CHICAGO (CBS) — The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Illinois and that has state officials cautious about listing a date as to when the stay-at-home order will be lifted or if it will be extended into the summer.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike from the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed another 2,049 COVID-19 cases in the state, bringing the Illinois total to over 35,000.
The new number of deaths came in just under 100 at 98. That brings the total number of people who’ve died from the coronavirus in the state to 1,565.
Ezike and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker stressed the need for more testing to improve the ability to identify more people affected by the coronavirus. Pritzker said two more state-run COVID-19 centers will be open soon, one in the western suburbs and the other in the Rockford area.
“We need to make testing more available and convenient to more people. I am pleased to announce two additional state run drive- through testing sites, both of which are available to anyone who has COVID-19 like symptoms and wants a test.
The Chicago Premium Outlets outdoor shopping mall at 1650 Premium Outlet Boulevard in Aurora. That site can take up to 600 specimens per day.
Starting on Friday in Rockford, there will be a drive- through location at the University of Illinois College of Medicine located at 1601 Parkview Avenue. The Rockford location will be able to take 500 specimens a day.
“Between these two new sites and are three existing sites in Markham, Bloomington and Harwood Heights, the five drive-throughs can run up to 2,000 test per day when the Rockford test site is fully up and running,” Prtizker said.
The governor said that testing is the key to moving things forward that could eventually open up everything from schools to public spaces.
“Testing, tracing, treating. And PPE. While we’re working very hard on testing and PPE, we’re not there,” Pritzker said, who added that he was aware of what happens when people cannot return to work and participate in what was once considered regular activities.
“These are things I weigh every day. I understand that it’s challenging for people. There’s a mental health cost in addition to a financial cost. Like everybody I too want it to be back to normal as fast as possible. I think we all recognize that normal is going to look a little different going forward, until there’s a vaccine until we can literally rid our state, our country, our planet of this scourge, of COVID-19.”
The governor said that despite the additional testing facilities that will get more people identified, the numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases has not dropped to the level that’s considered acceptable.
On Wednesday, the governor of neighboring Missouri, Mike Parson, said he will reopen the state next week on May 4, but Pritzker said it has little bearing on his plans for Illinois. That, despite the many people who live, work and cross the state border on a daily basis.
“I think all the governors know where I stand and what kind of set of principals ought to be operated upon in order to think about reopening. It’s why we created this Midwest pact of states. And we reached out to Missouri and they are not interested in joining that pact. Same with Iowa.”