WebMD News Brief

States Tighten Restrictions as Coronavirus Rages


March 20, 200 -- California was first, but now the entire state of Illinois will be on a "shelter-in-place" order beginning Monday. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's order, expected to be finalized Friday afternoon, will require all Illinois residents to remain at home except to go the grocery story, get case, take walks and go to the drug store. There are at least 400 cases of coronavirus and four deaths in Illinois. 

Pritzker's actions follow those of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who issued a statewide stay at home order Thursday, effective at midnight March 19, that will remain in place until further notice. Essential services such as groceries, banks, laundromats, car repair and restaurant take-out will be open. Essential state and local government functions will continue. Residents are asked to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care or get to an essential job. 

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came close to a similar order, but instead ordered all non-essential businesses to keep all workers at home. Exceptions are grocery stores and restaurants (which may only offer take out or delivery), health care workers, drug stores, gas stations, convenience stores, banks, veterinarians, transportation providers,hardware stores, warehouses and distributors, delivery services, plumbers and other skilled laborers, , laundromats and cleaners, child-care providers, auto repair businesses, utility companies, construction companies and some manufacturers. 

Los Angeles County and Los Angeles city officials issued a Safer at Home order with similar restrictions, also on Thursday. Whenever feasible, residents should isolate at home, with exceptions, including work for essential products and services.  Residents can shop for food and medicine and get needed medical and veterinary care and engage in outdoor activities such as walking and hiking, if they practice social distancing, keeping a 6-foot distance.

Newsom projected that up to 56% of California's residents, or about 25.5 million people, could be infected with COVID-19 in the next 8 weeks if strong measures are not taken.

As of March 20, California had more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths.  As of March 19, L.A. County reported 231 cases and 2 deaths, the latest in an individual in  the 30's. 

The L.A. County health order is in effect through April 19; failure to comply is punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.


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