Governor Lays Out 'Worst-case Scenario'

Mar 25, 2020
Originally published on March 24, 2020 7:01 pm

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday described an Illinois worst-case scenario in which the state could  be far short of the ventilators, hospital beds and intensive-care unit spaces for expected COVID-19 cases.

Right now, the state has about 26,000 hospital beds. In two weeks, by some projections, the state could be short more than double that number and in need of thousands more ventilators.

However, it is too early to know the effect of measures like the stay-in-place order and closings of bars, restaurants and schools. But Pritzker says he hopes the need  will be far lower.

"There has been some talk over the last 24 hours by some about who this nation might be willing to sacrifice to COVID-19 for the sake of our economic interests. Well, in case there's any doubt in your minds, I'm not willing to sacrifice anyone,” he said at his daily press briefing Tuesday.

The state’s Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike says, the vast majority of 1,535 confirmed cases have not required hospitalization. There have been 16 deaths. Of those -- more than 90 percent were older than 60. Ezike noted that how vast the outbreak grows in Illinois depends on the
success of mitigating measures.

"This virus is causing hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations across the globe and thousands of deaths. We need everyone to understand how serious this can be,” she said.

Copyright 2020 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.