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Pritzker’s Daily COVID-19 Briefing Full Transcript And Audio — Jan. 15, 2021

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Gov. Pritzker gives a press briefing on January 15, 2021.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike held a COVID-19 press briefing today as cases and hospitalizations in Illinois reach record highs. Read and listen to the latest update from the governor’s office on new cases, phased re-opening and closings of different regions and the state’s ongoing pandemic response. You can watch the most recent press briefings at 12 p.m. every day here on Illinois Newsroom.

Have a question about COVID-19? Ask Illinois Newsroom, and we’ll try our best to answer. The questions we receive from you directly inform the stories we tell and what we investigate. Let us know what you need to know!


 

Gov. Pritzker

When the data showed infections and hospitalizations rising precipitously shortly before Thanksgiving, we needed to tighten up considerably to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed, like we’re seeing now in states like Georgia and California, Arizona, Texas, as usual most Illinois and took these mitigations very seriously. And I really want to thank all of the people and businesses throughout the state who acted to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. It involves painful sacrifice, but prevents the loss of many more lives. With the advice of confection infection control experts and infectious disease experts, we set out a standard of three metrics for loosening restrictions, as the data began to show improvement, one sustained hospital capacity at or greater than 20%. a steady and or decreasing number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in each region, and a decreasing regional seven-day average test positivity rate. I just want to repeat the three metrics sustained hospital capacity at or greater than 20%, a steady or decreasing number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the region, and a decreasing regional seven-day average test positivity rate. My great hope is that all of our regions will move out of the tears of resurgence mitigations. And with vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Madonna, hopefully increasing in the coming weeks and months, with new vaccines potentially receiving approval from the FDA, and with an organized whole of government effort by the new president administration. Gradually as we move through the spring, we will see meaningful reductions in COVID illnesses and death. Now, I’m happy to report today that the majority of Illinois regions are making good progress. effective immediately three regions Region One, Northern Illinois, region two North Central Illinois and region five Southern Illinois, we’ll move down into tier two. From tier three of our remaining regions. The data shows that most are on track to leave tier three in the coming days, if current trends hold. Each of these tiers serves as a way to ensure that we prevent or slow down any potential surge of infections in response to more things opening up. You can see all the details of each tier at the IDPH website at IDPH.illinois.gov/COVID-19. Some examples of loosened mitigations in tier two include the return of group fitness classes, the return of lower risk youth and recreational sports and the reopening of cultural institutions like museums at 25% capacity with social distancing. Regions moving to tier one will have the cap on gatherings expanded to 25 people. In addition, the trajectory of the data in each region has given Dr. Ezike and IDPH some confidence that a careful and limited reopening of bars and restaurants. In regions that have attained tier one will not lead to a resurgence. So, they have altered tier one to allow indoor service in the hospitality industry. bars and restaurants have carried an extremely heavy burden throughout this public health crisis through no fault of their own. And I’ve had continuous conversations with public health experts and industry leaders about adjustments that we can make in order to help these institutions operate more safe. There is no 21st century pandemic playbook. But it’s always been my goal to balance supporting our hospital systems with supporting economic vitality and strong recovery. As we ramp up vaccine distribution efforts across the state, we’re able to adjust our mitigation efforts further while maintaining that balance.

