Pritzker: Midwest Govs Discuss Regional Approach To Reopen

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday said he and his counterparts in Midwestern states have discussed the eventual reopening of the region when experts determine it's safe enough. 

The idea is similar to a strategy being employed by governers in the Northeast and on the West Coast and would seem to clash with an idea pushed this week by President Trump, that the commander-in-chief ultimately calls the shots when it comes to lifting social-distancing restrictions and restarting the economy.

Pritzker said he has talked with neighboring governors about how to best coordinate during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said his peers agree their respective states must be in a position to mass-test for the novel coronavirus; trace people who have come in contact with the infected; and treat seriously ill patients before restrictions can be lifted.

"Governors that I've spoken with have been frankly very positive about this idea. They've all been thinking about it individually for their states and understand that speaking with a common voice might be a positive move," Pritzker said.

He did not name the governors or states. 

Under Pritzker's order, Illinois residents must stay home through April 30 to help blunt the spread of COVID-19. Pritzker again sounded optimistic about what the latest numbers are saying. He said a key metric used to gauge the growth of COVID-19 here is pointing to a "bend" in the curve. 

The number of cases in Illinois was doubling every two days by March 22; by early April, that had slowed to every 3.6 days; and by Sunday April 12, to every 8.2 days, Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus briefing with reporters.

On Tuesday, Illinois state health officials reported 1,222 new diagnoses of coronavirus, taking the total number of known cases to 23,247. There were 74 additional deaths, taking the statewide cost of life to 868 people.