Pritzker: COVID-19 danger greater in Monroe County than Chicago

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said you are more likely to die from COVID-19 if you live in Monroe County than if you live in Chicago or Cook County.

Gov. Pritzker made that statement after addressing those who he said, “think coronavirus is just a Chicago or Cook County problem and that downstate Illinois is immune or doesn’t need restrictions.”

Pritzker went on to say the top 5 counties by infection rate in Illinois include the two downstate counties of Jasper and Randolph.

He then went on to look at the deaths per capita. Pritzker said, “COVID-19 has played a role in the deaths of Illinoisans in 42 of our counties around the state with the top 2 rates of death per capita being in Jasper and Monroe counties. That means you’re more likely to die of COVID-19 if you live in either of those two counties than if you lived in Chicago or in Cook county.”

Pritzker went on to say in terms of total case numbers and total lives lost, Cook and the collar counties have the largest known presence of the virus, but it would be a massive disservice to our downstate residents if we governed only by raw numbers.

John Wagner with the Monroe County Health Department released a statement after Pritzker’s comments. Wagner says the Pritzker didn’t mention that all but one of those deaths happened at Garden Place assisted living facility.

Wagner says, “This in itself shows that the governor is more concerned about the appearance of treating the whole state as one rather then taking a regional specific approach that are supported by the numbers.”

FOX2 has been following the cases at several local care facilities, including Garden Place in Columbia as part of our coronavirus coverage.

The Illinois Department of Public Health director said 50 residents have died in the last 24 hours and there were 1,980 new cases. That brings the total in the state to 1,983 deaths and 45,883, cases.

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