State Watch

Illinois governor self-quarantining after staff member tests positive for coronavirus

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and several employees in his office will self-quarantine for an “appropriate isolation period” after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Pritzker’s office said in a statement on Monday that an employee who is in close contact with the governor and other staff members received a positive test result late last week. Pritzker and every other employee who has come to work in person amid the crisis have tested negative for the virus. 

Pritzker received another test early Sunday and again tested negative. 

Roughly 20 employees in the governor’s office have regularly reported to work at the the James R. Thompson Center amid the coronavirus outbreak. The office said that it has administered daily temperature checks for employees and that every staffer wears a face covering during the workday.

Staff members are also following social distancing and strict hygiene procedures, Pritzker’s office said, adding that government premises would undergo a deep cleaning. 

“The Governor and staff will return to the office when [Illinois Department of Public Health] deems appropriate,” the statement said. 

Pritzker plans to continue holding daily coronavirus briefings through video conferences.

Illinois’s health department had reported more than 77,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases and roughly 3,400 deaths from the disease as of Monday morning. 

Pritzker last week unveiled a five-part tentative plan for reopening businesses and institutions in the state. He said the second phase started on May 1 and that it was predicated on flattening hospital use and infection rates while also increasing testing capacity. 

He said regions that reach “certain thresholds over the next few weeks” will be allowed to enter the third phase, which will permit state parks and some nonessential businesses to reopen.

The governor has been vocal about the need for medical equipment and adequate testing supplies amid the crisis. Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Pritzker said that he was wasn’t “counting on the White House” to help with testing supplies because “there have been too many situations in which they have made promises” but “not delivered.”

“We’re doing it alone, as the White House has left all the states to do. And we have done well spinning up testing. We continue to grow our testing,” Pritzker said.


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