Trump and Pritzker trade criticisms over COVID-19 response as Illinois surpasses 11,000 cases

Coronavirus

It’s clear President Donald Trump and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker are at odds when it comes to the fight against COVID-19, and the two continued trading strong words on national TV Sunday.

 During his afternoon press conference, Pritzker said he’s given up on the Federal government as Illinois’ COVID-19 cases top 11,000 with 274 deaths.

“The idea that the United States federal government did nearly nothing for quite a long time is now being visited upon us and I’ve said this over and over again that if action had been taken earlier, a lot fewer lives would be lost,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker says he’s working to get all the supplies and resources Illinois needs before COVID-19 cases peak in the next couple weeks, but says it’s been a constant battle with the White House.

“If you could experience the frustration of trying to get PPE (personal protective equipment) when you’re competing against the very people who are supposed to be your allies in this, you would understand why this bothers me and why I express myself in the way that I do,” Pritzker said Sunday.

President Trump fired back at the governor during his afternoon press briefing Sunday, saying, “he’s not able to do what you’re supposed to be able to do as a governor, he has not performed well.”

Vice President Mike Pence said he assured governor Pritzker that Illinois will get the resources, equipment and support the state needs. They sent 600 ventilators from the country’s strategic reserves, but Pritzker says Illinois needs thousands.

Watch Above: Governor JB Pritzker and health officials give update on the spread of COVID-19 in Illinois, state measures

City and state leaders have praised the work of some federal agencies. The Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois National Guard spent a week transforming McCormick Place into an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients.

On Sunday, state health officials confirmed 899 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 additional coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois, bringing the overall state totals up to 11,256 cases and 274 deaths.

The latest deaths include 19 in Cook County, 4 in DuPage County, three in Kane County, and one each in Lake, Kankakee, Montgomery, Peoria and Will counties. Boone, Calhoun and Gallatin counties reported their first cases.

Also among the deaths was a prisoner infected during an outbreak at Stateville Prison, according to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

City and state leaders continue to encourage people to stay home, especially as we approach the Easter holiday.

Following the latest federal guidance, they also said that if you must go out in public, wear a mask and keep your distance.

Pritzker said he is wearing a face mask while outside himself, and even arrived at the briefing wearing one.

“People should wear a mask, people should make a mask if you don’t have one already, and make sure you’re keeping social distance,” Pritzker said.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker arrives at a press conference wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Pritzker also announced Sunday that essential in the healthcare, human services, essential government services and essential infrastructure sectors qualify for the state’s childcare assistance program, “meaning the state will cover most if not all of the cost with our emergency childcare providers.”

“That includes everyone from nurses and doctors to support staff in hospitals, to grocery store clerks and food producers,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the assistance would be available on the Illinois Department of Human Services’ website and at coronavirus.illinois.gov.

According to Pritzker, over 550 small-scale childcare centers are operating under emergency licenses, in addition to 1,500 home childcare providers that serve essential workers. Any centers that receive state assistance will begin getting an increased amount, Pritzker said, to compensate for space restrictions created by social distancing guidelines.

In Indiana, health officials reported 11 more deaths from COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 127 as the number of confirmed cases rises to 4,411. The most number of new cases were in Marion County, which reported 191.

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