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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

With Potential Vaccine Approval Looming, Pritzker Warns of Long Distribution Process

Dec 4, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Health officials gave an update on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine plan Friday with potential federal approval anticipated as early as next week.

Gov. JB Pritzker said the state still expects to get 109,000 doses initially to be distributed in the 50 counties with the highest per capita death rates, but it will be several months until there is an adequate number of vaccinations available for the general population.

As COVID-19 Claims Another 192, Officials Call for Blood Donations

Dec 3, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

As the COVID-19 death toll continues to mount, Gov. JB Pritzker and an official from the American Red Cross urged Illinoisans to donate blood to support the state’s health care infrastructure.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, ethanol producers feared the worst: a world indefinitely stuck at home. As Americans hunkered down for lockdowns, gasoline demand across the country plummeted.

Ethanol industry leaders issued warnings that the financial repercussions of widespread lockdowns could be significant to plants across the country. They later reported half of the nation’s facilities were forced to shut down.

Illinois Sees Highest Single-Day COVID-19 Death Toll

Dec 2, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Illinois marked what Gov. JB Pritzker called “a solemn milestone” Wednesday when public health officials announced 238 deaths from COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, by far the highest single-day fatality number since the pandemic began.

Although part of that number may have been attributable to reporting delays caused by the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Pritzker said the rising number of new cases and hospitalizations indicated that the state is still in the middle of an infection surge.

Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen

The Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen began during the COVID-19 pandemic as local restaurant owners looked for ways to keep their businesses afloat and feed those in the community experience food insecurity.

Health Systems Prepare For COVID Vaccine

Dec 2, 2020

As COVID cases continue to surge, local healthcare organizations are already looking ahead to vaccine distribution.

Southern Illinois Healthcare’s weekly briefing included updates on treatments, vaccines and COVID surges. While SIH has ICU bed available, Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Harre said they are at capacity due to staffing constraints.

“As far as the number of staff, that number of staff that’s out continues to be pretty consistent, and that ranges from 40 to 50 nurses that are out with illness or COVID positive,” she said.


More than 4,500 offenders in Illinois run correctional facilities have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

One of the lowest totals is at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center, where just four inmates have tested positive.

Governor: Those Who Traveled for Thanksgiving Should Quarantine, Get Tested for COVID-19

Dec 1, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Another 125 people who tested positive for COVID-19 were reported to have died in the previous 24 hours Tuesday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, bringing the death toll to 12,403 since the pandemic began.

UPDATED: Despite Positive Signs, Pritzker Warns of Another COVID-19 Surge

Nov 30, 2020

Despite some slight improvement in key public health metrics over the past week, Gov. JB Pritzker said he has no immediate plans to roll back COVID-19 mitigation efforts as he warned of a possible post-Thanksgiving surge.

Loopholes Saddle Some with Surprise Bills for COVID Tests

Nov 30, 2020

With or without insurance, some residents are receiving surprise medical bills for fees related to COVID-19 testing.

Legal experts say those bills should be contested and explain why loopholes in the law could result in expensive bills.

Lawmakers Seek Additional Hearings into LaSalle Veterans’ Home Outbreak

Nov 30, 2020

Republican lawmakers on Monday renewed calls for a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing into the cause of a coronavirus outbreak at the state-run veterans home in LaSalle where about 20 percent of the residents have died of COVID-19 related illnesses.

COVID-19 Claims 446 Lives Over Holiday Weekend; Hospitalization Rates Edge Downward

Nov 30, 2020
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed 446 lives in Illinois over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend while the rate of hospitalizations declined for the first time since the recent surge began in late September.

bijoubeadboutique/Pixabay (CC0)

During the first three months of the pandemic, the number of U.S. adults dying increased compared to previous years, according to a recent study led by University of Illinois researchers involving data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

InFocus Host Julie Staley

2020 has proven to be altogether different. Journey across the region to learn how local government, charitable organizations, and community groups are responding to the changing needs of their communities. In this episode, InFocus talks with members of the business community to learn what the public can do to support the local economy; follow episode host Julie Staley to the Illinois State Museum to learn about their plans for taking history virtual.

Health leaders are concerned large gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday will be COVID super spreader events.

Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says one of the first signs if that comes true is looking for a spike in COVID cases one to two weeks following the holiday.

Small Social Gatherings Tips
Illinois Department Of Public Safety / Illinois Department Of Public Safety

COVID-19 cases are on the rise and states have implemented migration measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Health experts are recommending that everyone should get a flu shot two weeks before visiting friends and family during the holidays.

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.

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.