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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

Leaders Optimistic with Moderna Vaccine on Horizon

Dec 18, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that more than 17,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccine have been administered to Illinois frontline health care workers outside of Chicago, up from 3,500 doses on Thursday.

Pritzker said Illinois hospitals could begin to receive shipments of a second COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the drug company Moderna, as early as next week. That announcement comes one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee recommended the use of the Moderna vaccine in people ages 18 and older. The FDA is expected to grant Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna vaccine.

Vaccine Doses Sent to 77 Hospitals Statewide

Dec 17, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Coronavirus vaccinations from the state’s National Strategic Stockpile were delivered Thursday to 77 hospitals in 45 counties throughout the state, Gov. JB Pritzker announced at his daily briefing.

Pritzker said the state first’s vaccine shipment totaled 109,000 doses — which includes 23,000 to the city of Chicago and 86,000 for the rest of Illinois.

Even As COVID-19 Surges, Misinformation Persists

Dec 17, 2020

COVID-19 vaccines could one day end the pandemic. But at the moment, cases — and deaths — continue to rise. So does misinformation about the disease.

One comment often seen on social media is that deaths are being attributed to COVID even when the patient died of something else. Dr. Sonal Shah, a hospitalist at Southern Illinois Healthcare, says some of that confusion may come from death certificates having two fields. 

The Capitol Building
Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

A panel of experts advising the Food and Drug Administration weighs the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna in a daylong public meeting. A committee vote will guide the FDA's decision about authorizing the vaccine for emergency use during the pandemic. The hearing will begin at 8 a.m. CST.

IDVA Officials say COVID-19 Outbreak Slowing at LaSalle Veterans’ Home

Dec 16, 2020

Infection control efforts at the LaSalle Veterans' Home have curbed the spread of the coronavirus since a deadly outbreak began at the facility last month, according to officials who testified Wednesday before a House committee investigating the matter.

That outbreak has caused at least 33 resident deaths, the latest of which was reported early last week.

State’s Expected Vaccine Shipments Halved for Next Two Weeks, Pritzker Says

Dec 16, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state has been advised it will receive roughly half of the shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations that it originally expected from the federal government for the next two weeks, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday.

Next week’s national shipment was originally slated to include approximately 8 million vaccine doses but is now expected to include only 4.3 million. The following week’s shipment was to include 8.8 million doses but was reduced to 4.3 million as well. Because the vaccine is being distributed on a population basis, each state will have their doses cut proportionally, Pritzker said.

Pritzker Orders More Than $700 Million in Spending Cuts

Dec 15, 2020

Gov. JB Pritzker announced more than $700 million in spending cuts on Tuesday, calling it a “first step” in closing a $3.9 billion revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year’s budget.

Area Hospitals Prepare For First Round Of COVID Vaccines

Dec 15, 2020
Pete_Linforth / Pixabay

Area hospitals are getting their first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines this week.

The amount of vaccine varies by location, and only portion of the staff will receive vaccines to start. Chester Memorial Hospital expects to receive enough to vaccinate around half their staff.


Five health care workers at a hospital in Peoria became the first people in Illinois to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, marking what Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike called “the beginning of the end” of the pandemic.

State of Illinois

The Illinois Vaccine Advisory Work Group has unanimously signed off on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine that starting arriving in the state on Monday.


Illinois received its first shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

Governor J-B Pritzker says it's roughly half of the 86-thousand doses to be distributed outside the City of Chicago.

What to Know as Illinois Receives First COVID-19 Vaccines

Dec 14, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration arrived in Illinois Monday, but officials said there’s still a need for social distancing, face coverings and other mitigations as a full rollout could take months.

While Gov. JB Pritzker hailed distribution of the vaccine, manufactured by the drug company Pfizer, as the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic, many questions are still unanswerable as to the timeline of distribution for future shipments and that of a second potential vaccine.


Capitol News Illinois · December 11 Week in Review

Gov. JB Pritzker said the state continues to make gradual progress in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 and the state’s public health director said she plans to receive a virus vaccine when it is her turn in line.

They made the comments during a daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago on Thursday, the same day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was set to consider emergency approval of a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the drug company Pfizer.

COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 14,000

Dec 11, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The COVID-19 death toll surpassed 14,000 on Friday as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 190 additional deaths in people from their 20s to over 100 years of age.

