Governor J.B. Pritzker filed today a Notice of Appeal of the temporary restraining order that enjoined him from enforcing his Stay-at-Home orders against State Representative Darren Bailey.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the Director of Illinois Department of Public Health, reported there were 144 deaths of Illinois residents due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest number of deaths to date.

COVID-19 Infections Are Still Increasing

Evanston: The number of Evanston residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased by 6 cases today, April 28, for a total of 324 cases, according to information provided by the City of Evanston. The trend is shown in the above chart. 

To date, a total of 10 Evanstonians have died due to COVID-19.    

Chicago, Cook County and Illinois: For Chicago, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew from 18,682 yesterday to 19,594 today; the cases in Cook County grew from 31,953 yesterday to 33,449 today; and the number of cases in Illinois grew from 45,883 yesterday to 48,102 today. The trend is shown in the first chart in the chart box.

Dr. Ezike said there were 2,125 new confirmed cases reported in Illinois. The trend of new cases is shown in the second chart in the chart box.

Dr. Ezike said that, while the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased, the number of tests had also increased, and the rate of the increase was slowing. The rate of increase of new cases today (in relation to the total cases yesterday) was 4.8%.

The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Illinois is 2,125.

Of the individuals who lost their lives in the last 24 hours, Dr. Ezike said 80% were from Northern Illinois; 44% were white, 28% black, 13% Hispanic, and 8% Asian.

The Positive Test Rate: In the last four days the number of confirmed COVID cases in Illinois increased by an average of 2,111 per day. In the same period, there was an average of 13,140 tests per day. The average percentage of positive tests in relation to the number of tests given in the four-day period was 16.1 %.

The World Health Organization says the positive rate should be below 10% in order to safely open the economy. A rate higher than 10% means it is likely that there are many people in the community who have COVID-19 but have not yet been tested.

Hospitalizations in the State: Dr. Ezike also reported that the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Illinois increased from 3,680 on April 6 to 4,738 today, and the number of COVID-19 patients occupying ICU beds increased from 1,161 on April 6 to 1,245 today; and that 778 people with a COVID-19 infection were on ventilators today.

The State’s hospitals have capacity to handle these numbers of patients. As of April 25, there were 11,173 hospital beds open, 966 ICU beds open, and 1,894 ventilators available.

Gov. Pritzker Appeals the TRO

At the briefing today, April  28, Gov. Pritzker emphasized that the Judge’s temporary restraining order (TRO) entered yesterday in the case filed by Rep. Bailey in Clay County Circuit Court applies only to Rep. Bailey.

In the complaint, Rep. Bailey alleged that Gov. Pritzker’s Stay-at-Home orders violate Rep. Bailey’s constitutionally protected freedom by ordering him to stay at home and limiting his ability to travel in the State. The complaint also alleges that Gov. Pritzker lacked the authority to enter successive emergency orders lasting more than 30 days.

The complaint cites 20 ILCS 3305/7, which states in part:

“Emergency Powers of the Governor. In the event of a disaster, as defined in Section 4, the Governor may, by proclamation declare that a disaster exists. Upon such proclamation, the Governor shall have and may exercise for a period not to exceed 30 days the following emergency powers; …”

The Judge found that Rep. Bailey had a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on his claim and entered the TRO, enjoining the Governor from enforcing the Stay-at-Home orders against Rep. Bailey, and the Court scheduled the claim for a hearing on a preliminary injunction.     

“This ruling only applies to one person, because it was only ever about one person,” Gov. Pritzker emphasized, and it has no application to anyone else.

“As absurd as this charade is, we are taking this matter very seriously,” said the Governor. “While the Court’s order is limited, the risk it poses is significant. By agreeing with the plaintiff in this initial ruling, the Court set a dangerous precedent. Slowing the spread of this virus is critical to saving lives by ensuring our healthcare system has the resources to treat patients who get sick. We will not stop this virus if, because of this ruling, any resident can petition to be exempted from aspects of the orders that rely on collective action to keep us all safe.

“Because of the threat to public health from this order and the fact that the State has acted well within its legal authority to protect the health of the public, the State is appealing immediately.”

On April 28, Gov. Pritzker filed a Notice of an Appeal of the TRO with the Appellate Court, Fifth District. The notice states that the Governor seeks to reverse and vacate the TRO.

In explaining his position, Gov. Pritzker said “It is the history of the State of Illinois that we sometimes have successive declarations of disaster in the State. A good example is floods that have occurred in the past. Remember, emergencies don’t have a time bound to them necessarily. Sometimes they do. A tornado can come and go, and the emergency can be declared and have a time bound to it. Floods tend not to. Pandemics, which we haven’t experienced in Illinois for 100 years, pandemics don’t live by a 30-day time frame.

“The statute also allows the Governor to declare an emergency 30 days at a time, and if there is an emergency that occurs, the emergency declaration goes to April 30. But on May 1, if there’s an emergency on May 1, it is authority of the Governor to declare an emergency, a disaster proclamation on May 1 for 30 days.

He said, “There will be thousands more deaths if the executive order is not allowed to proceed on May 1 to May 30.”

On April 23, Dr. Sergei Maslov, a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, presented a team’s conclusions on what would happen if the current Stay-at-Home order ended on April 24. He said, “The models predict that the number [of infections] is at least 10 times larger than the number of new positive test announced every day.” The team also predicted there would be a second wave in the epidemic and there would be thousands of deaths. “The second wave would quickly surpass the ability of our hospital system to respond.”

When asked about reports that State Representative John Cabello, a Republican, planned to file a similar lawsuit to enjoin the Stay-at-Home order, Gov. Pritzker said, “It appears to be to be a partisan endeavor. We have appealed this ruling, and the Supreme Court has been asked to take up the matter.”

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...