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217 Today — Nov. 20, 2020

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Friday November 20, 2020

Today’s headlines:

  • Governor JB Pritzker yesterday called on longtime Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan to resign if he won’t appear in public and answer questions about a bribery scheme.

  • Illinois state health officials are continuing to urge residents to stay home for the holidays and avoid large indoor gatherings of any kind. They announced more than 1,400 additional COVID-19 cases today, along with 168 more deaths.

  • Champaign County health officials announced 140 new cases yesterday. There are more than 1,200 active cases in the county and 16 people are hospitalized. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate, excluding University of Illinois tests, is 9.6%.

  • The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating a complaint alleging that Jewish and pro-Israel students on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus have faced a hostile environment of anti-Semitism and that the university’s response was inadequate.

In today’s deep dive, as the fall semester comes to a close on the University of Illinois Urbana campus, we’ll find out what lessons officials have learned reopening the campus during a pandemic.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Meisel, Lee Gaines, and Christine Herman.


Thursday November 19, 2020

Today’s headlines:

  • Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s longtime confidante is facing federal corruption charges.

  • COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in Illinois as the state sinks deeper into the second wave of the pandemic.

  • Champaign County reported 225 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. There are nearly 1.600 active cases in the county, up from 772 on Monday. Officials reported one additional death, pushing Champaign County’s total to 41.

  • Macon County health officials reported two more deaths from COVID-19 yesterday and 132 new cases.

  • In Vermilion County, officials announced the 29th COVID-related death, a person in their 60s. They announced 61 new positive cases, and the number of active cases increased slightly to 261.

In today’s deep dive, Carle’s five central Illinois hospitals are seeing a rise in COVID-19 patients in recent weeks. Carle recently launched a program aimed at freeing up hospital beds –by providing virtual monitoring to COVID-positive patients safely at home. We learn more about that program from Christine Herman.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Dave McKinney, Mary Hansen, and Christine Herman.


Wednesday November 18, 2020

Today’s headlines:

  • For the past week, there have been more Illinoisans hospitalized with coronavirus than there were when the state experienced its first COVID-19 peak in the spring. As a result, Governor JB Pritzker announced increased restrictions on businesses throughout the state.

  • Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Water Act applies to groundwater contamination – which can leak into waterways like lakes or rivers. Environmental groups are fighting to define how that ruling applies to Illinois rivers.

  • Decatur Public School officials announced yesterday that they will follow guidance from the Macon County Health Department and have students learn virtually through at least January 15th.

In today’s deep dive, the continued stress from COVID-19 has heightened mental health problems nationwide. Some experts say that has led to an increase in drug overdoses.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Meisel, Lecia Bushak, and Darian Benson.


Tuesday November 17, 2020

Today’s headlines:

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health reported more than 11,600 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, and 37 additional deaths from the virus. 

  • The Macon County Public Health Department has recommended that schools switch to remote learning through at least January 15th. Macon County Public Health Administrator Brandi Binkley made the announcement during a press conference yesterday evening.

  • Governor JB Prizker says the state will first look at budget cuts to help fill a $5 billion hole in the state budget. He says only after cuts will he consider any additional taxes. 

In today’s deep dive, the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for small farmers to find places to butcher their meat. We’ll hear about one state’s efforts to break the logjam by helping small meatpacking operations increase capacity.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Hannah Meisel, Lee Gaines, and Jonathan Ahl.


Monday November 16, 2020

Today’s headlines: 

  • Governor J.B. Pritzker says he cannot guarantee that Illinois will have enough hospital beds as the pandemic surges.

  • A group of grad students at the University of Illinois has identified more than two dozen mutations in the novel coronavirus.

  • Macon County announced that six more people died due to COVID-19 over the weekend –all of whom were in their 70s and 80s.Health officials also reported 244 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend.

In today’s deep dive, we hear how voters rejecting the graduated income tax amendment earlier this month could affect funding for K-12 schools in Illinois.

217 Today is produced by Olivia Butts and hosted by Brian Moline. Reporting today contributed by Maureen McKinney, Christine Herman, and Lee Gaines.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda

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