CHICAGO — Illinois is teaming up with six Midwestern states to determine how to get people back to work and lift the lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Illinois will partner with Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky. The governors from those seven states will “work in close coordination to reopen our economies in a way that prioritizes workers’ health,” according to a news release from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office.
The governors won’t necessarily all make the same changes at once, but they will coordinate their actions and focus on the same four things — including the ability to test and trace more widely — when making decisions.
“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region. This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time,” the governors said in a statement. “But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen and things will go back to normal.”
The governors will consider four factors when determining how to reopen the Midwest economy:
- Control of new confirmed coronavirus infections and hospitalizations
- Widespread ability to test and trace contacts of confirmed patients
- Ensuring health care systems can handle a resurgence in cases
- Determining best practices for social distancing in workplaces
Pritzker has said in recent days officials are looking at ways they can gradually reopen and ease restrictions put in place to combat coronavirus. Pritzker said he’s in talks with scientists, doctors and business leaders about how to do that safely.
So far, Illinois has seen 24,593 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 948 deaths.
The Midwestern partnership mirrors similar alliances seen among states on the East Coast and West Coast.
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