Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a national mask mandate, a national containment strategy for COVID-19 and additional federal aid for states to offset large revenue losses created by the pandemic in testimony before a Congressional committee on Wednesday.

Pritzker said a national containment strategy for the highly contagious COVID-19 should involve additional testing and contact tracing.

“It may even mean national restrictions that will be followed in every state,” Pritzker said, testifying remotely to the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.

The mask mandate that took effect in Illinois May 1 “aligns with our most significant downward shifts in our infection rate,” Pritzker said. “It’s not too late for the federal government to make an impact. In fact, it’s more important than ever.”

The governor also called for more clarity from the federal government regarding insurance coverage and coronavirus testing.

“Testing in not a one-off tactic. We need regular testing across our population,” Pritzker said. “That means people need to know their insurance will cover their testing every time.”

Pritzker detailed the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March, a month when he issued sweeping measures that included closing down schools for in-person instruction and a statewide stay-at-home order.

The state’s coronavirus positivity rate at one point this spring stood at 23%, and is now 2.5%, Pritzker said.

“That isn’t to say that the cascade of decisions that got Illinois to this point were easy,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “In fact, every one of them has been a choice between bad and worse — muddled further by the White House’s broken promises on testing supplies and PPE deliveries.”


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