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No More Weekend Coronavirus Briefings, Pritzker Says

For 60 straight days, Gov. JB Pritzker has used the briefings to share data, announce initiatives to fight coronavirus and answer questions.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a press conference on the updates about COVID-19 in Illinois on Friday, March 20, 2020 in Chicago.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — After 60 straight days of holding live, televised briefings about the state’s battle with coronavirus, Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday said they will be reduced to weekdays only.

The daily 2:30 p.m. media briefings, typically held in the press conference room at the state’s Thompson Center, often last up to an hour and are carried live on local TV and radio stations. They are also streamed live online, including on the governor’s Facebook page.

Pritzker didn’t say why he was cutting out weekends, but he did note he had done 60 consecutive days of live briefings, from the rapid onslaught of cases and deaths in March to the current “plateau” where many statistics remain flat.

The state will still release medical statistics on Saturdays and Sundays, he said.

The change goes into effect Saturday.

During each briefing, Pritzker or Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, offers a wide range of data, including how many people died from coronavirus in the past day, how many people tested positive and how many tests were administered.

Pritzker also announces initiatives in the coronavirus battle from the podium and brings in experts from around the state to explain issues.

Pritzker, Ezike and the experts also take questions from reporters in the room as well as questions sent in by reporters from around the state.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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