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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in isolation after staffer gets coronavirus

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update to reporters on the statewide response to the coronavirus in Belleville, Ill., on March 1. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update to reporters on the statewide response to the coronavirus in Belleville, Ill., on March 1. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his Chicago staff will be working from home after a senior staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Monday.

An asymptomatic staff member tested positive late last week and had been in close contact with Pritzker and other staff members, his office said. Pritzker tested negative for COVID-19 on Sunday.

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"Approximately 20 staff members have been regularly reporting in person to work in the James R. Thompson Center during this crisis, while the remainder of governor's office staff work from home," a statement from Pritzker's office said.

"Staff members have followed all [Illinois Department of Public Health] safety protocols, including daily temperature checks, wearing face coverings, social distancing and strict hygiene procedures. The office will undergo deep cleaning, and staff are monitoring themselves for symptoms," the statement said.

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State Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who is the point person for Illinois' COVID-19 response, is among the staff members staying home.

Another person on Pritzker's Chicago office staff tested positive for the coronavirus last month. Pritzker at the time said he did not have "regular, close contact" with that staffer, who became ill in late March.

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Pritzker said Sunday he is pushing the state to reach 64,000 returned tests per day to relax shelter-in-place restrictions further.

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Monday that she will follow a "modified quarantine plan" after meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and his staff after one of Pence's staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

Reynolds said she did not come in direct contact with the staffer and tested negative for the virus on Monday, stating that the modified quarantine is an exercise of an abundance of caution.

She said she will be tested and have her temperature checked daily, will wear a mask around others and practice social distancing, while most of her staff will work from home.

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"If I begin experiencing symptoms, of course, I will stay home," Reynolds said.

Pence's press secretary, Katie, Miller confirmed on Friday that she tested positive for COVID-19. A Pence spokesman said Sunday that he stayed away from the White House over the weekend, while three other members of the coronavirus task force remained in self-quarantine.

Sen Lamar Alexander, R-Texas, also said he will self-quarantine after a member of his staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

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