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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 
HOSPITAL:  Capacity by County

Small Business Grant Program Ends, Paying Out More Than $275 Million

Jan 9, 2021

The grant program for small businesses owners in Illinois who suffered losses during the pandemic has run out of money.

Illinois’ Business Interruption Grant program was the largest state program of its kind, but only about 20 percent, or 8,974 applicants, received a grant.

The SIU men's basketball team will not play at Indiana State this weekend.

The two-game series Saturday and Sunday in Terre Haute will be rescheduled after positive COVID-19 test results were reported in the Saluki program.

On Chicago’s Southwest side, a colorful mural pays tribute to America’s essential workers. It features three of the community’s very own: Rosalinda, a retail clerk; Javier, a postal carrier and Juan, a butcher shop worker. Underneath their portraits are the words El Corazon de Chicago: The heart of Chicago.

Statewide COVID-19 Cases Surpass 1 Million

Jan 7, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois has reported more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

“In a pandemic that has contained far too many tragic milestones, today’s marking of one million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Illinois deserves particular recognition,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release.

Regions Could Have Some Mitigations Loosened Starting Jan. 15

Jan 6, 2021

Statewide Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigations could be lifted within 10 days.

Starting Jan.15, exactly one incubation period from New Year’s Day, any region that has met requirements for a reduction of mitigations will be able to move out of the Tier 3 mitigation plan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

Administration Still ‘In a Pause’ When Considering Mitigation Rollbacks

Jan 5, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate ticked down slightly on Tuesday to 8. 5 percent, marking nearly a month that the rate has stayed below 10 percent.

The rolling seven-day average statewide case positivity rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point, from 8.6 percent the day before. The rate has remained below 10 percent since Dec. 8, and well below second-wave highs of 13.2 percent in mid-November.

Southern Seven Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Survey

Jan 5, 2021
Southern Seven Health Department
Southern Seven Health Department / Southern Seven Health Department

While Illinois is still in phase one of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which covers health care workers and long-term care residents, some health departments are starting to reach out to the public about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Southern Seven Health Department is surveying residents to get a sense of who wants to take the vaccine and what concerns people might have.

Community outreach coordinator Shawnna Rhine said so far, the majority of respondents have said they plan to take the vaccine when it is available to them.

Kentucky News Connection

Workers and students who've lost jobs during the pandemic and want to continue their education might be able to receive college credit for previous life or work experience.

Statewide COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Drop

Jan 4, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Editor's Note: The weekly hospitalization numbers were calculated incorrectly in a previous version of this document and have been updated with correct numbers

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and average case positivity rate remain below second-wave highs while public health officials in Illinois continue to caution residents that a post-holiday surge could materialize.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 5,059 new and probable cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with an average of 5,900 of new cases daily from Dec. 31 to Sunday.

Metro East Schools Will Start 2021 Remotely To Stave Off Holiday COVID Surge

Jan 3, 2021

Many Metro East students won’t be jumping into in-person learning on their first day back from their winter breaks.

Local districts are starting with remote learning plans, with a gradual transition to hybrid or in-person learning plans by Jan. 19 in order to build in quarantine time for students and faculty who traveled or attended large gatherings over the holidays.

The Clay County Public Health Department is offering expanded COVID-19 testing this weekend, after a large potential exposure to the virus on Christmas Eve.

Illinois Delivers More Than 269,000 Vaccines; 126,111 Vaccinated Thus Far

Dec 30, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

As Illinois’ COVID-19 hospitalization and case numbers have stabilized since the second-wave highs last month, the governor’s office announced 126,211 vaccinations were administered throughout the state, including Chicago, as of Tuesday evening.

The state has delivered 108,225 vaccine doses of Pfizer and 161,400 doses of Moderna to hospitals throughout the state, not including Chicago, according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s spokesperson.

The same day the first employees at Memorial Health System hospitals in central Illinois were getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, an internal blog post was published: “Debunking COVID-19 Vaccination Myths.”

Megan Miedema is a mother of two in Chicago. In October, she started to feel back pain but was hesitant to go to the doctor. She worried about getting COVID-19 and bringing it back home. 

Illinois Reports 106 COVID-19 Deaths Tuesday

Dec 29, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois reported its third consecutive day with more than 100 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday. Meanwhile, most statistics the state uses to measure progress in combatting the coronavirus ticked up slightly.

Quincy Veterans Home Resident Tests Positive for Legionnaires’ Disease

Dec 28, 2020

A resident at the state-run veterans home in Quincy has tested positive for both COVID-19 and Legionnaires’ disease, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday the agencies are investigating the case of Legionnaires’ disease in a single resident, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 30 and showed pneumonia symptoms on Dec. 16, according to the news release.

