Governor Pritzker Warns Southern Illinois: COVID-19 Rates Are Surging

Aug 4, 2020

Gov. JB Pritzker updates COVID-19 statistics in southern Illinois, as SIU President Dan Mahony looks on.
Credit Jennifer Fuller/WSIU

Governor JB Pritzker says young people need to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Southern Illinois is experiencing what Pritzker calls a surge in COVID-19 cases -- mainly among people in their teens and 20s. Seven of the eleven counties statewide currently in warning status are in southern Illinois.

The governor joined leaders at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale on Tuesday to sound the alarm about a dramatic rise in cases across the region. He says with classes scheduled to start later this month, college students and others in their teens and twenties have a responsibility to the rest of the community.

"I know that coming back to college is a celebratory time for so many young people, but I can't emphasize enough that we need everybody to do their part in the fight against this pandemic."

Prtizker praised Carbondale leaders, who passed a mask requirement for the city last week. He says wearing masks, following distancing guidelines, and washing hands will go a long way in protecting people.

But the governor pointed to Jackson County's warning status when it comes to COVID-19 cases, which is moving in the wrong direction.

"There's an extremely concerning issue with the number of cases per resident. The county is now at more than quadruple the level that sets off alarms at IDPH."

Southern Illinois' seven-day rolling positivity rate is now near 7.5%, dangerously close to a level that would trigger a move back to tighter restrictions.