COVID-19

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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 has passed a grim milestone of the pandemic.  The Illinois Department of Public Health says the death toll is now more than ten-thousand people.

State Smashes One-Day COVID-19 Case Record with 9,935 as Death Toll Surpasses 10K

Nov 5, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 10,000 Thursday as the number of new confirmed cases smashed a one-day record by more than 2,000.

The 9,935 new cases were accompanied by 97 COVID-19-related deaths reported Thursday, the most since 116 deaths were reported on June 4. The 86,015 test results reported made for a one-day positivity rate of 11.6 percent and drove the rolling seven-day average case positivity rate to 9.1 percent.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIH CEO Rex Budde and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marci Moore-Connelly about the latest COVID-19 numbers, and how the organization is moving into the cold and flu season with coronavirus surging. 

State's One-Day COVID-19 Positivity Rate is Highest Since May 22

Nov 4, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged residents on Wednesday to stay focused on slowing the spread of COVID-19 as the state’s one-day COVID-19 case positivity rate hit 10.5 percent– its highest rate since May 22 – and the Illinois Department of Public Health reported its second highest one-day total of new confirmed cases with 7,538.

Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced another 68 COVID-19-related deaths Tuesday, the highest one-day total since June 17 as hospitalizations once again pushed second-wave highs.

The state also reported 6,516 new cases of COVID-19 among 82,435 test results reported, making for a one-day positivity rate of 7.9 percent which drove the seven-day rolling average case positivity rate to 8.2 percent.

On the eve of Election Day, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the increases in COVID-19 are as high as they were this past spring.

Restaurants Push Back as 10th Region Placed Under Mitigations

Oct 30, 2020
Blueroomstream.com

Illinois restaurant owners are asking Gov. JB Pritzker to rethink the state’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 as yet another medical region was placed under enhanced mitigation measures on Friday.

“We want to collaborate with the state of Illinois on a different path, one that addresses the alarming surges we are seeing while protecting the livelihood of industry workers and restaurant owners-operators across Illinois,” Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, said during a news conference in Chicago.

East-Central Illinois Makes 10 of 11 Regions Mitigated as Restaurants Push Back

Oct 30, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois is down to one region that is not facing increased COVID-19 mitigations after east-central Illinois’ Region 6 reached an 8 percent positivity rate for the third straight day, according to Friday’s data.

InFocus: Civic Engagement

Oct 30, 2020
InFocus
WSIU

Join us for an exploration into civic engagement. In this episode, we highlight the role of women voters 100 years after the women’s suffrage movement; answer voting-related FAQs and review the history of tax amendments in the Illinois. We’ll also report on local COVID-19 protections to see how local officials plan to keep voters safe during the election season. Hosted by Rosslind Rice.

Mitigations Triggered in 9th of 11 regions as COVID-19 Rages

Oct 29, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

A ninth of the state’s 11 COVID-19 reopening regions triggered increased mitigations Thursday as the governor touted the release of federal funding for businesses affected by pandemic-related closures and some legislative Democrats called on the administration to do more for those businesses.

The announcement that Region 3, which includes Springfield and several surrounding counties, would be subject to mitigations including prohibition of indoor service at bars and restaurants starting Sunday came as hospitalizations again hit second-wave highs and the state again announced its single-day record for new cases with 6,363.

Court OKs Video Jury Selection for Civil Trials

Oct 29, 2020
Capitol News Illinois file photo

As jury trials throughout the state have been put on pause during the pandemic, the Illinois Supreme Court is now allowing jury selection for civil trials to be held remotely via video conference.

The court’s order to allow remote jury selection comes after months of discussion and research by the Court Operations during COVID-19 Task Force.

The COVID-19 task force, which was formed by the court in late June, is charged with making recommendations for safely continuing court operations — including civil and criminal jury trials — amid the pandemic.

Like everything else in 2020, this year’s presidential election might be a little different. Here’s everything you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

Suburban Restaurant Defies Restrictions with Decision from Local Judge

Oct 29, 2020
Blueroomstream.com

A Kane County judge’s ruling this week that temporarily allows indoor dining for one restaurant in the region is headed to a state appellate court.

FoxFire restaurant in Geneva sued Gov. JB Pritzker last week after the governor imposed new COVID-19 restrictions in response to a spike in the region’s positivity rate.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and Kane County Department of Public Health are also named in the lawsuit.

North Suburban Counties Join Mitigation List as Pritzker, State Police Talk Enforcement

Oct 28, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

North suburban Lake and McHenry counties will be the eighth region of the state’s COVID-19 plan facing increased economic restrictions as COVID-19 surges in the state and Republican opposition mounts to Gov. JB Pritzker’s mitigation plan.

GOP Pushes Back on Pritzker's Mitigation Efforts

Oct 28, 2020
Blueroomstream.com

Republicans in the Illinois House and Senate pushed back Wednesday against Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, arguing that lawmakers should be involved in crafting the state’s response to the pandemic.

In back-to-back virtual news conferences, GOP leaders in the House and Senate argued that they believe there is scant evidence that bars and restaurants – which will be closed to indoor service in eight of the state’s 11 regions by the end of the week – are a significant source of COVID-19 spread.

