Illinois governor orders residents to stay at home

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday ordered all state residents to remain in their homes except for essentials, joining similar dramatic efforts in California and New York to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Pritzker’s order, which takes effect Saturday, still allows the state’s 12.6 million residents to seek essentials including groceries and medicine.

The Chicago Tribune was the first news outlet to confirm the impending state shutdown.

On Thursday, Pritzker sought to reassure residents and discourage panic-buying.

“Grocery stories, pharmacies, gas stations, these sources of fundamental supplies will continue to operate,” he said. “There is no need to run out and hoard food, gas, or medicine. Buy what you need within reason. There is enough to go around as long as people do not hoard.

“We will never shut these services down.”

Pritzker had previously ordered all schools statewide to shut down and limited gatherings to 50 people to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state. He also closed dine-in service at bars and restaurants, but allowed businesses to continue delivery or carryout options.

The governors of California and New York have issued similar orders.

The first Illinois community to impose a stay-at-home order was the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, which declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe ones can take three to six weeks to get better.

As of Friday afternoon, 5 people had died in Illinois and hundreds more had tested positive for COVID-19 across 22 counties. Forty-two cases, including 30 residents and 12 staff members, are linked to a nursing home in DuPage County, which is just west of Cook County.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday ordered anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or showing symptoms of the disease to stay indoors, formalizing advice issued by health officials.

Patients cannot leave their homes, go to work or visit any group setting except to seek medical care and “life sustaining needs,” including medicine or food, according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

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