CHICAGO — Illinois has surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, a grim milestone officials say should be a warning to everyone: stay home.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, shared the new numbers during a Saturday news conference. In the last 24 hours, there have been 1,453 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 33 more deaths.
There are now 10,357 confirmed cases statewide and 243 people have died in Illinois.
“The number is sobering and reminds us it’s critical we all do our part,” Ezike said. “The more cases means the more hospitalizations. The more hospitalizations means more death.”
Ezike said stories of neighbors looking out for each other are great — but stressed social distancing must continue if we want to stop the spread of the virus.
“Please continue to stay home,” she said. “This will help Illinois flatten the curve. But we all must be willing to do this.”
Gov. JB Pritzker said he expects Illinois to hit its peak of cases in mid- to late April. No one is sure how long the peak will last and how many people will be sick and die, though.
Pritzker has emphasized in recent days there is little more the state can do to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He’s already shut down schools, restaurants and bars and issued a stay at home order. The state has put up — and continues to build — “field hospitals” with hundreds of beds for people with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. And officials are still looking for as much personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and health care volunteers as they can get.
Now, Pritzker has said, Illinoisans must simply stay at home as much as possible.
“Thank you to the people of Illinois who are taking this seriously,” Pritzker said. “Some people aren’t. We saw that in the lakefront of Chicago. … All I can say is, those people [still going out] either are not paying attention to the news or they’re stupid. That’s all I can say.
“There’s no reason why somebody should be ignoring this. You could be giving it to your own family and you could get it yourself. We’re not asking much. At this moment, we’re asking you to stay at home to protect people. … And you should listen because you’re putting everybody in danger.”
People who violate the stay at home order can be fined up to $500 and even arrested.
Pritzker said if you see people or a business violating social distancing guidelines, you can call a local health department, politicians or the police. And if workers are being pressured to come into work even while sick, those workers should report their companies, he said.
Officials have repeatedly said practicing social distancing is the best way to ensure fewer people get sick and there are fewer deaths during the peak and the weeks after.
Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that state would likely reach the worst point of the virus in the next week, The New York Times reported.
More than 113,700 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in New York, and 3,500 people died.
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