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Pritzker’s Daily COVID-19 Briefing Full Transcript And Audio — Nov. 20, 2020

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike are holding daily COVID-19 press briefings 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 2:30pm 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!



Governor Pritzker 

Well, good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the COVID-19 update for Friday, November the 20th. I want to kick us off by building on last Friday’s conversation about housing stability. To remind you, Illinois launched the largest housing assistance program in the nation in response to the covid 19 pandemic, dedicating over $300 million to help households pay their rent and their mortgages in this extraordinarily challenging time. Today, we’ve reached a new milestone, the emergency Rental Assistance Program has approved nearly $200 million in rental assistance to sustain 40,000 Illinois renters and landlords during these extraordinary times. Because of this program, 10s of thousands of families may have a more peaceful Thanksgiving, knowing that their housing is secure. And as of this week, more than $40 million has been approved from our mortgage assistance program on track to support 10,000 homeowners by the end of 2020.

In fact, after meeting the needs of our mortgage owners, we have enough additional funding remaining to support an additional 10,000 renters and their landlords, bringing the total support for rent payment to well over $200 million by the end of this year. I’m grateful to the eye HDA executive director Kristen Faust and her entire team for their dedication and commitment to stretching the reach of these funds to support even more Illinoisans in need. Of course, I wish all of these support amounts could be so much higher 10s of thousands more people applied for assistance than we have the capacity to serve at the state level, as the nation faces a massive housing instability crisis. Due to this pandemic.

I want to remind all Illinoisans, who are struggling to pay their rent or their mortgage, whether or not you applied for this program, we have an eviction protection order in place for middle and lower income individuals and families that runs through at least December 12. The form that renters need to compete complete for eviction protection can be found on www.ihda.org. That’s I ah da.org. Here in Illinois and across the country, renters, landlords and homeowners are experiencing immense pain. And if this nation’s largest developed Assistance Program, the one we have here is hearing from more than twice as many people as we can actually help. Well, that’s a sign that we need serious action on a national scale. My administration will continue to call on the United States Senate to come to the bargaining table with a real willingness to address that pain, the pain of the families, businesses, landlords, renters, workers, state cities, school teachers, health care workers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs.

It’s paying the transcends political party. Americans deserve more than this. And we need more than this. Today is the first formal day of our temporary tier three mitigations. Remember, the core philosophy here is that if we all stay home as much as possible, if we all avoid the trips outside the house that we don’t need to take right now. We can fight this recent surge and turn things around for our health care workers and hospital systems who are facing an increasingly dangerous situation across the state. And we can potentially pull back on these mitigations for everyone before the December holidays. I want to offer a reminder about who we’re talking about when we say healthcare workers. These are real people, doctors and nurses and cafeteria workers and sanitation workers and other essential workers who never thought that they’d end up working double shifts on multiple days in the same week. for weeks on end, in the middle of the worst public health crisis in over a century. They too, have families that they worry about.

They too are exhausted. They come home at night or early in the morning and have to strip down and wash their clothes immediately to avoid spreading COVID to their families. They deserve our respect and our help people Like Betty Coonrod, an infectious disease nurse at the Adams County Health Department, Betty works 80 hours a week, seven days a week, she’s exhausted. And yet, Betty still finds a way to go above and beyond to counsel COVID patients in their time of need. Or Amy Marley, a communicable disease nurse and public health administrator with the Lawrence County Health Department, Amy spends every day running COVID tests, caring for patients, and reporting out numbers to the public. And she’s been doing it for what seems like an endless number of months, somehow, always with a positive attitude. And then there’s Debbie Freiburg, a retired nurse who signed up with the Rock Island County Health Department to be a volunteer contact tracer way back in March. And she’s been doing it non stop ever since logging nearly the same number of hours as full time staff there. Debbie’s colleagues say she’s a rockstar in their department, completely committed and always kind, working hard to educate people across the county on how to deal with a positive diagnosis.

When Dr. Ngozi Ezike and I get up here, and we ask you to wear your mask, avoid gatherings and to follow the public health mitigations. We’re not asking you to do it just for us. We’re asking you to do it for Betty and for Amy, and for Debbie. And the thousands more like them across the state who are doing everything they can to keep the rest of us safe. When we get to the other side of this pandemic, let’s make sure that we did everything in our power to support their efforts and to bring as many of our neighbors as possible over the finish line. Thank you. And with that, I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike

Thank you, Governor and Happy Friday. I want to take a minute to reflect on the evolution of this pandemic. Not the science or the numbers. But how we socially responded since the first case of Illinois, the first case here in Illinois, that was reported way back January 24 20 2010 months ago, we were all waiting to see what would happen after that first initial case, would we see more cases? Or would it be just that one from the individual who had recently traveled. Then we saw the second case here in Illinois, and that was the first person to person transmission in the United States and the alarm started to sound and quickly grew. As additional cases were reported day after day. health care workers and public health professionals worked around the clock to learn as much as possible and share it with the, with the public as quickly as possible. And during this fretful time, we came together to support one another. And we reached out to others. And we called and we checked on each other’s welfare.

We didn’t look for who we could blame but offered support to one another instead, when states across the United States and even some countries around the world began the stay at home orders. We all wanted to do whatever we could to prevent additional sickness and deaths. And it worked. And the number of cases decreased as well as the number of hospitalizations as well as the number of deaths, they decrease dramatically. But as we’ve seen our numbers trend in the wrong direction. Now, unfortunately, that support that we initially saw, has faded, and in some cases is absent. Just as real as the virus is so is the COVID fatigue that is accompanying it. And we’re all tired of this virus, and we’re tired of staying home. And we’re tired of denying ourselves our common pleasures. But instead of blaming the virus for these concessions that we’ve been asked to make, we’re looking to blame one another. And so I just want to urge people to be kind doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, public health professionals, you heard about Miss Betty and Miss Amy and Miss Debbie. All these people in so many others continue to work around the clock. And they’re continuing to try to prevent additional illnesses. There are absolutely zero easy answers.

