296 New Cases of COVID-19, Push For Blood Donors, Volunteers & Testing

By Benjamin Cox on March 23, 2020 at 8:36am

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 296 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the state’s total to 1049. Three more deaths were also attributed to the virus along with 4 new counties reporting cases.

IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike says that the state is expanding its testing capacity as soon as possible. “We want to strengthen the testing capacity in Illinois by helping hospitals and laboratories develop their own testing ability. We expect to have these tests up and running within the healthcare systems within the next few weeks.”

Volunteers and blood donors are especially needed across the state. American Red Cross of Illinois CEO Celena Roldan urged people to donate yesterday during Governor J.B. Pritzker’s daily press conference. “Donating blood is a safe process and healthy people should not hesitate to give. We are asking people to please make appointments. We are currently running our blood drives with no safety measures and health protocols to ensure social distancing, which limits the number of walk-in donors.”

Pritzker said that he was looking at extending the state’s tax filing deadline for Illinois residents. ” I want you to know that we’re working hard to figure out how we can do that. You know there are challenges for the state of just cash flow right. I mean obviously we receive a lot of those revenues typically in April and they’re planned for spending related to those revenues that come in in April. So we’re trying to figure out whether there’s federal borrowing or federal help that will come down the pike that will help. I think there are a lot of states that will have this kind of cash flow issue if they extend their deadlines to July, I think is when the federal government did it; but we are working on it. We think that’s an important thing for us to evaluate and then do something about [soon].”

Pritzker has also asked former health care professionals to come out of retirement if they can to help front line health care workers during the state’s time of need with combating the virus. Pritzker is set to give another update today at 2:30PM.