Coronavirus Illinois: IL reports under 2K new COVID-19 cases for 1st time in 12 days; Gov. Pritzker defends reopening plan

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois has reported less than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in 12 days.

On Sunday, Illinois health officials announced 1,656 new coronavirus cases and 57 additional deaths, a noticeable drop in both cases and deaths over the past few days. There are now 77,741 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state, and a total of 3,406 deaths.

With protesters and even a Chicago church pushing back on Illinois stay-at-home order over the weekend, Gov. JB Pritzker defended his cautious reopening plan during an interview on CNN Sunday.

"We are being very careful. We have a 28-day period that we're in now during the month of May, in which we're watching all these numbers. Monitoring them, " Pritzker said.

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The governor said Illinois officials have "done a lot to make sure that we're keeping these numbers moving in the right direction."

"We will not reopen unless we meet all of the standards that I've set for doing so," Pritzker said.

The governor also announced that he put together a group with the state health department to track cases of children with an illness possibly linked to COVID-19.

He added that the state plans to launch a massive contract tracing effort in the next few weeks.

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A Chicago church opened its doors for in-person Sunday services on the second weekend of Illinois' modified stay-at-home order.



On the second weekend of Illinois' modified stay-at-home order, a Chicago church opened its doors for in-person Sunday services.

Officials at Metro Praise International on the city' Northwest Side announced the church reopening to the public in what they call a passive resistance to Gov. Pritzker's statewide stay-at-home order.

Chicago protesters demand reopening of Illinois businesses on 2nd weekend of new stay-at-home order

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A rally held outside Chicago's Thompson Center Saturday is calling for Gov. JB Pritzker to allow Illinois businesses to reopen.



On Saturday, Chicago protesters gathered outside the Thompson Center, demanding that Pritzker allow businesses to reopen.

Some of the protesters questioned why some stores can remain open, while others cannot.

The governor was hit with another lawsuit earlier this week from a downstate hair salon owner, who says Pritzker doesn't have the authority to close her business.

"The legislature never delegated the authority to the governor to close businesses even under a disaster. That was specifically delegated to the Department of Health," said attorney Thomas DeVore.

ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer said, "The executive branch has immense authority, especially in emergency situations, which this is. It doesn't mean it's limitless authority. But it means it's very broad. And in an emergency, you typically see courts be very deferential to the executives."

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The federal government announced it's shipping donated remesivir to help patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in six states, including Illinois.



Over the weekend, the federal government confirmed it's shipping donated remdesivir to help patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in six states, including Illinois.

It remains unclear when Illinois will receive the supply of the medication, which is considered the first drug that appears to help some COVID-19 patients recover faster.

Iowa, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey will also get cases of remdesivir, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of the drug to treat hospitalized patients.

Gilead Sciences, Inc., the maker, donated it to the federal government. It'll be up to state health departments to distribute it to hospitals.

A spokesperson for Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker's Office said the total allotment hasn't yet been determined. The plan to distribute the drug is also still being finalized, the spokesperson said.

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

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that the state is further expanding its COVID-19 testing. He plans to announce three new drive-thru testing locations in the coming days.

Illinois reached a new COVID-19 testing milestone Friday, reporting that more than 20,000 tests were conducted in a single day.

But doubling the initial COVID-19 testing goal of 10,000 still isn't enough for a broad reopening of Illinois' economy.

According to a Harvard University analysis, Illinois needs more than 64,000 tests before loosening the stay-at-home order.

"Even if we're one of the best states in the nation on testing, we know it's not enough to be where we need to be on a longer time frame," Pritzker said earlier this week. "I'm committed to continuing our successes on this front because it is fundamental to our economic future and to keeping Illinoisans safe while COVID-19 is still out there."
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