Nearly 25,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases now reported in Illinois; Pritzker talks economic impact

State News

CHICAGO (WMBD) — There are now nearly 25,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois, health officials said Wednesday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said there are 24,593 cases across the state. This is a 1,346-person increase in positive cases.

Additionally, 80 more people have died from the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 948. A total of 116,929 people have been tested.

Building on measures to address the unprecedented economic challenges facing Illinois as a result of the viral pandemic, Pritzker also provided an update on the state’s revenue forecast outlook and efforts to provide financial stability.

COVID-19 has had a large impact on the U.S. economy, leading to an unexpected loss of revenues across all 50 states, with early projections showing combined state budget deficits of $500 billion over the next two years. In Illinois, general revenue funds are being revised down $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2020 and $4.6 billion in fiscal year 2021.

With short term borrowing to bridge through this crisis, the total shortfall for fiscal year 2021 is $6.2 billion when compared to the spending plan put forth by the governor in February. That shortfall expands to $7.4 billion if the constitutional amendment to move to a graduated income tax does not pass.

“This is a public health crisis – but it is accompanied by massive economic disruption that’s unprecedented in modern history. Illinoisans are all too familiar with the pain the lack of a state budget can cause, so let me just say upfront: we will not go without a state budget,” Pritzker said. “We will need to make extraordinarily difficult decisions on top of the difficult decisions we’ve already made, but together with the state legislature we will make them and we will do so with an unswerving dedication to fairness. In the midst of a pandemic, I am more resolute than ever to protect those who are suffering physical and financial hardship from it.”

Earlier this month, Pritzker’s Office of Management and Budget directed agencies to take all possible steps to manage existing resources for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 by putting on hold all non-essential purchases and operational expenditures, freezing all travel that is not mission essential, and limiting all non-essential hiring.  These actions are expected to save at least $25 million for the general funds in fiscal year 2020. This is in addition to earlier efforts to identify efficiencies for the fiscal year 2021 budget, slated to save the state $750 million over the next three years.

As the costs of fighting COVID-19 continue to grow, Pritzker has directed nearly $500 million in additional spending authority to IEMA through the emergency powers granted under the gubernatorial disaster proclamation. Much of this spending is concentrated on obtaining personal protective equipment for our frontline workers and ventilators to treat patients suffering from the most severe cases of COVID-19. An estimated $170 million has been expended to date. Federal funding is expected to cover most of the costs the state is incurring in response to the pandemic.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a $2 trillion disaster aid stimulus package that is estimated to provide more than $9 billion to Illinois governments for a variety of programs from education, to aid for seniors and child nutrition to transit systems. It provides $150 billion in direct aid for COVID-19 related expenditures to the states, of which Illinois is expected to receive $4.9 billion – at least $2.7 billion to the state of Illinois directly and up to $2.2 billion to larger local governments.  

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