As COVID-19 cases in Evanston reached 27 today, Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters this afternoon that he is “deeply concerned, frustrated and sometimes even angry” at the failures of the federal government to provide supplies Illinois needs to fight the pandemic.

Asked whether he has any optimism that the federal government will “ride to the rescue,” the governor said his optimism has waned about that.

“I’m hopeful,” he said, “that the commerical laboratories and the private sector will help us figure this out. So far the federal government hasn’t.”

Private companies, he said, are developing rapid tests that could provide results on the spot rather than taking four to five hours as current tests do. “That would be a revolution here,” Pritzker said, and “the ingenuity of the people of Illinois, in the private sector, at laboratories and hospitals, is heartening.”

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois now stands at 753 and a sixth person, a Cook County man in his 70s, has died of the disease.

The governor announced plans to make it easier for recently retired medical professionals to reactivate their state licenses to join the fight against the virus and said that all license renewal deadlines for active medical professionals would be postponed until September.

He also urged business owners and workers with questions about the details of his shelter-in-place order to review the executive order and a frequently asked questions document on the state website to see whether their businesses are considered essential and therefore can remain open.

The governor’s order directing Illinois residents to stay in their homes goes into effect at 5 p.m. today and more details about that are also available online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Coronavirus in Evanston

    Any chance we can know a little more about the nature of those who tested positive?  NU students? Residents of care facilities? etc.

    1. Cases here

      Hi Eleanor Jo,

      State and local health officials have generally refused to specify where COVID-19 victims included in area case counts work, saying the information would violate patient privacy.

      However some employers — notably Northwestern University — have posted tallies of how many of their folks were affected.

      Northwestern says that it has had six cases, all on the Evanston campus. We’ve learned that all of those were staff members and, as far as we know, only one lives in Evanston.

      The case count provided by the city includes ONLY city residents, so presumably there is just a one-person overlap between the City of Evanston and the Northwestern University counts.

      Separately it has been learned that three residents of Three Crowns Park have tested positive for COVID-19. Those people are included in the City of Evanston count.

      — Bill

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