CORONAVIRUS

Midwest governors form coronavirus partnership

Iowa 'chose not to be part of this,' Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives a daily coronavirus update Tuesday in Chicago. Pritzker announced Thursday that seen M
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives a daily coronavirus update Tuesday in Chicago. Pritzker announced Thursday that seen Midwestern states will work together to coordinate reopening their state economies amid the coronavirus epidemic. He said Iowa’s governor chose not to join the group. (Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

By Jim Meenan, Quad City Times

Seven Midwest governors — not including Iowa’s — announced Thursday they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region, following the lead of two regional groups formed on the East and West coasts.

The seven governors are from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky.

“Iowa chose not to be part of this,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday. “They don’t have a stay-at-home order in place. They have made a lot of different decisions than we have.”

Pat Garrett, spokesman for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, said in a statement that Reynolds “will continue to participate in conversations with nearby governors as we prepare to open the state back up in the coming weeks.”

Reynolds said Tuesday she talks to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts weekly and also has had conversations with the governors of North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Like Iowa, none of those states have statewide shelter-at-home orders.

The seven-state Midwest consortium said in a statement its No. 1 priority “when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens. We will make decisions based on facts, science and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor and education.”

“We will closely examine at least these four factors when determining when best to reopen our economy: sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations; enhanced ability to test and trace; sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence; and best practices for social distancing in the workplace.”

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have a similar coalition to coordinate their plans in lifting coronavirus restrictions.

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In the Northeast, seven states — Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — are also taking a regional approach to lifting restrictions on businesses and gatherings of more than 10 people.

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