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This is a guide to the things we do know, from scientists, doctors and public health experts — a resource that changes alongside our understanding of this virus.

FAQ:  The Essential Coronavirus FAQ
MAP:  The real-time spread of coronavirus
STATE:  Tracking by State

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker continues to urge residents not to travel or gather with people outside their household for Thanksgiving.

Pritzker says there is still time to change plans before Thursday's holiday.

After Pfizer submitted its application for a COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week, Illinois public health officials have continued preparing locations to store and distribute the vaccine that could be released to frontline hospital workers in a matter of weeks.


One of the experimental drugs that President Trump received while he was battling COVID-19 has been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

The drug, made by Regeneron, is the second antibody treatment to win emergency use approval from the FDA.

U.S. Federal Court

The federal courthouses in the Southern District of Illinois will generally be closed to the public until further notice, except for special settings.

Chief District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel says the additional restrictions for the Benton and East St. Louis courthouses are due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Mike Parson says Missouri's hospitals are struggling to cope with rising COVID-19 cases.

The Newman Center in Carbondale had to make some changes to their Thanksgiving Day meal because of COVID-19 restrictions.

For more than 50 years the Newman Catholic Student Center at Southern Illinois University has opened its doors on Thanksgiving to anyone that doesn’t have a place to go.

OSF Part of National Mask Campaign

Nov 20, 2020
OSF HealthCare

OSF HealthCare is joining 100 of the nation’s top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communities across the U.S. with an urgent plea for all Americans to mask up, because wearing a face mask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic.

The continued stress from COVID-19 has heightened mental health problems nationwide. And some experts say that has led to an increase in drug overdoses.

10 Lawsuits Over COVID-19 Restrictions Merged in Sangamon County Court

Nov 18, 2020
Capitol News Illinois file photo

The Illinois Supreme Court agreed to combine 10 lawsuits challenging indoor dining bans across the state with existing cases in Sangamon County that raise the same legal questions.

The Supreme Court’s order brings a total of 19 cases involving legal challenges to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 related restrictions that are now consolidated in Sangamon County Court before Judge Raylene Grischow.

State COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 11,000

Nov 18, 2020

As the state surpassed 11,000 COVID-19-related deaths Wednesday and the disease became the third leading cause of death in the state, health officials sought to address rumors and conspiracy theories related to the virus.

Midwest Governors Urge Residents to Limit Contact Over Holidays

Nov 17, 2020
Capitol News Illinois

A bipartisan group of governors from seven Midwestern states, including Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, issued a joint plea Tuesday for residents of their states to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19 over the upcoming holiday weekend, even if that means avoiding travel and family get-togethers.

“This Thanksgiving is going to look different than others have before, and it’s because it has to,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during a virtual joint news conference. “I know that instead of hosting a big, in-person Thanksgiving like I usually do, I’m going to be setting up a Zoom call with my family members.”

Capitol News Illinois file photo

Four restaurants in Sangamon County that continued to offer indoor dining in defiance of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigation plan were ordered to shut down temporarily Tuesday.

The order from a Sangamon County judge states that the four restaurants — Charlie Parker’s Diner, D&J Cafe, Sweet Basil Cafe, and Fox Run Restaurant and Lounge — “are prohibited from selling food items,” effective immediately.

State Issues Stricter Mitigations Amid Hospitalization Surge

Nov 17, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker announced the entire state would enter Tier 3 of his mitigation plan starting Friday as he noted the best way for Illinoisans to avoid another stay-at-home order was by staying home.

“Tier 3 boils down to this: if you don’t need to do it, don’t,” Gov. JB Pritzker said of leaving the home as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to soar.

Due to a significant increase in active COVID-19 cases in Jackson County, the City of Carbondale will be closing offices to the public until further notice beginning Tuesday.

City Hall staff will continue working and will be available to assist residents by phone or email. Visit the city's website for a list of departments and contact information. 

COVID-19 Surges: ‘We Are In for a Rough Ride for the Next 3 Months’

Nov 16, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinoisans should stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings and rethink their Thanksgiving plans as hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to rise, state officials reiterated Monday.

