Coronavirus update: Pres. Trump says Illinois to get 600 ventilators, Gov. Pritzker requests thousands more ahead of COVID-19 peak

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois will need thousands of ventilators from the federal government as it prepares for the state's peak in coronavirus cases expected late April, Gov. JB Pritzker said.

Gov. Pritzker spoke on CNN Sunday, saying he's requested 4,000 ventilators but only received 450. His comments came hours before President Donald Trump announced that Illinois would receive 600 ventilators during a White House press briefing.

Pres. Trump criticized Pritzker during the briefing, accusing the governor of "complaining all the time."

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President Donald Trump addresses testing and ventilator shortages during a White House briefing on coronavirus in the U.S. Sunday.



"We're building a 2,500 bed hospital in McCormick place. That's the big convention center in Chicago. And we're helping to staff it and probably will end up staffing it because he's not able to do what you're supposed to be able to do as a governor," President Trump said on Sunday. "He has not performed well."

The comments came just a few hours after Gov. Pritzker once again blasted the federal government's response to this pandemic, saying governors are forced to compete with each other and the federal government for life saving supplies in the fight against COVID-19.

"I express myself in the way that I do. I get a lot angrier at moments with people who aren't helping at the federal level. I've tried to hold it in check," Gov Pritzker said. "I'm not somebody who likes to express anger in that way but I have, unfortunately during this process, been quite angry and I will fight for the people of Illinois."

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Illinois officials sent a strong signal to the public Sunday, wearing masks for the first time during the daily COVID-19 briefing.



The number of coronavirus cases in Illinois surpassed 11,000, including 274 deaths, over the weekend.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 889 new COVID-19 cases and 31 additional deaths on Sunday.

The death toll includes a second individual connected to an outbreak at the Stateville Correctional Center, IDPH Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

Earlier Sunday, the Grundy County coroner's office reported the death of Stateville inmate Ronald Rice. The 66-year-old died at Morris Hospital in Morris, but no other details about his death are known at this time.

State officials sent a strong signal to the public Sunday, wearing masks for the first time during the daily COVID-19 briefing.

"I've been wearing a mask when I go out," Gov. Pritzker said. "I did this morning when I was out and I did it, you know, as I came here. People should wear a mask."

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Gov. JB Pritzker wears a mask to his daily briefing on Illinois' COVID-19 cases on April 5.



Pritzker focused most of his prepared remarks on child care for essential workers, saying they now qualify for the state's Child Care Assistance Program.

"The state will cover most, if not all, of the cost of care without emergency child care providers," Pritzker said. "That includes everyone from nurses and doctors to support staff in hospitals, to grocery store clerks and food producers."

The governor is encouraging child care centers that have closed to reopen to help families of essential workers.

"We will be paying enhanced reimbursement rates for emergency child care, effective April 1, of 30%," he said. "Above the rates that we usually pay to reflect the additional costs of providing care in smaller groups."

For more information on the child care assistance offered, visit the state's Department of Human Services website as well as https://coronavirus.illinois.gov.

The Illinois Department of Public Health released statistics Sunday that show that in Chicago, black residents make up 68% of the fatalities and white residents account for 11%.

The governor said it represents a large problem.

"So, we already started out with an unequal system of health care for people," Pritzker said. "And then it gets massively exacerbated when you bring on something like COVID-19, which clearly requires an enormous amount of health care provision. So I'm deeply concerned about this. I've seen these stats."

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Gov. JB Pritzker gives an update on Illinois' COVID-19 cases on April 4, 2020.



Across the country, there are still a handful of states where governors have yet to issue a "stay-at-home" order.

Iowa is the only border state to Illinois with no such order. Missouri's order doesn't go into effect until Monday morning.

Gov. Pritzker said that has a direct impact on Illinois.

"While we talk about individual states, this should have been done by the federal government," Gov. Pritzker said.

Over the next few weeks, Pritzker warns the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the state.

"I would say most of the models I've seen say we will peak between middle and end of April," he said. "You see the numbers we report. One day you feel hopeful, the next you feel we've taken a step backward."

At his daily briefing Saturday, the governor brought in officials from the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Family Services. Both agencies promised they're not putting their work on hold during the crisis.

DCFS is arming their case workers with protective gear for house calls.

SEE INSIDE: Chicago's makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients at McCormick Place
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Get a first look inside the makeshift hospital built to care for COVID-19 patients at McCormick Place in Chicago.



Illinois health officials are also preparing alternative care facilities for a possible surge in patients.

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot toured the makeshift hospital built at Chicago's McCormick Place as it prepares to accept its first patients.

The facility is ready to go, and the plan is to open it when needed to relieve the strain on hospitals.

"When I walked into this building and saw how it was transformed in just five days, I was truly flooded with an overwhelming sense of pride and patriotism," Gov. Pritzker said.

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The facility was designed and built by the Illinois National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and a battalion of skilled tradesmen now houses 500 beds, with plans to scale up to 3,000 if needed.

It features individual patient care rooms, nursing stations and storage areas for medicine and supplies.

"It's a low-acuity center, intended to take the strain off the existing hospital system, the largest planned alternative care facility in the country," Mayor Lightfoot said.

The McCormick Place facility will not have an emergency room and patients won't be able to walk-in. Rather, they'll be transferred from existing hospitals if they don't need ICU care.
Officials said it'll be staffed by medical professionals on 12-hour shifts.

"Our focus will be on staffing this with local knowledge and expertise, but don't disrupt the local hospital ecosystem," said Dr. Nick Turkal, who will serve as the facility's administrator. "We want the hospitals to be able to keep all their employees with them doing the work that they need to do there."

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Gov. JB Pritzker discusses Illinois' coronavirus response efforts from Chicago's McCormick Place Friday, as the makeshift hospital prepares to accept its first patients.



Based on models, Pritzker said he's expecting Illinois' COVID-19 peak should happen sometime in the middle or end of April. But it remains unclear how quickly Illinois will come down off that peak."

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In Melrose Park, the former Westlake Hospital will soon reopen and house 230 beds, joining a growing list of alternate care facilities.

"Patients will be directed first to existing hospitals and if they are lower acuity, they will be transferred to these alternative sites," Gov. Pritzker said.

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McCormick Place will be the largest facility, with roughly 3,000 beds by the end of the month and 500 are already in place. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was the lead on the effort, says Chicago is not in the red for regular hospital beds yet, so they may not receive any patients Friday.

The Army Corps of Engineers said the beds are ready whenever they're needed and the project is ahead of schedule.

And again the governor is criticizing the White House saying Illinois has had to cut its own deals with airlines and shipping companies to bring personal protection equipment from China after Washington denied his request to help with transport.

Amid a daily drumbeat of tragic news and numbers, officials shared positive data about how people are recovering.

"Seven days after diagnosis, essentially 50% of the people reported that they were recovered," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

"If we were to do 14 days after the diagnosis, you can only imagine that those numbers will only grow," Dr. Ezike added.

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Doctor Susan Bleasdale, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at UI Health joined ABC7 Friday morning to talk about protecting yourself from coronavirus.



Meanwhile, drive-through testing began Thursday at Roseland Hospital. Hundreds of people showed up Thursday at what is the only community hospital doing drive-through testing on the South Side. They hope to offer 200 tests each day.

Governor Pritzker has called for licensed health care providers available to fight against COVID-19 to register online at illinoishelps.net.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health websiteid

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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