COVID Admissions Increase At Local Hospitals

Nov 17, 2020

As COVID-19 cases rise in our region, hospitals are filling up.

Governor JB Pritzker has warned that it will be difficult for hospitals to meet the needs of patients if COVID continues to spread at the current rate.

Locally, Southern Illinois Healthcare hit a record with 54 patients currently admitted due to COVID, up from 45 last week. Since March, SIH has had more than 380 patients hospitalized with COVID. While beds are filling up with the increase in patients, as of now, SIH leaders say they’re able to meet the demand.

Judge finds Pritzker acted lawfully to mandate health guidance for schools

Nov 17, 2020
Capitol News Illinois file photo

A Sangamon County judge on Monday ruled Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration has power under state law and the state constitution to issue executive orders that mandate public health measures at schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision, issued by Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow after a roughly two-hour hearing, relates to two lawsuits — Mainer v. Illinois Department of Public Health and Pritzker v. Board of Education of Hutsonville — that arose from Pritzker’s June executive orders regarding schools.

Pritzker Extends Eviction Moratorium, Secretary of State to Close Driver Facilities

Nov 13, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

As the state once again reported a one-day high for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he would extend a temporary ban on evictions and Secretary of State Jesse White announced he would be closing driver services facilities.

At his COVID-19 briefing in Chicago Friday, Pritzker said this iteration of the eviction ban will aim at excluding “tenants who may have been taking advantage of the eviction moratorium but who are in fact able to make their monthly rent payments.”

The White House
Annette Elizabeth / NPR

President Trump is giving an update on the coronavirus pandemic, speaking for the first time since Joe Biden became president-elect. Trump has been falsely claiming on Twitter that he won, and his campaign launched a slew of lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of the results and baselessly alleging widespread voter fraud. Watch his remarks live.

SIU Salukis

The SIU men's basketball team has paused its activities due to positive COVID-19 test results.

Head coach Bryan Mullins spoke at a previously scheduled news conference Thursday and said the news means the Salukis will not compete at the Louisville tip-off tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.

Illinois' governor stresses dealing with the spread of COVID-19 while trying to prevent more devastation to the state's economy is a challenge, but linked together.

In his briefing Monday, Governor J-B Pritzker said the most important thing to do for the economy is to fight the virus.

Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.

At a Monday briefing, Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she knows a lot of people are concerned about the speed at which the vaccine is being developed, but this process is different.

COVID -19 Leads to Uptick for Some Surgeries

Nov 9, 2020
OSF HealthCare

In the early stages of COVID-19, as state restrictions took hold, a segment of health care saw a significant decrease in patient volume, including cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. But as the pandemic continues, patients are now using this time to have a necessary surgery or schedule an elective procedure that they may have been putting off.

Capitol News Illinois

Backers of a graduated income tax constitutional amendment conceded defeat Wednesday, Nov. 4, for Gov. JB Pritzker’s marquee policy proposal which was projected to bring in more than $3 billion annually to state coffers.

A kindergarten student has tested positive for COVID-19 in Harrisburg.

The number of quarantined students at Mt. Vernon Township High School continues to increase.

School officials say the amount of positive cases isn't high, but the number of students quarantined as close contacts continues to rise.

Due to a COVID outbreak, a polling place is changing location in Du Quoin.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Reach New Second-Wave Highs

Nov 2, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to climb as the entire state is either subject to increased mitigation measures or will be starting Wednesday.

A Capitol News Illinois analysis of weekly hospitalization averages shows the average number of hospital beds in use by COVID-19 patients for the week ending Nov. 1 increased by 603, or 24 percent, from the week prior. There were 3,091 hospital beds in use on average last week, an increase of 55 percent from two weeks prior and 94 percent from the week ending Oct. 4.

A southern Illinois school administrator says the vote by the Illinois High School Association's Board of Directors to allow basketball to proceed against the recommendation of the State Public Health Department and Governor J-B Pritzker has put districts between a rock and a hard place.

State Expands Pro Bono Program Addressing Backlog of Criminal Appeals

Oct 29, 2020

The Illinois Supreme Court is expanding a program that allows attorneys to volunteer on criminal appeals cases currently making up an extensive backlog.

The Volunteer Pro Bono Program for Criminal Appeals will include the 3rd, 4th and 5th Appellate Districts, located in central and southern Illinois, starting Dec. 1. A six-month pilot version of the program was launched in February, but only for the 1st and 2nd Appellate Districts, which are made up of Cook County and the rest of northern Illinois, respectively.

Due to an increasing number of COVID positive results among students and staff in the West Frankfort School District, the district has decided to return to remote only learning.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting four thousand new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

Over half of the state's regions are under stricter mitigations -- including no indoor dining because of rising test positivity rates.

COVID-19: "Out of Control" in 90% of Rural Missouri

Oct 26, 2020

COVID-19 cases are on the rise almost everywhere, but the share of new cases in Missouri's rural counties is outpacing the new caseload in metro counties.

Illinois News Connection

New research suggests access to emergency paid leave could help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Supporters of a broader paid-time-off proposal say it's needed in states like Illinois, where there's no such requirement.

Another southern Illinois lawmaker says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a Facebook post, State Representative Dave Severin announced he and his wife started feeling sick on October 10, and have both tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gerd_Altmann / Pixabay

Researchers at SIU are taking part in an effort to help further understand the novel coronavirus by sequencing it’s genome.

Associate professor Keith Gagnon heads the lab working on the project, which is mapping the RNA of the coronavirus in an effort to understand how the virus is changing. These changes can also help researchers understand how the virus has traveled from place to place, because different mutations may be more common in different areas of the world.


Starting Thursday new restrictions take effect banning indoor service for restaurants and bars.

This week Governor JB Pritzker announced tighter restrictions for region 5.

Nearly 2,600 separate outbreaks have been tracked across Illinois since March, including a worsening undisclosed outbreak at Naval Station Great Lakes. Here is the full list.

This story is republished with permission from the Midwest Center for Investivative Reporting. To see the original story, which includes a searchable database, click here.

COVID-19 has shut down the Massac County Early Learning Center for one week following two confirmed cases in the facility.

Caution During Holidays Urged as Illinois Continues to See COVID-19 Spikes

Oct 14, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

As statewide COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to increase, officials on Wednesday warned Illinoisans to take precautions ahead of upcoming holiday seasons.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health director, said holiday celebrants should dine outside when possible, consider pre-plating food and having dishes served by a single person rather than serving buffet-style, and always wear masks when not eating or drinking.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is offering guidance for getting through the holidays safely amidst the pandemic.

Cape Girardeau Co. Public Health Center

Cape Girardeau County Tuesday reported six additional deaths related to COVID-19.

Three individuals were in their 90's...two in their 70's and one in their 80's. Four were living in a long term care facility...that brings the total number of deaths in those facilities to 28 and 40 overall in Cape County.

Rep. Bost

Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost updated his constituents Monday on his status after reporting last week he had tested positive for COVID-19.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, the 12th District Representative from Murphysboro said he is doing pretty well and following federal and local health guidelines.

Missouri Health officials say a “database extract error” resulted in an incorrect inflation of the number of reported COVID-19 cases in the Show Me State going back over several days.

Daily COVID Update

Oct 11, 2020

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Sunday reported 2,727 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 9 additional confirmed deaths.

That brings the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to 319,150, including 8,984 deaths.