“We are in for a rough ride for the next three months or so,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at a COVID-19 briefing Monday. “Just how bumpy it really gets depends on each of us. Let's hang in there together and be all in for Illinois.”

Provided by Camp Ondessonk

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt public fundraising efforts many non-profits depend on.  Camp Ondessonk Events and Marketing Coordinator McKenna Sawchak  says they have taken a big hit.

The fall veto session of the Illinois General Assembly that was scheduled to begin next week has been canceled amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic, Democratic leaders announced this week, prompting Republicans to question the motives behind that decision.

COVID-19 Surge Strains Midwest Hospitals

Nov 14, 2020

This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.

The recent COVID surge was enough to push BJC Healthcare to start deferring some scheduled procedures at hospitals in the St. Louis area. In Columbia, where the University of Missouri is located, hospitals aren’t there yet.

But it’s not out of the question.

Illinois' Driver Services facilities statewide will be closed to the public for in person transactions from November 17 to December 7 due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Rezin

Illinois lawmakers are calling for hearings on the state's response to COVID-19.

In a bipartisan virtual news conference, Senator Sue Rezin said there should be more transparency about why decisions are being made, and that legislators need to have a voice during the pandemic.

A second Randolph County school district has decided to transition into remote only learning through the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Illinois Urges Residents to Stay Home for 3 Weeks

Nov 12, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois residents are being urged to stay at home as much as possible for at least the next three weeks as the second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks continues to sweep across the state.

The latest advisory from the Illinois Department of Public Health does not represent a renewal of the stay-at-home order that was in effect this spring, but Gov. JB Pritzker warned Thursday that if current trends continue, stricter mitigation orders could be in store.

Lawmakers Seek Public Hearing on LaSalle Veterans’ Home Outbreak

Nov 12, 2020

Republicans on the Illinois House Veterans’ Affairs Committee called for a hearing this week to investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home where at least nine residents have died after testing positive for the virus.

In a letter to the House’s committee chairwoman Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, the Republican House committee members asked to hold hearings to “quickly investigate how and why this most recent outbreak occurred and what steps are being taken by the Pritzker administration to stop the spread of COVID-19 at all state-run veterans’ homes and health care facilities.”

Students and faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield will return to their in-person classes Thursday, after a two-day closure due to COVID-19 cases.

The Illinois High School Association has invited Gov. JB Pritzker’s office and representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to discuss the association’s plans to hold a basketball season this winter, against the state’s recommendation.

Illinois Records Highest COVID-19 Death Count Since May

Nov 11, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that 145 people in the state had died of COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, the highest single-day death toll since the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in May, while overall hospital usage in the state reached its highest level.

Those numbers were released one day after Illinois legislative leaders announced the cancellation of the fall veto session due to public health concerns amid the worsening pandemic. The session had been scheduled to begin Tuesday, Nov. 17.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Far Higher in Most Regions Than in First Wave

Nov 10, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

With no signs of slowing, key metrics measuring the spread of COVID-19 – including hospitalizations – continue to push numbers not seen since April and May.

The 4,742 people hospitalized in Illinois due to COVID-19 as of Monday night marked the highest number since May 8, which was right around the peak of the first wave of the virus. It’s the 16th straight day of increases for hospitalizations, marking an 82 percent increase since the beginning of that 16-day period.

Fifteen people tested positive for COVID-19 at the University of Illinois Springfield’s campus Monday.

Pritzker Announces Tier 2 Mitigations in Three More Regions

Nov 9, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday that three more regions of the state will be placed under even stricter COVID-19 restrictions starting Wednesday as the state’s rates of infections and hospitalizations continue to climb.

“The virus is winning the war right now,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago.

Kane County Restaurant Loses Appeal Over COVID-19 Restrictions

Nov 9, 2020

An appeals court has handed down a favorable ruling to Gov. JB Pritzker in a legal challenge to his administration’s restrictions on bars and restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The 2nd District Appellate Court overruled a Kane County judge’s decision to temporarily block Pritzker’s indoor dining ban from taking effect at the FoxFire Restaurant in Geneva.