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Illinois Reaches 1,285 COVID-19 Cases, Gov. Pritzker Eases Restrictions on Prison Release

Courtesy of U.S. National Park ServiceIn a March 27 press conference, Illinois officials announced the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state surpassed 3,000, with nearly half of the cases in Chicago.

Illinois health officials announced three additional deaths March 23 and 236 new cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus — bringing the statewide total to 1,285 cases and 12 deaths. 

The three deaths were all in Cook County and included two men in their 80s and one man in his 90s, the Illinois Department of Public Health press release said. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also signed an executive order — the 11th executive order in response to COVID-19 — that relaxes restrictions on early prison inmate release for good behavior. The original rule requiring a minimum 14-day notification to the State Attorney’s office for early release is waived as a result of the executive order. 

This executive order was designed to lower the population in Illinois prisons — currently at more than 38,000 inmates — which are exceptionally vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak due to limited space and close quarters, the executive order said. 

During a March 23 press conference, Pritzker also called attention to a shortage in personal protection equipment (PPE) — items such as gloves, masks and respirators — for healthcare professionals. He encouraged businesses like tattoo parlors and nail salons, both of which are closed because of his previous stay-at-home order, to donate any reserves of PPE they may have. 

Donations of PPE can be made to the state by contacting PPE.donations@illinois.gov.

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