So, to reiterate, any regions that meet the criteria for tier one of our resurgence mitigations will be able to allow restaurants and bars that serve food to operate indoors at the lesser of 25 people or 25% capacity per room with tables of no more than four people. And of course, any regions that have improved enough to move into phase four, and out of tier one can resume some greater indoor operations. Have at bars and restaurants as long as tables are kept six feet apart, just like last summer, the same rules will apply when they move into fear phase four that were in existence last summer. the closure of indoor service still applies in regions that remain in tier two, and tier three. In other words, those were the positivity rate at or above 8%, or 12%, along with failing to meet either of the hospital metrics, until they’re able to meet the tier one standard. Clearly, some progress has been made to combat this virus across our regions. But I want to stress that it’s incredibly important for Illinois to not let their guard down. We have now formally identified the first Illinois case of the more contagious British variant. And on top of that there are new variants from Japan, South Africa, Nigeria, and Brazil, that we also know a little bit about. But again, it’s the British variant that’s been identified the first case of it here in Illinois, we must remain vigilant if we are to maintain our progress. Honestly, that’s going to be up to each and every one of us to keep our schools open and see an economic recovery that restores jobs and businesses. We’ve got to wear a mask, limit interactions with people outside our households, and get vaccinated when it’s our turn. Yesterday, President Elect Biden put out a serious and deliberate plan to accelerate bringing an end to this pandemic. I’ve had numerous conversations with the incoming administration to share the challenges the states have faced and what role the federal government must play in our recovery. So to have republican governor, the people President Elect Biden is bringing with him into office a really an impressive group. And I look forward to partnering with the Biden administration to accelerate vaccination efforts, protect the health of Illinois and provide meaningful economic support to our workers and small businesses, and overall build back better. I have every reason to be optimistic for the future of Illinois and the nation. And I urge the Congress to take up the Biden plan immediately here on the home front, in our state. Today, I want to lay out the infrastructure for our Illinois COVID-19 vaccination administration plan, designed to vaccinate our residents as equitably and as quickly as the manufacturers can deliver vaccines to us. Starting next week, and increasing over the coming several weeks, we’ll be bringing online hundreds of vaccination sites across the state, including retail pharmacy chain location, Illinois National Guard mobile team, state run mass vaccination locations in northern central and southern Illinois hospitals and urgent care locations, and ultimately doctors’ offices and large employers who can host their own workplace clinics.

Our pharmacy vaccinations will be a by online appointment only. So please don’t try to line up at the store or try to call your local pharmacy now. Links will be active and shared with you when the appointments are available. Patients will be required in these first weeks of phase one B because vaccine supplies are just extremely limited. Having said that, announcements from the incoming administration have given me hope that we will see increased deliveries soon. To make this all a bit easier for the public before January 25th. When phase one day opens, we will launch the Illinois COVID-19 vaccination administration plan website, giving everyone the ability to find a nearby vaccination site and information about how to make an appointment. All of this however, can only extend so far, when our weekly shipments remain still relatively small. We hope to see the vaccine supply grow soon, but we don’t control the production process. So, for a bit of context about that, when you exclude the federal Long Term Care Program doses that are taken out of the supplies delivered to Illinois, Illinois has received a total of approximately 704,125 doses since the nationwide vaccine rollout about four weeks ago. That’s less than 200,000 doses per week in a state of 12,700,000 people, each of whom needs to get two doses. We’re all anxious to get vaccinated. But in these next few weeks, at least patience is our watchword. So, thank you. And with that, I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Ngozi.

Dr. Ezike

Thank you, Governor and good afternoon, everyone. And I absolutely want to say Happy Friday. I think we do have many reasons to be happy today. Some of the mitigations that we needed to put in place to prevent our hospitals from being overrun, can now be rolled back in some regions as the governor described. We have therapeutics that can help people who are afflicted with COVID. And this includes the antiviral medicine Remdesivir, as well as two different monoclonal antibody treatments. I urge anyone who has been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 to talk with a healthcare provider about whether one or both of these benefits, beneficial treatments could be of use. And of course, not a secret to anyone. We have a safe and effective vaccine that’s available. We have two. In fact, I received my vaccination on Tuesday, and it just experienced some mild arm soreness several hours after the vaccination that lasted for about a day and a half, but did not interrupt any of my normal activities. The amount of vaccine coming into Illinois, however, is still at a trickle as the governor was mentioning, it’s not as much as we want or as much as we need. But we are working to get the vaccine that is delivered to Illinois into the hands of people as quickly and as equitably and as effectively as possible. And that takes continued planning and coordination and strategizing. We are collaborating with our hard-working local public health departments and health care providers to implement these plans to vaccinate as many as possible as quickly as possible, especially as we hopefully see that trickle of vaccine turned into an actual stream of vaccine. In the meantime, I’m urging all people to be patient, as the governor has said, and to understand that there are others with similar risk categories to you who may get vaccinated first, that doesn’t mean that it’s not your turn to be vaccinated. But the amount of vaccine is so limited that there is no way for every single person to get vaccinated at the same time. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, to lose patience is to lose the battle and we’ve come away too far to lose this battle now. So please, let’s exercise patience. And while we’re waiting for our vaccine, let’s not forget the things that have kept us here to date, we have to continue to wear the mask, continue to maintain distance, continue to avoid large gatherings, we need to do all of these things you can’t pick and choose this layered approach will get us to the end of this pandemic. In the last 24 hours, more than 107,000 COVID-19 results have been reported for a total of more than 14 point 5 million tests in Illinois. Today, 6642 new individuals were diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 1,059,324 total cases in the State of the State of Illinois since the beginning of this pandemic. Overnight, 3446 individuals were in hospitals across the state with COVID-19 of those 712. Were on ventilators. We’re in the intensive care unit, pardon me and 386 individuals were on ventilators across the state. As the governor mentioned, the COVID variant or the B 117. Found in the UK has been identified in Illinois as we expected it would be found. As we move towards opening back up I want to remind people that although we have no evidence that this new variant causes more severe disease, or more death, early studies do show that this variant spreads easier and more quickly. So if we do not continue to wear our masks, watch our distance and avoid gatherings. This new variant could sweep across the state as it swept across the UK. And that would lead us back to a place that we don’t want to go. We will continue to work with our academic partners, our laboratory partners, researchers, physicians and the CDC to monitor for additional cases. But we all need to continue to do our very important part as well. Again, we knew we find the new variant in Illinois, but that notwithstanding, I am encouraged, and I am hopeful and I hope that you are too. We will get through these next months as we head towards the finish line.

