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Officials in two Illinois counties that have suffered a combined 13 deaths from the coronavirus are arguing that the state’s lockdown measures go too far.
Their pushback comes after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that Jasper and Monroe counties have the highest per capita coronavirus death rate across Illinois, warning residents that “you’re more likely to die of COVID-19 if you live in either of those two counties than if you live in Chicago or in Cook County,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“You know, I read the obituaries every day, and there’s somebody’s name in there every day, and they didn’t die from the virus,” Bob Elmore, chairman of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, told the newspaper. “So, it’s kind of an overreach as far as I’m concerned.”
Illinois, like many other states, has issued orders closing non-essential businesses and mandating that residents wear face coverings in public.
But officials in Jasper and Monroe counties tell the Chicago Sun-Times that the measures are crippling their local economies and most of the deaths there have been happening in nursing homes.
“I mean, I’m not trying to say that they’re not concerned about what’s going on at the nursing home, because they are,” Brian Leffler, a Jasper County Board member, told the newspaper. “That’s a bad deal, and everybody’s very sorry for it, but as far as keeping the whole county shut down because of it, I don’t know if that’s the answer.”
The newspaper, citing statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health, said a nursing home in Jasper County has 36 of its 42 confirmed cases and two of its three deaths, while another facility in Monroe County has 29 of its 64 cases and eight of 10 deaths. The counties have populations of 9,611 and 34,637, respectively.
State Rep. Darren Bailey, who represents Jasper County, also said about the lockdown that “one size does not fit all, and since this governor has started, that’s exactly what we’ve seen in Illinois — one size fits all.”