look forward if I haven’t seen that one and I’ll go back and make sure that I do. If I haven’t seen that one, I will make sure and do it. And again one more thing, the opinions of local officials about how this can operate better in their local areas does have an effect on the way that I think about how we should put these orders in going forward.
Speaker 4: (31:41)
Marty Pike at the Daily Herald, will children need to wear masks at childcare centers?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (31:46)
No. So the requirement here is that any child that’s two and under is not required to wear one. We have actually smaller group requirements for those very young children than we do for slightly older children. Yes, older children are going to be asked. Obviously if they aren’t medically able to wear a mask, then they don’t have to. But again, the more people that are wearing a face covering in a group setting the better.
Speaker 4: (32:16)
And Marty had one more question about will Arlington park and other tracks be able to open with spectators this summer?
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (32:23)
The bigger challenge in that question is the spectator question. We’re still working on what the guidance might be for them to be able to run races. We want people to be able to enjoy watching races that can be done remotely. You’ve seen that the major league sports are doing that or at least they’re attempting to do that. So we’d like other sports to be able to. Again, we just want to make sure that folks who are working in the backstretch and everybody that’s involved in it is kept safe.
Speaker 4: (32:48)
Amanda Benecchi asks, what evidence do you have that coronavirus can spread through food? CDC does not seem to indicate evidence for that.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (32:56)
I guess I can’t speak to all of the reasons and it may be that it’s more around the plates and the other items that are-
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (33:03)
… more around the plates and the other items that are being served, so perhaps Dr. Ezike can address this. The fundamental reasons why restaurants are more different, restaurants and bars are more difficult.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (33:11)
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (33:11)
The CDC actually did just update their guidance regarding the transmission, the spread of the virus. Their emphasis is that spread is happening particularly between people. Yes, we know that there is some measure of contact surfaces resulting in infection, but the majority is between person-to-person spread. We know in indoor settings where space is limited, where there are a lot of people within a certain density that causes a certain density that makes it more likely that there’ll be transmission or spread amongst individuals. We know that in the kitchen, you have a lot of people together working together, between the servers and the people preparing the food. Again, it’s the density that occurs in this restaurant-type setting that is most likely the biggest part of spread, as we know that it’s more person-to-person.
Speaker 5: (34:09)
Amanda had one more question about any insight on when visitor restrictions can be lifted at nursing homes.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (34:18)
Again, I think everyone is well-acquainted with how a population that in which the residents do not leave the location. I think it should be clear where then the infection comes from. The virus does not come up de novo, from nowhere. It actually is brought into the facility. It is clear that the more people that are coming in, the higher chance for the virus to be brought in. There actually has been clear guidance from CMS stating that absolutely visitation should not be something that we loosen up, even as we move into new phases, that that should be one of the last things that we should consider doing. I think, locally, we had come to a similar conclusion. The federal government has offered similar guidance that visitation and bringing more people and the risk of more infection into the place with the most vulnerable population is not the way to go.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike: (35:23)
No, we’re not looking at releasing visitation right now, but we still urge that despite being physically distance and not being able to physically connect that we really promote people having ways to virtually connect or electronically connect through so many of the ways that we’re all using now, whether it’s Zoom or WhatsApp or iPads, WebEx. We want to please use as many opportunities as we can to have people still connect. That physical, that actual connection, although it can’t be physical, is so key and is helpful and is needed by our loved ones that are in these longterm-care facilities.
Speaker 5: (36:04)
All right. I think we got through everything. Thank you, everyone.
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (36:04)
Governor J. B. Pritzker: (36:04)