Coronavirus Illinois: Judge rules in favor of lawmaker who sued over stay-at-home order as COVID-19 death toll nears 2K

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Judge rules in favor of lawmaker who sued over Illinois' stay-at-home order
Gov. JB Pritzker promised a swift appeal after a judge ruled in favor of an Illinois lawmaker who sued the state over the governor's extended stay-at-home order.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker promised a swift appeal after a judge ruled in favor of an Illinois lawmaker who sued the state over the governor's extended stay-at-home order.

WATCH: Gov. JB Pritzker's COVID-19 briefing on April 27, 2020

Watch Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike's opening remarks from the Illinois COVID-19 update on April 27, 2020.

The ruling comes as Illinois' coronavirus death toll reached just under 2,000 over the weekend. Illinois health officials announced 1,980 new COVID-19 cases and 50 additional deaths on Monday.

There are now 45,883 cases confirmed in the state, including 1,983 deaths. In the past 24 hours, more than 12,000 tests have been processed.

Coronavirus in Illinois: Latest news on COVID-19 cases, Chicago area impact

Republican State Representative Darren Bailey from downstate Xenia filed a lawsuit last week challenging the governor's authority to issue a stay-at-home order.

In a statement last week, Bailey said: "Enough is enough. I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life."

That ruling applies only to that one lawmaker. It does not lift the stay-at-home order for anyone else. But ultimately, it could have broad legal implications for everyone in the state.

"It's insulting," Pritzker said. "It's dangerous, and people's safety and health has now been put at risk," Pritzker said.

A downstate judge handed the victory to Bailey, who sued the governor over the current stay-at-order which was set to expire Thursday.

"Our governor needs to focus on restoring this state and getting this state back up and running and making it better," Bailey said.

Bailey had argued Pritzker, as governor, does not have the authority to extend the order citing state law, which he says grants quarantine authority to county health departments.

"The governor's one-size-fits-all thing was a little frustrating to me, and unbeknownst and then to find out some of these facts, I realize yeah, it's indeed unconstitutional because he is not following Illinois law," Bailey said.

"There may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done now," Pritzker said.

But the judge's granting of a temporary restraining order applies only to Bailey since the first-term downstate lawmaker had argued his case narrowly, though Bailey's victory could open the door to an avalanche of litigation.

"I'm encouraging people to do what people do in this free land, to do what they see fit," Bailey said.

The Illinois Attorney General's office filed a brief Monday asking the judge to overturn the restraining order, saying: "Bailey's complaint and motion are based on the erroneous premise that the Governor's authority lapsed even while the COVID-19 pandemic continued unabated."

"The governor's order itself was extraordinary to see a disaster proclamation this broad and this extensive," ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer said. "And it's equally unusual to see a judge overturn it, so we're really in unchartered waters here."

While pursuing an appeal, the governor said he still intends to seek an extension of order. He's expected to issue new directives before Friday.

Pritzker said Monday that he hoped municipalities would follow the guidelines from his order while things are sorted out in court. Senate Republican leader Bill Brady also urged people to continue to follow the governor's guidelines.

Speaker Mike Madigan issued a statement Monday afternoon calling Bailey's lawsuit "extremely reckless and shortsighted."

In a statement, State Rep. Bailey told ABC7: "I am very happy with the judge's decision regarding the constitutionality of Illinois law. Illinois has a mechanism and plan in place to deal with situations like this. The mechanism is the IDPH and the plan is the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan."

Coronavirus testing: Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Illinois, Chicago area

Gov. Pritzker is pointing to some signs of encouragement in the fight against COVID-19. The state is cutting back significantly on beds for COVID-19 patients at the McCormick Place alternative care facility.

According to state officials, they no longer need so many beds due to the slow growth of coronavirus cases in the state. The governor said they're going to move some of the hired staffing for that facility to other areas.

Across Illinois, there are about 4,600 people in the hospital for COVID-19. Nearly 1,300 of those patients are in the ICU.

Governor Pritzker said it's too soon to tell if schools will be able to open as normal in the fall. Schools across Illinois were closed in mid-March. Now many districts are working on remote learning, or e-learning.

The governor said no matter what happens, e-learning is important, and the pandemic has revealed that more needs to be done.

"Many, many schools are not ready for e-learning but should be and the state actually has funds available to help school districts, to help school districts to help spin up e-learning," Pritzker said.

The governor said teachers need to be ready to continue e-learning in the fall and, also be prepared to go back to the classroom.

The state has touted an increase in testing over the past few days.

ZIP CODE TRACKER: Where is coronavirus in Illinois?

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that Illinois surpassed its goal of conducting 10,000 COVID-19 tests in a day for the first time. It's a critical milestone in the state's marathon battle against coronavirus

In total, Illinois has conducted more than 214,000 COVID-19 tests. But not every type of test is supported by the state.

State health officials confirmed Saturday that there's been a spike in calls to the Illinois Poison Center after President Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant to fight COVID-19.

Ezike urged residents to listen to scientists and health experts about how to stay healthy during the pandemic.

"Injecting, ingesting, snorting household cleaners is dangerous. It is not advised and can be deadly," Ezike said over the weekend.

Trump recommended disinfectants as a possible treatment for the virus during Thursday's White House briefing. On Friday, he walked back his remarks, claiming he was being sarcastic.

But poison centers across the country are reporting a spike in calls, including in Illinois, where it's up 60% compared to the same time frame last year.

Gov. JB Pritzker gives update on Illinois' COVID-19 cases on April 25, 2020.

"Some recent examples is the use of the detergent solution for a sinus rinse and gargling with a bleach and mouthwash mixture in an attempt to kill coronavirus," Ezike said.

Dr. Michael Wahl of the Illinois Poison Center said, "When we think of cleaning products designed to clean your bathroom, they are going to be caustic. They are going to cause damage and injury to the tissues whether it is in your lungs, or in your nose or in your mouth."

The makers of Clorox and Lysol are telling consumers not to consume their products.

Separate from this issue, the Illinois Poison Center has seen an overall uptick in calls since March. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge consumers to read instructions on product labels. Poison control specialists are available 24/7 to help with concerns at 1-800-222-1222.

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