UPDATED 5:45 p.m. | The high school basketball season will play on as planned despite a surge in COVID-19 cases across Illinois.

Blueroomstream.com

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced new guidelines for youth and adult winter sports on Tuesday that temporarily put a halt to competitive basketball, hockey and wrestling events.

Although participants in those sports may continue with non-contact training and drills, they will not be allowed to participate in competitive games or matches.

Chicago is 7th of 11 Regions to Trigger Increased Mitigations

Oct 27, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Starting Friday, Chicago will be the seventh of 11 regions of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan due for increased economic restrictions, including the closure of bars and restaurants for indoor service. 

Two other regions are above the 8 percent positivity rate threshold that, if sustained for three days, would subject them to the same mitigations, and the other two non-mitigated regions are quickly nearing the threshold as well.

Two More Regions to See COVID-19 Mitigations as Pace of Hospitalization Growth Quickens

Oct 26, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Six of the state’s 11 coronavirus mitigation regions will be under escalated restrictions starting Wednesday as hospitalizations for COVID-19 show a quickening rate of increase.

“So no matter where in Illinois you call home, as you go about your daily lives, remember that this is not over,” Gov. JB Pritzker said at his daily COVID-19 briefing in Peoria. “There seems to be a COVID storm on the rise. And we have to get prepared.”

Capitol News Illinois

Through tears, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike once again called for widespread use of face coverings Friday after warning of increasing COVID-19 hospitalization numbers that could surpass the peaks of April and May.

Ezike: ‘I Don’t Know What Else We Can Say’

Oct 23, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Through tears, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike once again called for widespread use of face coverings Friday after warning of increasing COVID-19 hospitalization numbers that could surpass the peaks of April and May.

“I mean it's sad to see the numbers going up again,” Ezike said at a COVID-19 briefing in Chicago. “People have worked really hard to get us through the first phase, … and as we see the numbers go up in the hospital, people are bringing more beds, trying to prepare for the COVID units again, and the staff that went through all that pain to try to save as many people as they can are seeing history repeat itself.”

Pritzker: State Headed Into COVID-19 Peak ‘Potentially Beyond’ April Highs

Oct 22, 2020
Blueroomstream.com

Region 1 of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan will see a new tier of virus mitigations as Gov. JB Pritzker warned Thursday that “we are now headed into a peak that is beyond, potentially, where we were in March and April.”

“This pandemic is the greatest challenge that many of us have experienced in our lifetimes,” Pritzker said during a St. Clair County news conference Thursday. “And when it comes to managing this pandemic, these mitigations are our best tools to find our way through to the other side.”

COVID-19
WSIU / WSIU

Covid-19 continues to rise in Illinois, especially in Region One.  Illinois Governor JB Prtizker says the Northwest part of the state will have to see even tighter restrictions soon.

COVID-19
WSIU / WSIU

Thursday is the first day of increased restrictions  in southern Illinois to fight COVID-19.  For Melanie Andrews, Superintendent at Mt. Vernon Township High School, these stricter rules won't change anything, because, she says  her district has had good results with the steps they have been taking.

Pritzker Renews Call for More Federal Aid

Oct 21, 2020
Illinois.gov

Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday renewed his call for more federal aid for struggling state and local governments as well as small businesses, but talks in Washington may be stalled until after Election Day.

UPDATED: COVID-19 Deaths, Positivity Rates, Hospitalizations Push New Post-June Highs

Oct 21, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported another 69 COVID-19 related deaths Wednesday, a new single-day high since June 17, when there were 84.

While 42 of the deaths reported Tuesday came in people aged 80 or older, the death toll also included a male in his 30s, two females in their 40s, four people in their 50s, seven people in their 60s, and 13 people in their 70s.

Many bar and restaurant owners in southern Illinois are not happy they're being told to shut down their indoor service because of rising COVID-19 metrics.

Number of Regions Slated for Added COVID-19 Mitigations Jumps to 4

Oct 20, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Two more of the 11 regions of the state’s COVID-19 mitigation plan have reached a threshold necessitating increased restrictions, joining two other regions which remain above the key metric.

Will and Kankakee counties in Region 7 and DuPage and Kane counties in Region 8 will be closed for indoor service at bars and restaurants and will see capacity limits of 25 people or 25 percent of maximum occupancy among other restrictions. The mitigations will take effect Friday.

 Starting Friday, two more Illinois regions will be under stricter COVID-19 mitigations.  Governor JB Pritzker says Regions seven and eight, in the northeast,  have seen three days in a row of positivity rates greater than eight percent.  Governor Pritzker says this is not the time to give in to  so-called  Covid fatigue.

Now that summer is over and temperatures are dipping across the Midwest, people are headed indoors, some experts fear the already striking rise in cases is the beginning of another wave of COVID-19.

“I think that as fall moves forward ... what we're seeing right now is kind of a preview of what we can expect, as we even see colder temperatures come,” says Brian Dixon, director of public health informatics at the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute. 

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