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Pritzker: Frustrated at feds’ failures on COVID-19

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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.

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