Q &A

Gov. Pritzker

Well, before we take questions, I just have one other item I’d like to address. And that’s the security around our state capitol in Springfield ahead of the inauguration. And amid FBI reports of threats to state capital cities across the nation, this is an outline of some of the work that my Public Safety Agency leaders have done to protect the people and assets in our state capitol. So, this morning, I activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard for working to have them work alongside our Illinois State Police, the Secretary of State Police, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and our local and federal counterparts and law enforcement. Together, their mission is to safeguard the right to peaceful protest, and to protect the residents of Illinois from anything to the contrary. I’m very proud that the Illinois National Guard is also deploying 300 service members to our nation’s capital city, as part of the inauguration Support Mission, joining 1000s of their fellow countrymen, and fellow guards’ men and women to ensure the sanctity of a peaceful transition the very core of a strong democracy. There’s really no greater duty than that. But I do want to make clear that our guard personnel is not infinite. Ongoing missions here in Illinois will take more time to ramp up because more of our troops are bound for DC on the essential mission of protecting the nation that we love. But we will be adequately protected. And I want to thank the guard. And I want to thank all law enforcement that are engaged in providing security over the next number of days. So, thank you, and I’ll be happy to take questions from members of media.

Question 1

Are you committed to signing the criminal justice reform bill approved this week?

Gov. Pritzker

So let me be clear that, as you know, I campaigned on a number of the items in that criminal justice reform bill, including cash bail, ending cash bail, making sure that we have police reform, that’s incorporated into really every level of policing in the state of Illinois. And I’m very pleased with that bill. So, it’s something that has not come to my desk yet. But you know, where I stand on most of the issues in that

Question 2

The Macon County board voted to limit the power of the health department when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation violations. What is your message to this local government and others who are moving forward with opening bars and restaurants and making decisions like this?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, I mean, I can repeat myself, I and you’ve heard me say this before, how important it is that we keep our residents safe and healthy. That unfortunately, bars and restaurants, especially when there is community spread, are an amplification point for infection. And that’s been shown in study after study in the data that’s been presented. So, it is dangerous to reopen in an environment in which you haven’t reached the metrics that have been set out by the doctors, by IDPH, epidemiologists and scientists. So that’s my message to Macomb County. I know, a number of the officials there. Many of them have resisted this move. I and I have great respect for those who are standing up for their residents and doing the right thing.

Question 3

What is the budgetary impact that President Elect Biden’s stimulus proposal could have on Illinois, if Congress passes it? Would it help Illinois avoid cuts furloughs or reduce the size of the fiscal 2021 deficit?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, of course, I’ve been saying all along that the loss of revenues as a result of COVID-19 is the biggest challenge in the 2021 budget. And so when you look at what vice president sorry, President Elect Biden has proposed, it would support not just Illinois but states across the nation, and they’re filling the hole that was left by the loss of revenues from COVID-19. So yes, it will be helpful to our budget in the year fiscal year 2021.

Question 4

Is (Cook) County issuing citations for businesses not following mitigation measures? if not, why?

Isreal Roccia

Yes, we are issuing some citations. And we work with local municipalities to do that, to make sure that we are doing everything possible to educate, to train and to safeguard the residents of Cook County.

Question 5

We do have a variety of questions that are about the IRS comments yesterday, and whether or not the city of Chicago will be moving to the next tier and what is holding them back. And if you two have talked, can you address that?

