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Pritzker Staffer Tests Positive For COVID-19, New Cases Predicted To Peak In Mid-June

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Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream

CHICAGO – A senior Pritzker administration staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and all employees in the Governor’s office are now working from home as a precaution.

Governor Pritzker gave his first press briefing from his home in Chicago, a social distancing practice carried out after a staffer tested positive for the virus.

Pritzker said he learned about the staffer’s situation late last week, and is self-isolating to be sure no one else contracts the disease.

“I think we all felt that because that person is there everyday and interacts with other members of the staff on a regular basis and me on a slightly irregular basis, that we wanted to make sure that we followed all the rules for socially distancing and in particular for isolating,” Pritzker said.

The governor said the administration took action early enough to prevent further spread of the virus in the office.

“I feel fine and I have tested negative, and so I don’t think, at least at the moment, that there’s any real danger,” he said.

Pritzker declined to publicly identify the staffer during a press briefing Monday. The staffer is reportedly asymptomatic.

The governor said while the person was never with him at any of the daily press conferences, they did work on the same floor as each other in Chicago’s Thompson Center.

He said contact tracers are working to identify people the staffer may have recently contacted.

COVID-19 Peak Extended From Mid-May To Mid-June

Illinois public health experts are predicting the state’s peak of new coronavirus cases will come in mid-June.

Officials had been predicting a peak to occur this month, but Governor J.B. Pritzker said the calculation has changed based on new data from hospitals and testing centers.

“The more days of data that you have, like how many COVID-19 patients were admitted to the hospital or how many cases tested positive, the better their ability to project future outcome,” Pritzker said.

He said the projection is a “positive” sign that Illinois is successfully flattening its curve, and indicates those who are or who may yet become sick will not overwhelming the state’s healthcare system.

“What we’ve been aiming to do since early March is slow down the exponential rate of transmission,” Pritzker said.

The state confirmed another 1,266 COVID-19 cases Monday. More than 79,000 have contracted the disease in all, and more than 3,400 have died.

While the data trends appear to show a later peak than expected, stay-at-home restrictions may ease in all but one Illinois region by next month. Since the start of May, all areas of the state except Chicagoland have so far been meeting the Governor’s thresholds for phased reopening.

Sam Dunklau is a reporter with NPR Illinois in Springfield.

 

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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