FILE - J.B. Pritzker, Springfield, Virus Outbreak Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions from the media during his daily press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic from his office at the Illinois State Capitol, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Springfield, Ill.

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker is talking up Illinois’ COVID-19 response by criticizing neighboring states amid an uptick in infection rates in Illinois. 

On multiple occasions, Pritzker has used news conferences near state lines to highlight positivity rates in other states. 

“Virtually every state around us has either double or triple our current positivity rate,” he said on July 20 in Urbana, which lies just miles from the Indiana border. “It does demonstrate that the way we have been managing it is, so far, been effective. We’re the best among all of our neighbors.” 

His message was similar in the Metro East on July 21. 

“We have a much lower statewide positivity rate in Illinois, indeed it is half of the statewide positivity rate in Missouri,” he said.

He warned residents of the Quad Cities area on July 27.

“If you cross the border into Iowa or Missouri, remember that they have three-and-four times our positivity rate,” he said of Iowa.

Governors from Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin weren’t immediately available for comment Tuesday. 

Two mayors in Indiana closed beaches along Lake Michigan after they said Illinoisans flocked to their shores causing outbreaks there. 

According to Johns Hopkins University data, Illinois’ seven-day rolling average of positive cases as a percentage of total tests was 3.8 percent on July 26. Indiana’s was 7.9 percent, Iowa’s was 9.3 percent, Missouri’s was 13.5 percent, and Wisconsin’s was 7.1 percent.

Each of those states is performing fewer daily tests than Illinois and have fewer residents. 

On Monday, Indiana reported 535 new cases, Wisconsin reported 602 new cases, Missouri reported 1,123 new cases, and Iowa reported 354 new cases. Illinois reported 1,231 new cases.

In total, Illinois has reported 173,731 positive cases of COVID-19 and attribute 7,446 deaths to the virus. Its percentage positivity rate over the course of the pandemic is 6.84 percent, according to Johns Hopkins data and within three percentage points of neighboring states.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.