There’s no simple equation that says if you do x then y gets to happen. There’s still many unknowns, there are many variables. And so there’s no solution that’s 100% effective especially when it depends on every other member of the community to buy into the plan. For every person who is screaming that they have to have in school learning, you have others who are adamantly against it. For every person who wants to have dinner inside of their favorite restaurant, there are those who are worried about their own personal safety and their lives. None of us has a crystal ball. And while it’s often said that hindsight is 2020 we are still in the year 2020. And you and I, all of us can’t wait to put this year 2020 in the rearview mirror. But until then, let’s make decisions with the information with what we can see right now. I’d ask for all of us to have patience, and compassion for those with whom we may disagree. And to understand that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone. Nobody is getting through this unscathed. I think Dr. Singh said it very well yesterday, that this is a traumatizing mass casualty experience for all of us.

Today, we are reporting 13,012 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 634,395 cases in Illinois. Sadly, we’re reporting an additional 126 lives last for a total of 11,304 total lives lost to this deadly virus. overnight. 6111 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 and of those 1196 were in the ICU and 604 were on ventilators. In the past 24 hours more than 116,000 tests have been reported for over 9.5 million tests thus far in Illinois. As we head into the weekend, I encourage each of you offer kindness and support to your fellow neighbor. We all desperately needed and of course we also need you to wear your mask and we need you to keep your distance and we need you to get your flu shot and we need you to plan a very small household only safe Thanksgiving thank you all.

Governor Pritzker 

Thank you, Dr. z k. Throughout the last nine months, I’ve tried to make it clear, as has Dr. z k, as well as people like Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public health professionals, that COVID-19 is a disease to be taken seriously, no matter your age. Because even if you don’t personally face a severe case, you may transmit it to someone who would. Because even if you’re young and healthy, without any secondary conditions, there are no guarantees. No one knows this better than our next speakers. I’m so grateful for this family’s willingness to share their story, though it breaks my heart that they have to share that story, and that they have such a story to tell.

The family who will join us in just a moment reached out to my office admits their grief, in an effort to save other families from experiencing the same horrible loss. And with a desire to honor the memory of Danny Rubin Cater a wonderful wife and daughter. With that, I’d like to offer the floor the screen really, to Tina and bob rubin, who lost their beloved daughter 30 year old Danielle Cater of Bloomington to COVID-19 earlier this month, as well as Tim Cater Danny’s high school sweetheart who turned out to be her husband. They have some important words for everyone going into this holiday season.

Bob Rubin

Thank you, sir, for inviting us. There allow us to tell our story. Tim and Danny had been married about six and a half years, they live in the Bloomington area, they found their dream house, their careers are off to a great start. Everything was going according to their plan that they had originally had mapped out. And then in late October COVID struck just happened so quickly. So on a Tuesday, he lost her sense of smell and taste.

So we immediately Courtney, she got and tested that next morning. And that was really, really simple until test came back positive on that on Saturday. And over the weekend, her versioning got a little bit harder. But nothing that we were ever concerned about.

We just thought it was art of being sick and that we just needed to get through it. And it wasn’t until we bought a whole stock seminar on Monday morning. That we realize just how bad it was your oxygen levels were really low and we get to the hospital that this wasn’t something that we should be trying to take care of at home. So Monday morning I took her into the hospital and they put her on a bipap which she she responded to you know she was texting us from the hospital telling us that or oxygen levels were back up.

And we were all worried and later that night was dropped. They put her on the ventilator which it kept her oxygen from going down further but It never came back up. And then they did an echo echo procedure, which, shortly after that she passed away on Tuesday.

Tina Rubin

So you can only understand the devastation that our family has had for this. We lost our only daughter, Tim lost the love of his life. But through this, we want something positive. Now, these aren’t just numbers, they’re not just statistics. These are real people with real lives and real future that have been stolen by this virus. coming forward, we want to take all this negative energy that we have right now and try to turn it into something positive. If we can have one person and stay home, do something positive for someone else, by making sure they quarantine when they are sick.

Following all the CDC restrictions, I know everybody’s tired. But you just have no idea that station losing someone brings to a family. And we really appreciate the opportunity to the governor’s office, the governor and his team has allowed us to tell our story, and maybe make a difference in fighting this horrible virus. So with that, if governor Pritzker would like to take over, thank you.

Governor Pritzker

Thank you very much, both to Tina and Bob. And Tim, thank you for sharing your story. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have to bury your child. And Tim, I am so sorry for the years of happiness that were stolen from you. You and Danny deserved a full lifetime together. But I’m really glad that you found so much joy in the time that you did have my heartbreaks for Tina and Bob and Tim, for each and every person across our state who mourns someone gone too soon. Maybe we all ought to take a moment to recognize the losses that have occurred all across the state. May their memories be for a blessing to those who loved them and to all of us.

And before I take questions I also want to note that Tina and Bob and Tim have created the Danny Rubin Cater Memorial Fund for COVID care. It’s a program that will provide COVID positive residents in their community with care packages to help them monitor their temperature and their oxygen levels. at home. Remember you’re alone. When you’re in isolation or quarantine you’re alone. So to learn how you can help, you can visit Macon County gibbs.org. I’m going to spell that ma c o n that’s Macon County Gives.org

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