Gov. Pritzker

We have spoken. As you know, we have metrics that we’ve set out for quite some time now that determine whether a region whether it’s region 11, that Chicago or any other region can move from tier three to tier two or tier one or back to phase four. And the city of Chicago, unfortunately, at least at this moment, although it’s heading very much in the right direction, I seal is in tier three, and there still is a high positivity rate in and challenged with their COVID hospitalizations, that doesn’t quite meet the metrics. Having said that, if you look at the progression of the numbers in Chicago, they are moving very much in the right direction. So, I’m hopeful I expressed that to the mayor, that we can, you know, move Chicago into lower tiers than tier three, sometimes. But it will all be based upon the metrics that we’ve laid out; I just want to be clear with everybody. This isn’t random decision making. We’ve been very clear. And I think transparent about what the metrics are based on science based on the recommendations of doctors. And you’ve seen that other regions are moving down to tier two and, frankly, are on a trajectory to get to tier one relatively soon.

Question 6

There’s so much confusion, tears, phases, etc. And clearly so many restaurants are ignoring the rules anyway, while others are following your guidelines. Is it time to sit back and reassess all of this and let some businesses and customers dine inside at their own risk?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, I want to simplify for your understanding for everybody’s understanding that we’re really, you know, so many phases and tiers. As mentioned, there are really at this point, there’s tier three, tier two, tier one and phase four. I mean, those are really what everybody should be focused on, where, you know, we just essentially have moved the whole state to a point where, because the numbers are going in the right direction, tier three can be removed for anybody that meets the metrics at this point is we’re past. We think we’re past the surge that could have come from Christmas and New Year’s. I say that with some trepidation, because, you know, there’s always the possibility that we’ll see an upsurge from that. But I think with one incubation period past New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, you know, our numbers look like good news. And in terms of, you know, just removing the mitigations altogether, we’re not at that point. I mean, the whole reason that we’re at a point where things are moving in the right direction, is because people are following the mitigations. And when you say, with so many restaurants not following the vast majority of restaurants and bars, hospitality locations, are doing the right thing. They are following the mitigations. And we’ve provided some relief to them. And there’s more relief coming with the Biden plan, which I’m very happy about. And I’ve had lobbied for, right. So, I so that’s why we’re going to keep our mitigation regime in place with an understanding that, you know, things are heading in the right direction, and that bars and restaurants and other businesses will be able to reopen even more as we move down back toward phase four.

Question 7

With the new cases at the bank of Springfield center and at the Capitol. Do you support vaccinating legislators before they return to Springfield?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, I think you know that we have, you know, phase one, a phase one be very well set anybody that meets the criteria for those phases. If they’re a healthcare worker, you know, in one be they meet any of the criteria in the industries in which they work, or they’re 65 or over which some members of the General Assembly are. Then they have the ability to get vaccinated in those phases, but there’s no effort to, you know, give special dispensation to elected officials in the state of Illinois. I have not been vaccinated. None of the constitutional officers as far as I know, and, and none of the members of the general shall be elected officials will fall in wherever they fall in as the rest of the population does.

Question 8

When it comes to long term care facilities, what is the timeline for when all residents receive their two doses of vaccine? And one can family members go back into the facilities to see their loved ones in person that might be better for doctors again?

Dr. Ezike

Thank you, sir. So, as you know, we have engaged with the federal pharmacy Partnership Program, which involves the CVS and Walgreens going into the long-term care facilities to do those vaccinations on behalf on behalf of us. So, we’re excited to be in that program, we have already allocated vaccine that includes not just our sniffs our skilled nursing facilities, but as well assisted livings and many other facilities as well, that there are quite a number of facilities. And so, there is some time that’s being taken. We know that most of the facilities as skilled nursing facilities have been scheduled, but to get three visits per location, and to get all of our long-term care facilities, we know that process will be many months. And in the meantime, we do have some facilities that have opted to take on the project themselves when they have medical staff. Some of them are vaccinating all the VA homes have been vaccinated have gotten the first shot. So, we are having a hybrid model, some will do it by themselves. Some local health departments will go in to help with the effort. But the majority will be done by the Federal pharmacy partnership program. And that will take several months to complete.

Question 9

So, we have a bunch of different questions on why we are deploying the National Guard. Are there specific threats? How worried are you about militia groups in Illinois? What sort of information is making you make this decision? governor?

