Pritzker pushes for more protective gear as Illinois COVID-19 cases climb to 1,285

Illinois health officials on Monday announced 236 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths related to the virus.

The latest victims are three men from Cook County: two men in their 80s and one his 90s, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

There are now 12 people who have died in Illinois from COVID-19, and a total of 1,285 cases. Health officials announced that Monroe County was reporting its first case of the disease.

Governor JB Pritzker also announced that Illinois is ramping up production of masks and hand sanitizer, among other personal protection equipment, to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“In the face of the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, the people of Illinois have stepped up once again: our innovative biotech companies and state-of-the art manufacturers are teaming up with the State of Illinois to ramp up production of Personal Protective Equipment,” Governor Pritzker said in a statement. “We’re not just waiting for in-state production. My administration continues to work day and night to scour the global supply chain. Illinois is acquiring PPE to compensate for what we haven’t received in our federal requests. But we are doing so while running up against obstacles that should not exist.”

Nationwide, more than 32,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus, making the United States the third worst-hit country in the world. The worst-hit country, China, has 81,000 cases, and the second worst-hit country, Italy, has 59,000.

Gov. Pritzker encouraged Illinois residents who are healthy to find ways to volunteer to help others during this time. Available opportunities include packing lunches, donating blood, delivering meals to the elderly, and serving food at homeless shelters. You can find ways to help at

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On Friday, Gov. Pritzker issued a "stay at home" order for the entire state of Illinois, which will last until April 7.

Residents will still be able to take care of essential tasks, such as going to the grocery store, gas stations, and pharmacies, as well as take walks outdoors; just practice social distancing. Roads and highways will also remain open to traffic.

“We are doing all that we can to maintain as much normalcy as possible while taking the steps we must to protect our residents,” Governor Pritzker said in a statement last week. “I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods. But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life. This will not last forever, but it's what we must do to support the people on the front lines of this fight, and the people most vulnerable to its consequences.”

COVID-19 cases in Illinois have occurred in ages from younger than one to 99 years.


Sun-Times Media Wire and Associated Press contributed to this report.