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Gov. Pritzker tests positive for COVID-19 after appearing at Florida event

Headshot of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker speaking into a microphone.
Charles Rex Arbogast
Associated Press
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a news conference Friday, March 20, 2020. Pritzker's office on Tuesday announced the governor has tested positive for COVID-19 and that he is "experiencing mild symptoms.

After quarterbacking Illinois’ COVID-19 response for more than two years, Gov. JB Pritzker has tested positive for coronavirus and appears to have a mild case of the illness, his office announced Tuesday.

“I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and am experiencing mild symptoms, but thanks to anti-viral medications like Paxlovid and vaccines I’ll be on the mend much quicker,” the governor said in a tweet. “Thank you for all the well wishes!”

A statement from the governor’s office noted Pritzker is vaccinated and double-boosted. It said the governor hopes to return to “in person work” as soon as possible.

Illinois, like the rest of the country, is seeing an increase of cases linked to the new, hyper-contagious variant of COVID-19.

As of Sunday, 1,387 people were hospitalized across the state with COVID-19, more than triple the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations from the year’s low point in early April, when just 434 were hospitalized.

The statement from the governor’s office did not offer any sense as to where Pritzker may have contracted the illness.

But at least one attendee at a Saturday Democratic rally in Florida where the governor was the keynote speaker announced publicly she also came down with COVID-19. U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-FL, announced her diagnosis on Monday.

Pritzker’s appearance at the event in Tampa stoked speculation that the governor may be testing the waters for a potential 2024 presidential run if President Joe Biden opts against seeking a second term. Pritzker made a similar appearance last month before Democrats in Manchester, N.H.

Dave McKinney covers Illinois politics and government for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @davemckinney.

Dave McKinney covers Illinois government and politics for WBEZ and was the longtime Springfield bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.