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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday during his daily COVID-19 news conference that he would extend his stay-at-home order through the end of April.
Pritzker said he will sign an executive order on Wednesday extending Illinois' Disaster Proclamation from April 7 to April 30 as the nation struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus. That means public and private schools will remain closed until at least April 30.
Pritzker's announcement comes as Illinois announced another 937 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 additional deaths.
The deaths announced Tuesday include: two DuPage County women in their 70s, a Kane County man in his 80s, a Will County man and woman in their 80s, a Lake County woman in her 60s, 17 people in Cook County ranging in age from two men in their 50s to one man in his 90s, a St. Clair County woman in her 30s, a McLean County man in his 70s and a Morgan County man in his 80s.
Chicago has 2,693 confirmed cases, while the rest of Cook County has 1,803 cases.
Lake County has 389 cases, DuPage 356, Will 228, Kane 128, McHenry 65, Kendall 19, DeKalb 11, La Salle 6, Whiteside 5, Grundy 4, Carroll 2 and Ogle 1.
Pritzker wants people to remain inside except if necessary to go to a job deemed essential or take care of needs such as getting food or going to a health care provider.
"As I've said from the beginning, my priority on each and every decision has been, and continues to be, saving as many lives as possible," Pritzker said. "I've let the science guide our decisions. I've relied on the top medical experts, scientists, public health researchers, epidemiologists and mathematicians from the greatest institutions in the world.
"It is based on that advice that tomorrow I will be signing an executive order to extend Illinois' Disaster Proclamation, our stay-at-home order and our suspension of onsite learning at schools through the end of April. If we can end these orders earlier, I will be the first one to tell you, when we can make strides toward normalcy again. But that time it not today, and it's not April 7."
As of Tuesday, Illinois reported 5,994 coronavirus cases with 99 deaths.
"I trust the governor is acting with the input of healthcare experts and epidemiologists who are informing this action," Illinois State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) said. "And he's operating under his executive authority. I support that he is in a position to make these decisions and trust that he's doing it in the best interest of all the residents of Illinois.
"With that being said, at the conclusion, we'll be in a position to look back and see what was known and then is the proper time to make a judgment on the actions he's taken."
Pritzker's initial stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19 went into effect on March 21, and was supposed to expire on April 7. When the stay-at-home order was first announced, Illinois had 585 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Illinois has since seen an uptick in confirmed coronavirus cases.
Pritzker has been asked repeatedly at news conferences if he was planning on extending the order, but he has only said that it was something he has been evaluating on a day-by-day basis.
“Illinois has one of the strongest public health systems in the nation, but even so we aren’t immune to this virus’ ability to push our existing capacity beyond its limits,” Pritzker said. “We need to maintain our course and keep working to flatten the curve.
"Here’s what we know: As of March 30, our preliminary reports from hospitals statewide show just 41% of our adult ICU beds are empty, staffed and ready for immediate patient use, a 2% decrease from last week. And 68% of our ventilators are available statewide, a 4% drop in a week.
“That doesn’t mean every hospital has that availability, but collectively what we have. From all the modeling we’ve seen, our greatest risk of hitting capacity is not right now, but weeks from now. The virus’ spread is growing, so are its risks. We must not let up now.”