Curfew, Temperature Checks Potential Next Steps for Illinois as COVID-19 Spreads

Just over two weeks into a mandatory stay-at-home order that began March 21, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is considering additional steps to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“There certainly are more things that could be done,” Pritzker said. “I will continue to look at every measure that we could take. You know, we’re trying to defeat this virus, there’s no doubt about it.”

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Public officials announced Sunday that Illinois has seen confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rise to 11,256. That includes 899 new cases, which have spread to three additional counties: Boone, Calhoun and Gallatin.

The death toll in the state has risen to 274, with 31 COVID-positive patients dying between Saturday and Sunday. 

Pritzker said he was “among the first” in the nation to use his executive authority to enact an order that requires individuals to stay at home, calls for nonessential business operations to cease, limits travel and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more, but includes pages of exemptions.

Pritzker says he has “considered” instituting temperature checks, as is done to anyone entering the James R. Thompson Center, the downtown Chicago government building where he typically holds his daily COVID-19 briefings.

South Korea takes shoppers’ temperatures before they can enter a grocery store, Pritzker said, calling it an “interesting idea, something that I’ve looked at and have considered.”

Other restrictions – like instituting a curfew, allowing only a single member of a household to run errands, or using last names to institute rotations of when people can go out in public – are other possibilities.

“These are all measures that potentially could be put in place, there’s no doubt,” Pritzker said when asked whether those are options he’s considered.

They’re “perfectly good ideas,” the Democrat said.

But he said nothing to indicate he’s rolling out such plans in the immediate future.

“As we’ve move along here, you’ve seen we’ve tightened and tightened wherever we thought we could,” Pritzker said. “People are, for the most part, the vast majority of people, are abiding by our stay-at-home (order). They are doing the right things. But we will continue to look at what is possible, what is likely, and how we would enforce those things.”

READ: 41% of Illinois Residents Dying from COVID-19 are Black

The governor used Sunday’s briefing to highlight actions the state has taken to ensure that health care, first-responder and other essential workers – including grocery store and gas station clerks – have someone to look after their children while they’re at work.

As of April 1, “all essential workers in health care, human services, essential government services, and essential infrastructure” qualify for child care paid for mostly by the state.

Providers of this emergency child care will be paid a reimbursement rate 30% higher than normal.

“Our essential workforce deserves to know that their kids are safe and in cared for,” Pritzker said.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources

Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including: 

—Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue
—Limiting contact with people regardless of how you feel
—Staying home when you are sick

Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

—New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
—Sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue

If you think you have COVID-19:

Call you doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.

Additional resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Illinois’ COVID-19 website
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931
—IPDH COVID-19 email link
City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 email link

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