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COVID-19 cases and 59 additional deaths statewide, as Pritzker says hospitalizations up 7% from 5 days ago

Officials reported 1,151 new known COVID-19 cases on Monday, as the total number of known infections reached 31,508. There were also 59 additional deaths reported, bringing the toll since the start of the outbreak to 1,349.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that 4,599 people in Illinois were hospitalized as of the previous day with confirmed or presumed cases of the new coronavirus, a nearly 7% increase from five days earlier. But without the measures put in place through Chicago News his stay-at-home order, Pritzker said, projections in mid-March showed the state would have exceeded its existing hospital capacity by 25,000 beds by April 6.

COVID-19 cases in Illinois by ZIP code: Search for your neighborhood »
As the coronavirus spreads, the Tribune is tracking Illinois cases here »
From closing schools to stay-at-home order, here's how Illinois' coronavirus response compares with other states »
Here’s what’s happening on Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

7:30 p.m.: 4/20 just isn’t same this year for marijuana users amid the coronavirus crisis. ‘It’s a weird one.’
Cannabis lovers on Monday celebrated on the first 4/20 since recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois, with a much more subdued celebration than when it was illegal.

In the past, people openly smoked weed illegally in public parks or on college campuses, citing April 20 as corresponding to a code number for pot. But this year they largely had to confine themselves at home, under the statewide stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus. Read more here. —Robert McCoppin

7:05 p.m.: Trump blasts Pritzker over testing capacity
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and President Donald Trump continued sparring Monday over the state’s requests for help with increasing its COVID-19 testing capacity.

Pritzker said that on a conference call with governors earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence insisted that states have the ability to conduct all the tests they need. But governor’s pushed back, saying they don’t have all the supplies and manpower they need to run tests around the clock.

“There’s a big difference between testing capacity and getting testing results,” Pritzker said.

At his briefing a short time later, Trump said: “Pritzker from Illinois, did not understand his capacity. Not simply ask the federal government to provide unlimited support.”

Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said the governor and his staff don’t watch the president’s briefings “because they are not a source of factual information.” —Dan Petrella

6:05 p.m.: Illinois congressional Republicans oppose Democratic state Senate president’s request for $41 billion in federal aid, accuse him of using crisis to try to cover mismanagement
The five Republicans in Illinois’ congressional delegation rejected state Senate President Don Harmon’s request for more than $41 billion to stabilize state finances as part of a new coronavirus relief package, calling it an attempt to use the pandemic to cover years of mismanagement.

Moreover, the Republicans called on the state’s Democratic leadership to withdraw from the November ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment to switch Illinois to a graduated-rate income tax rather than its mandated flat tax.

The letter said it was “imperative that Illinois’ state and local leadership step up and address the pre-existing financial mismanagement that makes our state and localities particularly vulnerable to the fiscal impacts of this pandemic.”

“We will fight for more aid to support the state and local governments in Illinois, but your letter assumes the federal government will approve aid that is beyond this immediate crisis,” the Republicans said in a letter to Harmon on Monday.

“We fully support federal assistance to help defray some of the state’s losses, but we oppose using the crisis as an opportunity for a full-scale bailout,” the letter said. It was signed by U.S. Reps. John Shimkus of Collinsville, Adam Kinzinger of Channahon, Darin LaHood of Peoria, Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Mike Bost of Murphysboro.

Last week, Harmon wrote a letter to the state’s Washington delegation asking members to support his request for more than $41.6 billion in federal assistance for Illinois, roughly equivalent to the $42 billion state budget Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed in February before the pandemic. Read more here. —Rick Pearson

5:30 p.m.: Correctional officer at Cook County Jail dies from COVID-19
A correctional officer at the Cook County Jail has died from complications due to COVID-19, the sheriff’s office confirmed Monday.

Sheila Rivera, 47, died Sunday, according to a statement from the office.

Rivera worked for the sheriff’s office since 2012. Her most Press Release Distribution Service In Chicago recent assignment was with the Residential Treatment Unit, which houses detainees who need medical care or other treatment.

The office considers her death to have been in the line of duty and will be advocating for her family to receive benefits accordingly, according to a statement.

“Correctional staff like Officer Rivera are unsung heroes in the battle against this global pandemic, bravely working to keep their fellow colleagues, detainees, and the public safe from COVID-19,” the statement read.

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