Statewide coronavirus numbers topped a grim new milestone on Monday, with the death toll surpassing 16-thousand.

With more than 4,400 new cases reported, Illinois' COVID-19 total now stands at more than 942,000. The positivity rate is 7.2%, and hospitalizations jumped by 150 patients to roughly 4,200 statewide.

Sangamon Co. Judge Tosses Decision Voiding Pritzker’s Executive Orders

Dec 23, 2020
Capitol News Illinois file photo

In early July, a judge in downstate Clay County voided Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive orders in a sweeping order that he applied to the entire state, at the request of a southern Illinois lawmaker who sued Pritzker over his response to the pandemic.

More than six months later, Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow has essentially voided Judge Michael McHaney’s July 2 order in the case of Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia.

Illinois Leading the Nation in COVID-19 Vaccinations

Dec 23, 2020
Capitol News Illinois

More than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Illinois since the first vaccine was approved for emergency use this month, more than any other state in the nation, and state officials expect the pace of the vaccination program to speed up as the federal government begins distributing a second drug this week.

Getty Images

Governor JB Pritzker holds a press briefing on the state’s current response and action plan for managing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Illinois.

The virtual event begins at 12 p.m. CST

Watch Live | Listen Only

William Rentel, a nurse practitioner in Ohio, has Type 1 diabetes but has been able to keep his blood sugar well-managed.

That changed when he and his wife contracted COVID-19 this spring.

“I found myself needing to use double the amount of insulin I would normally use to get my blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible,” recalls Rentel, who works at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “That’s when I knew something was very wrong.”

COVID-19 And Diabetes Can Be A Dangerous Mix

Dec 23, 2020

Agatha Walston leads a busy life.

Surgeon General: Illinois Numbers ‘Moving in the Right Direction’

Dec 22, 2020

The top public health official in the United States said Tuesday that the COVID-19 trends in Illinois are improving and he urged the public to get vaccinated as soon as the doses become available to them.

“The numbers here in Illinois are moving in the right direction and we have a finish line in sight with these two vaccines,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said during a news conference in Chicago.


US Senator Dick Durbin says Illinois will benefit from the Federal COVID-19 relief package.

Durbin voted yes on the 900 billion dollar bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief legislation.

The Illinois Democrat says the package doesn’t include all he wanted but it does provide support for many areas.

“It is a dramatic bill and the Omnibus spending bill for the next year as well as this COVID relief bill at some 900 billion dollars and several other measures that have been waiting for passage, it’s good for Illinois, in fact it’s very good.”


As more doses of COVID-19 become available, more people are being added to the groups eligible to receive the shot. 

SIH Chief Medical Officer Doctor Marci Moore Connelley says there are a of moving parts when it comes to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

Restaurant Asks Illinois Supreme Court to Throw Out Indoor Dining Ban

Dec 21, 2020
Capitol News Illinois

Lawyers for a Kane County restaurant are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court decision that found the governor’s indoor dining ban was lawfully imposed.

FoxFire Tavern is one of dozens of restaurants that sued Gov. JB Pritzker and his administration after he issued an executive order imposing stricter restrictions on businesses, including a ban on indoor dining and bar service, in response to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout the state.

A tray of cookies with a hand adding sprinkles.
JillWellington / Pixabay

Navigating the holidays during a pandemic can be doubly stressful for families that include someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

While some things may have to be altered, holiday traditions provide a sense of normalcy that can be especially important for family members with Alzheimer’s.

Elizabeth Cook is the manager of media relations with the Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She said families shouldn’t give up on their usual celebrations.

Capitol News Illinois

Two lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the General Assembly to meet and vote remotely during a pandemic or other emergency that makes in-person meetings dangerous.

Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. Robert Martwick, both Chicago Democrats, filed the legislation Monday, saying the current inability to conduct business remotely has hindered lawmakers’ ability to respond to the health crisis.

Second Wave of COVID-19 Shows Signs of Abating

Dec 21, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Four weeks after the Thanksgiving Day weekend, the so-called “surge upon a surge” in COVID-19 cases has not materialized and, in fact, infection rates and hospitalizations from the disease have continued to decline.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Monday that 4,699 new confirmed and probable cases of the disease had been recorded over the previous 24 hours out of 86,454 tests performed. That brought the seven-day rolling average case positivity rate down to 7.5 percent, the lowest it has been since Oct. 31 and the second consecutive day that number has been below 8 percent.

The November COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ home has killed a 34th resident, the facility reported Friday — just as attorneys for four families of dead residents announced forthcoming lawsuits against the state.