Gov. Pritzker

Both of us today. I have spoken with federal officials, with the FBI, I of course, have gathered our security team for the state, we do not have a specific threat. But as you all Well, no, I think at this point, there is a general threat that that there will be you know, there are flyers that have been put around the internet to have armed protesters show up at all 50 state capitals. And there’s one particular flyer that has all 50 State Capitol addresses on that same flyer, essentially going to everybody that they can reach out to with that flyer. And again, armed protesters, they’re encouraging so we’re going to be prepared. And that’s why I want to make sure that we have got the National Guard out there. We’ve got state police, local police, as well as federal coordination. So, I feel you know, good about the plan that we’ve got, but again, no threats specific to, you know, to Illinois, or to the city of Chicago.

Question 10

Are you going to attend President Elect Biden’s inauguration?

Gov. Pritzker

That’s not my current plan, although I was invited. But remember, we’ve got challenges real crises here in the state of Illinois, I just talked about one potential, which is, you know, the security of our capital and, and making sure that we’re all hands-on deck dealing with that. And of course, we still have the pandemic among us and very much focused on vaccinations, and making sure that we’re rolling them out as fast as they are received from the federal government.

Question 11

We’re getting from a lot of different reporters is the question about youth sports, and how that’s impacting kids in high school and whether or not they will be able to play.

Gov. Pritzker

Well, first day, you know, of course, with all of these mitigations they they’re posing challenges for everybody. And, and as I’ve said, from the very beginning, the choices that we’ve had to make that I’ve had to make have been between bad and worse, because the pandemic really knows no boundaries. And even though a young person might survive the pandemic, much better than an older person, a young person can carry the disease to older people that he or she lives with, or their grandparents. And we want to be careful and avoid more community spread. Having said that, as you’ve seen, there are regions that are moving into lower tiers of mitigations. And in those lower tiers, as I announced today, there are youth sports and recreational sports for adults that are opening up. And so, I think that’s a good beginning, I would like to see the numbers continue falling, the, you know, regions, meeting the metrics for more open play of sports, for example. And we’re going to continue to work on making sure that that happens across the state, but it’s up to everybody in the state of Illinois, and particularly in the regions to make sure that they’re following the mitigations. Because right now, anyway, vaccinations are not going to squash the challenge that we have with COVID-19 across the state, it will gradually overtake the numbers, which is terrific. But right now, they’re not.

Question 12

Washington Post showed this morning that the Trump administration was not actually keeping a stockpile of vaccines, since that means there won’t be a flood of vaccines for Biden’s release. How does this affect the state’s hopes of getting increased vaccine?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, let me start by saying that I think you can all now see why I have been upset at times over the course of the last 10 months with the mismanagement by the Trump administration. I don’t think they know which end is up. Having said that, it is unclear to me still, whether there are vaccines aren’t vaccines available to be distributed to the States? I’m aware that for defense purposes, some vaccines were reserved for the military. I’m aware that the federal government does have some vaccine. I don’t know how much of that is available for further distribution. But I will say that that vice president sorry, President Elect Biden has repeatedly expressed his desire to make sure that we increase the amount of vaccine available. And one of the things he’s promised to do is to invoke the defense production Act, which will help us expand the manufacturing capability of those manufacturers, Madonna, Pfizer, and hopefully the Johnson and Johnson era. Approval will be given by the FDA. And again, the DPA the defense production act will help to amplify the production there. So, you know, again, we’re very hopeful, but it’s still unclear to me, whether there are vaccines sitting on the shelf available to be distributed now. Or if we need to just rely on amplified manufacturer.

Question 13

Can you address how many if any vaccine doses had to be discarded and for what reasons?

Gov. Pritzker

We have not as far as I know, we have not seen any large discarding of vaccine in the state of Illinois, but I’ll turn it over to Dr. Ezike to in case she’s aware of any.

Dr. Ezike

Yeah, I think there was a minimal amount that was reported. And again, we want to thank the groups that are being so forthcoming and sharing whatever challenges may have led to that. I know as a result of that there are new processes in place to ensure that similar errors don’t occur, but we’ve had just the most minimal amount of reported loss or wastage of vaccine.

