MURPHYSBORO, Ill. – Governor J.B. Pritzker traveled Wednesday to cities and towns in downstate Illinois to update folks about the coronavirus. His message was clear: it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Before arriving in Murphysboro, the governor visited a lab in Carbondale where they’ve been evaluating tests from people who may be infected.
“Proud to say that team at the lab are doing a terrific job on behalf of the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said.
The governor has not been happy with the response from the federal government and their handling of the testing process. On Wednesday afternoon, he indicated things were getting better.
Last summer, the Illinois National Guard helped flood victims in Hardin, Illinois. Soon 60 Guardsmen will be on the front lines of the coronavirus fight and more will join them.
“There’s no doubt we need more manpower for a variety of functions,” Pritzker said.
Functions include delivering meals to students who are missing a free lunch or establishing a triage process outside overwhelmed hospitals.
“Building tents outside health centers, emergency rooms, and health center emergency areas,” Pritzker said.
The governor hopes Americans learn from the mistakes made in countries in Europe like Italy, so it does not get that bad here.
“It should be a cautionary tale for all of us that we need to distance ourselves socially and people are isolating themselves,” he said.
The governor held his news conference at the Jackson County Courthouse and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, advised people that they’re otherwise healthy but feel sick, they should weather it out at home to avoid using a hospital bed that is needed by someone critically ill.
“We don’t want to see a situation where there are more people that need a bed than we have beds and we have to decide who gets care and who doesn’t,” Dr. Ezike said.
Officials said they are doing everything they can to make sure doctors and nurses across Illinois have all the equipment they need.