Illinois governor considers shelter in place order to fight COVID-19

"The restrictions put in place in France, Spain and Italy, those are things we’re looking at. Maybe we need to do those things sooner or right now."

Digital Content Producer
March 18, 2020 - 2:15 pm
Pritzker

(Gov. JB Pritzker)

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KFTK) - In the wake of the state’s first confirmed COVID-19 death in Chicago and the spread of the virus to 15 counties, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker says he is considering issuing a shelter in place order.

"The restrictions put in place in France, Spain and Italy, those are things we’re looking at. Maybe we need to do those things sooner or right now," Pritzker says. "I am also trying to be cognizant that the science, the guidance that we’re getting, isn’t quite there yet, and I want to follow that. Being arbitrary about it doesn't make any sense to me."

Click here for the latest headlines related to the coronavirus pandemic

Pritzker was in Belleville, Ill. Wednesday at the St. Clair County Health Dept. to discuss the statewide response to #COVID19. 

He expressed frustrations about not being able to get more test kits, but says he's being told the extra kits are being used by the federal government to set up more drive-through testing sites

Pritzker has activated 60 National Guard troops in the Peoria, Ill. area which he says will be available for a variety of tasks. Pritzker says if necessary they could be sent to hospitals if they have to set up tents to separate COVID-19 patients from others. 

Another task he says could be having them deliver food to families with young children who were in need of free or reduced-price lunches in school.

St. Clair County officials say they are not aware of any restaurants or bars defying the state-imposed ban on inside dining. Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly has a message for those who might be considering it. 

"If you have any respect for the men and women of law enforcement, if you have any respect for your fellow citizens or your loved ones, or if you have any respect for yourself, you won't put us in the position of having to enforce these very medically necessary provisions," Kelly says. 

On Tuesday Pritzker announced the first confirmed death from the COVID-19 virus in Illinois, a Chicago resident in her 60s who had close contact with another confirmed coronavirus case.

The state is reporting 160 confirmed cases from 1,500 tests. 

This story was originally posted by our partner station, KMOX.

© 2020 KFTK (Entercom). All rights reserved