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Government, Politics & Issues

Staffer In Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Office Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago recently where he announced the next round of COVID-19 Business Interruption Grants and warned of future state budget cuts without further federal government intervention. On Tuesday, the seven-day average statewide COVID-19 test positivity rate stayed level at 3.5% as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported another 1,531 confirmed cases of the virus. Sept. 29, 2020
Blueroomstream.com
Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago recently where he announced the next round of COVID-19 Business Interruption Grants and warned of future state budget cuts without further federal government intervention. On Tuesday, the seven-day average statewide COVID-19 test positivity rate stayed level at 3.5%, as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported another 1,531 confirmed cases of the virus.

A staff member in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to a news release from the governor’s office Tuesday morning.

Pritzker and all close contacts of the staffer will isolate for two weeks. The staffer tested negative last Wednesday during routine weekly testing but then developed symptoms and tested positive on Monday.

The staffer was with the governor at events in Chicago on Wednesday, in Marion on Thursday and in Marseilles on Sunday. Everyone wore masks during interactions with others at those events.

Contact tracing is underway to identify and notify close contacts, and organizers of events throughout the state were notified as well.

Staff who report to the office will be tested and must test negative before going back to work in person. All other samples collected Monday came back negative, according to the news release.

It was not immediately clear if Pritzker had been tested yet.

The governor’s office will continue to work remotely during the isolation period.

Staffers are tested weekly, take daily temperature checks, wear masks and maintain social distance and hygiene procedures. The governor’s office undergoes a deep cleaning every week and was cleaned Monday night.

This is the second time Pritzker and his staffers have isolated after possible exposure. In May, they isolated after a staffer tested positive.

Two governors have tested positive during the coronavirus pandemic: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who contracted the virus earlier this month, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who caught it in July. Parson's wife, Teresa Parson, also tested positive.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,709 new COVID-19 cases and 13 additional deaths Monday.

A total of 289,639 state residents have tested positive, and 8,614 people have died since the pandemic hit. More than 5.5 million coronavirus tests have been administered, including 41,142 since Sunday.

Kelsey Landis is a reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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