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Governor Lays Out 'Worst-case Scenario'

Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks Tuesday at the governor's daily press briefing on the COVID_19 outbreak.
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Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks Tuesday at the governor's daily press briefing on the COVID_19 outbreak.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday described an Illinois worst-case scenario in which the state could  be far short of the ventilators, hospital beds and intensive-care unit spaces for expected COVID-19 cases.

Right now, the state has about 26,000 hospital beds. In two weeks, by some projections, the state could be short more than double that number and in need of thousands more ventilators.

However, it is too early to know the effect of measures like the stay-in-place order and closings of bars, restaurants and schools. But Pritzker says he hopes the need  will be far lower.

"There has been some talk over the last 24 hours by some about who this nation might be willing to sacrifice to COVID-19 for the sake of our economic interests. Well, in case there's any doubt in your minds, I'm not willing to sacrifice anyone,” he said at his daily press briefing Tuesday.

The state’s Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike says, the vast majority of 1,535 confirmed cases have notrequired hospitalization.There have been 16 deaths. Of those -- more than 90 percent were older than 60.Ezikenoted that how vast the outbreak grows in Illinois depends on the
success of mitigating measures.

"This virus is causing hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations across the globe and thousands of deaths. We need everyone to understandhow serious this can be,” she said.

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is the NPR Illinois News Editor and a lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and is curator of the Equity blog. Maureen joined the staff in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.