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Hours after President Donald Trump criticized Gov. JB Pritzker on Twitter, the governor responded at his daily COVID-19 news briefing Sunday afternoon.
“All I can say is: Get to work, or get out of the way,” Pritzker said.
Trump tweeted at Pritzker after the governor’s Sunday morning appearance on CNN, during which Pritzker was critical of Trump’s response to the pandemic. Trump said Pritzker and other governors “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings.”
Pritzker said that throughout this crisis, he has heard from some of his staunchest Republican critics in Illinois, asking how they can help. He applauded the bipartisan efforts of “Illinoisans of all political stripes” during this crisis.
“Even I’m finding it hard to contain my anger with Donald Trump’s response to the national crisis,” Pritzker said Sunday. “I have doctors, nurses and first responders begging for more masks, equipment and more tests. I have a floor full of staff who are working day and night to hunt down the supplies that our health care workers and our first responders need. We’re doing that because Donald Trump promised to deliver – for all the states – weeks ago, and so far has done very little.
“So apparently the only way to get the President of the United States to pay attention is to go on national television and make noise about it, which I won’t stop doing until we get what we need.”
Pritzker said that he hasn’t had any conversations with Trump directly.
“I’m always open to a conversation that will advance the interests of the people, and the health and safety of the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said.
State officials announced an additional 296 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including one infant. The state announced an additional three deaths. That brings Illinois’ total to 1,049 confirmed cases and nine deaths. The state has tested more than 8,000 people.
DuPage County has 79 confirmed cases. Lake County has 69. Will County has 21 confirmed cases. Kane County has 13, and McHenry County is at 12. Kendall County has four confirmed cases, while DeKalb, La Salle and Whiteside counties each have one confirmed case.
“At this time, it is still unknown if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus during pregnancy or delivery,” IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said. “According to the CDC, no infants born thus far to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus. In these cases, which are still a few in number, the virus was not found in samples of amniotic fluid, nor breast milk.”
Ezike said more information is needed to fully understand the virus’s effect on newborn babies.
Ezike and Pritzker both expect the number of positive cases and deaths in Illinois to grow as more tests are administered.
Asked how the state will measure the effectiveness of Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order, which officially began Saturday, Pritzker said state officials might see the increase in confirmed cases begin to slow in as little as eight to 10 days.
“Remember, these numbers will grow, even after we may have slowed this significantly, because of more testing being available,” Pritzker said. “We may begin to see a bending of this curve even after less than two weeks. That’s why we wanted to put this in place long enough to be able to see what effect we’re having, and we’ll watch it very closely.”
The order will remain in place through April 7. Pritzker clarified Sunday that people working for essential businesses don’t need any sort of identifying papers from their employers.
Also speaking Sunday was Celena Roldan, the CEO of the American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois. Roldan implored healthy individuals to continue donating blood.
Roldan said that more than 120 blood drives in Illinois, and more than 6,000 across the country, have been canceled since this crisis began. This could lead to shortages in blood.
“It is critical for community health to maintain blood collection during this challenging time to ensure patients’ survival,” Roldan said. “One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that we do not have another health crisis is to give blood.”
The Red Cross will continue to hold blood drives, although it has enacted new safety and health protocols.
“The Red Cross understands that people have concerns about public health at this time, and wants to stress that donating blood is a safe process, and healthy people should not hesitate to give,” Roldan said.