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Illinois Sets New Single-Day Record With 144 COVID-19 Deaths; Governor JB Pritzker Says Lawmaker's Lawsuit Challenging Stay-At-Home Order 'Was Only Ever About One Person'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois had a record 144 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, along with more than 2,200 new confirmed cases of the disease since Monday.

It was the fifth time in the past week that Illinois has confirmed more than 2,000 cases of novel coronavirus in a single day, as testing has ramped up to more than 10,000 per day.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Illinois has a total of 48,102 confirmed coronavirus cases in 96 counties, including 2,125 deaths. A total of 242,189 tests have been performed, including 14,561 on Monday.

Meantime, Gov. JB Pritzker is appealing a Clay County judge's ruling exempting a single Republican state lawmaker from his extended stay-at-home order.

"We will not let one irresponsible state representative deter us from success," Pritzker said.

State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) claimed in a lawsuit filed last week that Pritzker has exceeded his authority and is violating the civil rights of the state's residents by extending the stay-at-home order for an additional 30 days, through May 30.

Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney on Monday granted representative Bailey a temporary restraining order, barring the governor from enforcing the stay-at-home order on the lawmaker, meaning Bailey won't have to comply with the extension once it begins on Friday.

Pritzker said, while the judge's ruling applies only to Bailey, and stay-at-home order remains in place for the rest of the state, his office is immediately appealing the ruling.

"We are defeating this virus by virtue of having a stay-at-home order," Pritzker said. "There would have been thousands more deaths in the state, and there will be thousands more deaths if this executive order is not allowed to proceed on May 1 through May 30th. All I can say is it is the height of recklessness that that attorney and his client have gone ahead and challenged the idea that we're in the middle of an emergency."

The governor said Bailey's lawsuit "was only ever about one person."

"This was a cheap political stunt designed so that the representative can see his name in headlines, and unfortunately he has briefly been successful in that most callous of feats," he said. "As absurd as this charade is, we are taking this matter very seriously."

A second state lawmaker, John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park), reportedly plans to file a more wide-ranging lawsuit, with the hope of lifting the stay-at-home order statewide.

"It appears to me to be some partisan endeavor, at a moment when, frankly, political parties shouldn't matter at all. We should be focused on simply doing what's best for our people, keeping them safe and healthy," Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the judge's ruling sets a dangerous precedent.

"We will not stop this virus if, because of this ruling, any resident can petition to be exempted from aspects of the orders that rely on collective action to keep us all safe," he said.

The governor said he's confident higher courts will uphold his authority to extend the stay-at-home order on appeal.

Pritzker said he knows the toll the virus has taken on the economy, just as it has on the health and safety of the public, but he said the danger from the virus has not passed, no matter where you live in Illinois.

Pritzker said Bailey's district in southern Illinois has among lowest availability of hospital beds and ventilators in Illinois, and is home to the county with the state's highest per-capita death rate

"Responsible people understand the tradeoffs and the consequences of reopening too early," Pritzker said.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, while many people might be growing weary of having to stay at home, she said there's proof the stay-at-home order is helping slow the spread of the virus.

"We know that we have flattened the curve, we know that we have decreased the rate of rise of the number of people who've gotten infected, which means that we've decreased the number of people who will be hospitalized and have passed on," she said. "The common enemy is the virus. It's not public health, that's trying to keep people safe. It's not the governor, who's working so hard to help us manage these community mitigation strategies. We all need to try to hang in there so that we can prevent the loss of lives of our loved ones and ourselves."

Ezike acknowledged that the stay-at-home order might be taking a mental toll on many people in Illinois. She said that's why the state has set up hotlines people can call or text for help, and why officials encourage people to keep in touch with their family, friends, and neighbors during the pandemic.

People struggling with stress from the pandemic can reach the Illinois Call4Calm text line by texting TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish. People also can call the Illinois Warn Line at 866-359-7953 if they or a family member are suffering mental health or substance abuse challenges and need support.

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