Question 14

House Speaker Chris Walsh says he never hit a woman despite a police report alleging he did is any part of you worried about possible blowback the state’s democratic party may face if Republicans use these allegations against all Democrats, including you?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, let’s can we step back just for a moment? Since this is the first question that’s really had to do with Speaker Welch and just say how amazing it is, and a moment to celebrate that we have elected the first black Speaker of the House in Illinois. I mean, that is, it’s truly exciting. And I have congratulated him personally on the phone. I’ve congratulated him in a public statement. And I just want to say again, here, congratulations to him and to everyone involved in that election. Let me also say that speaker Welch answered questions repeatedly, from the caucus. And I think that’s one of the reasons that he ultimately was elected, that he adequately answered those questions to the caucus. And furthermore, women’s groups have really rallied behind him, but with a focus on restorative justice. And I think that’s the right reaction to this. And I think that, as Speaker Welch has addressed this publicly, he’s been asked publicly about it. He’s been asked privately about it, and has earned the support of many women and women’s groups. And so, you know, I think that’s, that’s important to point out in the context of the questions that he’s been asked.

Question 15

Are you going to add $500 million dollars to the deficit? Or will you take a second shot at the coupling? And is there a deadline, given the start of 2020 tax filings?

Gov. Pritzker

Let’s be clear that, although it didn’t happen in the short, lame duck session, there is I have a commitment from the leaders that it will be brought up in the regular session. Remember, this was brought up at three, four in the morning, and there were many Democrats who weren’t even there when the vote was taken on it in between some major other legislation, and, you know, which hadn’t been taken up because there had been no session for almost a year. So, I’m anticipating that it will get brought up soon in the in the new session of the General Assembly. It is very important for the state to follow the 35 other states that have you know, decoupled. This was a giveaway by McConnell and Trump, to businesses. And, you know, in Illinois and affects a very small number of businesses, a small percentage, but it is a large amount of money. large businesses are the predominant payers of the taxes. And these are folks obviously, if you’re paying taxes, you’re earning profits, even during the pandemic So, so we need to decouple and we’ll get it done.

Question 16

We’ve heard from legislators who are bothered that they were not included in COVID restrictions on the state. Why was this decision made?

Gov. Pritzker

Well, I can tell you why. I’ve had I mean hundreds, hundreds of conversations with legislators over the time that they chose not to meet. I and I reached out and talked to people in different regions I talked to, I had early conversations with Representative now senator Bailey represented will Hauer I spoke with the leaders on the other side of the aisle. And then, of course, with many Democrats to a so you know, the idea that people didn’t feel like they had input. That’s just not accurate. And we had staff every day answering questions for members of the General Assembly, and then distributing not just the questions and answers to the people who ask them, but to everyone else in the General Assembly. I had many meetings, as you know, there was a commission that was set up to consult with me, back in May by the legislature, I had many conversations with the leaders of that commission, and we sent doctrines, and leaders of our other agencies to appear before the commission. So, lots and lots of input was given. And I know that legislators were frustrated last year, by the fact that they couldn’t legislate they didn’t meet. I was frustrated by that. But I’m glad that they’re meeting now. I’m glad that there’s a plan to meet going forward. There’s a lot that needs to get done in this state. And, you know, not the least of which is things like, you know, addressing corruption and ethics reform, not the least of which is making sure that we pass a balanced budget. There are many other things that we need to do together, and I’m looking forward to working with members of the General Assembly when they meet.

Question 17

Federal health officials are encouraging states to include people under the age of 65, with high-risk medical conditions. In the next phase, does Illinois have plans to include this group? And phase one B, why or why not?

Gov. Pritzker

We’re looking at that. I know, that’s a recent recommendation from the federal government. We already have phase one B that has about 3.2 million people in it. Having said that, I you know, we all want to get make sure that we’re vaccinating everybody as fast as we possibly can. And I know the urgency that some people feel who have comorbidities that are younger than 65. So, we’re taking all that into account. And we’ll be talking about phase one B, as we move toward it and into it. And phase one C which will come after.

Question 18

Dr. Ezike, can you just for the last question for you restate your answer on the bars and restaurants versus indoor home gatherings in English for people who also wanted that?

Dr. Ezike

Oh, it was just a stating that any setting can be a site for transmission and can be a high-risk site that is depending on the comportment of the people. So, whether it’s in a home with mixed households where masks are not used, or obviously in a bar, where mass are not used. And of course, with bars mass will be taken off to eat and drink, which is what is done at bars. So of course, there is a risk there. So, I’m not putting one against the other both have the potential for risk, but it’s been established that bars and restaurants have been a site for transmission as well.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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