Gov. JB Pritzker took questions on the state’s response to outbreaks at state-run veterans homes and about the impending approval of a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the drug company Pfizer.

Franklin County Handing Out Free Face Masks

Dec 11, 2020
TinaDemianchuk / Pixabay

Franklin County is giving away 20,000 free face masks.

The Franklin County Emergency Management Agency is handing the cloth masks out to Franklin County residents to help combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The masks will be provided in packs of five.

The following are distribution sites for the county:

National Guard Sent to Help Staff at LaSalle, Two Other Veterans Homes

Dec 11, 2020

Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday his administration has requested the help of the Illinois National Guard at three of four state-run veterans homes, including two homes that are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Pritzker said the National Guard members were sent to the LaSalle Veterans’ Home on Thursday, and will arrive on Monday at state-run homes in Quincy and Manteno to provide “staff support for screening and handling testing data tracking so that medical staff can focus on direct patient support.”

OSF HealthCare

The phrase “emergency use authorization” is becoming part of our talk about COVID-19 vaccines that are awaiting final government approval for distribution. But, what constitutes emergency use?

Officials urge COVID-19 Caution amid backdrop of modest progress

Dec 10, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker said the state continues to make gradual progress in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 and the state’s public health director said she plans to receive a virus vaccine when it is her turn in line.

They made the comments during a daily COVID-19 briefing in Chicago on Thursday, the same day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was set to consider emergency approval of a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the drug company Pfizer.

Illinois On Track to Meet Deadline for Spending CARES Act Funds

Dec 10, 2020

The head of Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget office said this week that the state of Illinois is on track to spend all of the money it received through the federal CARES Act by the Dec. 30 deadline.

That means it is unlikely the state will have to repay any of the funds to the federal government, but whether or not Congress approves any additional funding remains an open question.

SIU Salukis

To help offset a projected $2 million loss in revenue during the pandemic, the SIU-Carbondale athletics department is launching the Saluki Athletics COVID-19 Relief Fund to help the athletics department navigate the financial ramifications of the public health crisis.

Pritzker Touts Importance of National Testing Strategy

Dec 9, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

While COVID-19 infection rates continued to decrease Wednesday, the number of people hospitalized for the disease increased to its highest mark since last Friday.

Gov. JB Pritzker noted the importance of testing in suppressing virus positivity rates and targeting actions for mitigating spread. He was joined by Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which is coordinating a national COVID-19 testing action plan.

Drug manufacturers have released promising early results for their COVID-19 vaccines, but skepticism among Americans remains high -- especially for African Americans, who the virus has hit harder than other groups.

Pritzker Touts Promising Vaccine Data

Dec 8, 2020

As COVID-19 infection rates continued to fall Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the first delivery of a vaccine could arrive in Illinois as early as next week, although it could take several months before it is widely available to the general public.

Illinois leaders continue to add to their COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan once doses become available to the general public.

State Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says it will be an All-In Illinois effort.

The White House
Annette Elizabeth / NPR

President Trump is speaking at a summit about efforts to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine. Watch his remarks and others in the administration live at approx. 2 p.m. CST.

Biden Transition
Caroline Amenabar | NPR

President-elect Joe Biden is formally announcing his pick for health secretary and other key health positions after releasing their names on Monday.

Watch their introductions live at 12:40 p.m. CST.

Pritzker says State ‘Long Way’ From Exiting COVID-19 ‘Danger Zone’

Dec 7, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

As infection rates and hospitalizations from COVID-19 continued to level off during the first week of December, death tolls continued to rise, prompting Gov. JB Pritzker to warn Monday that Illinois is not yet out of the danger zone and that the next four weeks could be the most crucial of the pandemic.


The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced Monday that LaSalle Veterans’ Home Administrator Angela Mehlbrech has been fired after a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle facility has resulted in at least 32 resident deaths. 

IDVA also announced that the director of nursing at the LaSalle facility, Jackie Cook, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the acting inspector general of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

House Civil Judiciary Committee Opens Inquiry into LaSalle Veterans’ Home Deaths

Dec 7, 2020
Capitol News Illinois file photo by Peter Hancock

A coronavirus outbreak at the veterans home in LaSalle that has killed a quarter of the residents over the span of a few weeks has prompted the chairman of a state House committee to open an investigation into the deaths.

Governor J-B Pritzker provided more details Friday on Illinois' vaccine distribution plan.

Pritzker says the first round will go to healthcare workers and long-term care residents, known as Phase 1A.