Illinois surpasses 4K new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours
By Jessica D’Onofrio, ABC7 News
Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order faces a new legal challenge as the state sees a record number of COVID-19 cases.
Illinois health officials announced 4,014 new cases of COVID-19, including 144 additional deaths, on Tuesday. That brings the statewide total to 83,021, including 3,601 deaths.
State Representative John Cabello (R, Machesney Park) has made another move to try to get the state’s stay at home order overturned and the Illinois attorney general responded immediately.
Cabello filed a restraining order Tuesday night asking a Winnebago County judge to rule the governor’s stay-at home-order invalid for the entire state. This is different than the lawsuit Cabello filed last month testing the constitutionality of Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
Court records show that Attorney General Kwame Raoul quickly filed a motion asking that this restraining order request be moved to federal court.
“Do we think everything needs to open? No. But we feel that the constitutionality of what he is doing with extending his order another 30 days or longer is the issue,” Cabello said.
Also, some local governments are threatening to reopen on their own, but the governor is playing hardball, saying he would consider withholding distribution of federal aid to those municipalities.
“The vast majority of those counties and individuals, those business owners, are not talking to epidemiologists. They’re not talking to scientists. In fact, they’re not relying on science in any way whatsoever,” Pritzker said.
Republican State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst, whose district includes parts of Will, Grundy, and Kankakee counties urged the governor in a letter to realign how the regions in the governor’s reopening plan are drawn. Parkhurst said Pritzker is more interested in Chicago and Cook County with good reason, but that he has lumped in other counties where they don’t belong.
“Let me begin by saying that my job is to keep the people of Illinois safe and also to tend to putting back the damage that this virus has done to our economy, making sure that economy has the ability to grow, so I’m measuring things very carefully and using experts to do it.
Gov. Pritzker said Tuesday that the metrics suggest that most of the state will be able to move into Phase 3 on May 29, but he is resisting calls to allow communities to reopen sooner.
“The General Assembly needs to pass a comprehensive plan to support families, small businesses and small towns,” Pritzker said.
The governor called on lawmakers to return to session before the end of the month, but he is not willing to call a special session to force it.
“Legislators, just because you’re calling them into special session, does not mean they will show up,” Pritzker said.
But with his stay-at-home order wreaking havoc on small businesses, Pritzker is now coming under increasing criticism.
Former Governor Bruce Rauner said via text: “When did the policy goal shift from ‘flatten the curve’ to keep everyone safe’? The latter is not possible.”
“Well, I saw what the governor said, what the former governor said, and all I can say is that I’ll readily admit that a primary policy goal of mine is, in fact, to keep the people of Illinois safe,” Pritzker said.
The governor also announced Tuesday the state is making $75 million available to help hospitals across the state and $25 million to help jumpstart summer construction projects.
Officials announced Illinois completed a new record amount of tests in the last 24 hours, with 29,266 tests completed, which coincided with the record single-day increase in new cases.
Illinois’ previous record high for testing was 20,671 tests completed on May 8, the only other time the 20,000 threshold has been crossed. The previous record for new cases was 3,137 on May 1.
This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.