(The Center Square) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expanding the ban on public gatherings to include groups of 50 or more.
He said the initial ban will last eight weeks from Monday.
The governor said he was acting on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Illinoisans who can stay home should continue to do so,” Pritzker said Monday in Springfield. “This was a difficult decision, but this is what the medical experts and the scientists tell us that we must do to safeguard the health of the people of Illinois.”
Monday marked the last day of March that students will be in class. And all bars and restaurants were ordered to close at 9 p.m. Monday.
Pritzker also announced two new counties where cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. The two new counties with confirmed cases were Peoria and Will counties. Twelve new cases were confirmed Monday, brining the statewide total to 105 cases in 15 counties in Illinois.
In a news release, the governor’s office said other locations with confirmed cases included Champaign, Clinton, Cook, Cumberland, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon, St. Clair, Whiteside, Winnebago and Woodford counties.
Public health officials also emphasized an ongoing still shortage of desired tests.
“We know there is a lot of concern as the number of cases and locations increase,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, not everyone who has respiratory symptoms like cough and shortness of breath needs to be tested. Similarly, not everyone who is infected with novel coronavirus needs medical treatment.”
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in late 2019 and is at the center of a global pandemic.