“We’re not yet at the peak,” Gov. J.B. Pritkzer said this afternoon, adding that it will take at least two weeks after COVID-19 cases start to decline before he’d consider easing the state’s stay at home order.

The new case numbers for today appeared to confirm the governor’s assessment about a peak — with eight new cases reported in Evanston and 1,585 reported across the state.

Two additional deaths were reported in Evanston today, bringing the COVID-19 total here to eight. Chicago reported 64 more deaths, for a total of 491. Statewide the daily toll was 124 for a total of 1,259.

One of the additional deaths reported by the city today appears, based on Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office records, to be a 72-year-old white male who died on Tuesday and lived in the 60202 zip code. He was identified by the Chicago Tribune as Tom Ferguson, a retired Oakton Elementary School art teacher.

Details on the other victim were not available.

Evanston now has reported a total of 222 novel coronavirus cases and statewide the count is 29,160.

Skokie today reported 15 additional COVID-19 cases, raising its total to 313. Skokie has now recorded 13 deaths from the pandemic.

The governor’s comments today make it appear almost certain that he will extend the stay-at-home order that’s now scheduled to expire on April 30.

In response to questions, Pritzker said he is unable to provide meaningful advice to people planning weddings or other large gatherings this summer.

For large gatherings, he said, “We’d have to be long past a period of 14 days of diminishing hospitalizations.”

“I wish I could be more definitive,” he said, “but we just don’t know what’s happening from week to week.”

The governor also announced a new free service for remote monitoring of patients recovering from COVID-19 symptoms at home in the Chicago area. It’s operated by Advocate Aurora Health and the hotline number to sign up for the service is 866-443-2584.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that as of midnight Friday night, hospitals in Evanston and rest of eastern Lake and Cook counties north of Chicago were using 83 percent of their 172 intensive care unit beds and 58 percent of their 136 ventilators.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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