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Coronavirus Illinois: Pritzker extends IL stay-at-home order to April 30 as COVID-19 cases spike to nearly 6K

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A stay-at-home order in Illinois due to coronavirus will be extended until April 30 as COVID-19 cases in the state rise to nearly 6,000.

Governor JB Pritzker is expected to officially sign the declaration Wednesday after announcing the extension at a press conference on Tuesday.

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"The cascading consequences of these steps weigh on me every minute of every day. But as I've said since the beginning, my priority through each and every one of these decisions has been and continues to be saving as many people's lives as possible," Pritzker said.

Governor Pritzker announced 937 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The disease has now claimed 99 lives in Illinois, with the total number of COVID-19 cases climbing to 5,994.

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The governor says the virus is spreading and so are the risks.

"I won't try to tell you that a zoom prom is the same as a real prom," the governor said, "I won't try and tell you not to be sad about the last goals and plans that you may have had for March and April. It's okay to be sad."

It's still unclear when COVID-19 cases will peak, but health officials in the state have concluded that lifting the stay at home order next week could have catastrophic consequences.

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The extension means that all Illinois schools will remain closed and districts will be transitioning to remote learning. Those days will count towards school and will not need to be made up The city of Chicago also extending its closure of the lakefront, 606 Trail and the downtown riverwalk.

"The fewer people who stay home, the longer this crisis will last and candidly, the more people who will die," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Mayor Lightfoot says, following her stern words last week, there's been more compliance with the order. But even still, CPD has recorded more than 700 instances since last Thursday groups had to be broken up.

Pritzker said just 41% of the state's adult ICU beds are empty and 68% of the state's ventilators are available as of March 30. Pritzker added that 35% of the state's ICU beds are and 24% of the state's ventilators are now occupied by COVID patients.

"From all the modeling that we've seen, the greatest risk of hitting capacity isn't right now, but weeks from now," Pritzker said.

Health officials also announced that there is some evidence to show that people infected with the virus can be contagious for 24 to 48 hours before showing any symptoms.

Governor Pritzker has also called for licensed health care providers available to fight against COVID-19 to register online at illinoishelps.net.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health website.

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