Coronavirus Information Center

Fraternity Suspended For Violating In-Person Activities Ban

March 31 — Southern Illinois University has suspended the Delta Chi fraternity for violating the chancellor’s order banning in-person activities to slow the spread of COVID-19. Carbondale police over the past weekend responded to a house party hosted by Delta Chi which violated an administrative directive issued March 27 by interim Chancellor John Dunn and dean of students Jennifer Johns-Hall. The directive ordered compliance with Illinois Department of Public Health protocols requiring state residents to stay home except for essential trips for groceries or medicine. Gatherings of 10 or more people are also banned.  – Associated Press

Help On The Way For Illinois’ Rural Hospitals

March 31 – The federal aid package approved to address the new coronavirus will provide some financial support for Illinois’ rural hospitals. Those hospitals serve many elderly and Medicare recipients. Pat Schou leads the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network, a group of 51 hospitals. She says those hospitals  lost much of their revenue when they stopped elective and non-emergency procedures in preparation for a surge in patients sick with COVID-19.  Schou says the federal government is offering advanced Medicare payments and small business loans, as well as relaxing rules on telemedicine so hospitals can still get paid for visits doctors are doing over the phone or internet. – Mary Hansen, NPR Illinois

Trump Says ‘Life And Death’ At Stake In Following Guidelines

March 31 11:22 p.m.  — President Donald Trump is urging Americans to heed his administration’s guidelines for responding to the coronavirus pandemic, calling it “a matter of life and death.” The president’s warning on Wednesday came with new projections that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. even if social distancing guidelines are maintained. Public health officials stressed that the number could be less if people bear down on keeping their distance from one another. The coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, says officials believe the nation can do much better than the grim forecast if everyone takes seriously their role in preventing the spread of disease. – Associated Press

Champaign County Reports 5 New COVID-19 Cases

Champaign County building Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

March 31 5:58 p.m. — Health officials in Champaign County announced five new local cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, for a total of 29 confirmed cases. The newest cases are three men, with ages in their 30s, 50s and 80s, and two women, with ages in their 40s and 50s. The numbers are compiled by healthcare organizations under the leadership of the Champaign County Emergency Operations Center. Officials say COVID-19 is spreading by community transmission in Champaign County, infecting people who may not know how or where they were infected.  – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois Governor Extends Stay-At-Home Order to April 30

March 31 2:50 p.m. — Illinois’ governor has extended his statewide stay-at-home order for three weeks as the nation struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday set a new deadline of April 30 for keeping people inside except for essential needs and jobs. So far, the state has reported more than 5,000 infections and 73 deaths from the coronavirus.  Pritzker initially closed schools and restaurants and bars on March 13, then issued the stay-at-home order a week later. The period was to end April 7, but experts have said the rising number of cases in Illinois won’t have reached its peak by then. – Associated Press

Illinois Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Grow To Nearly 6,000

March 31 2:42 p.m. – On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 937 new cases of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, bringing the state’s total so far to 5,994. In addition, the death toll in Illinois stands at 99.   – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Vermilion County Reports First Virus Case

March 31 2:29 p.m. – Vermilion County reported its first COVID-19 case on Tuesday. The resident is in their 20s and is hospitalized in Champaign County.

More Illinois Hospitals Testing On Site, But Tests Still Limited

March 30 – Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana has joined a growing number of Illinois hospitals doing on-site testing for COVID-19. But testing at Carle, like many other hospitals, will remain limited to patients who qualify based on criteria set by state health officials. In mid-March, those criteria were broadened to include hospitalized patients with severe respiratory illness and people who live or work among vulnerable populations, including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, homeless shelters and correctional settings. Despite the restrictions in who can get tested, as hospital labs get equipped to do their own testing, it means there will be a reduced burden on state and commercial labs and a faster turnaround time for results. But limited testing supplies are preventing many labs from ramping up to perform more widespread testing, says Dr. Robert Healy, Carle’s chief quality officer. “The supplies are really the bottleneck,” Healy said in an interview on The 21st show. “So we’re working with the state, and with our vendors, to get as many supplies as we can.” Read the full story here.- Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

Dozen COVID-19 Cases Confirmed At Taylorville Senior Center

March 30 – In one of the first outbreaks at a senior center in downstate Illinois , 12 residents of the Rolling Meadows Senior Living apartment complex in Taylorville have COVID-19. Christian and Montgomery county emergency officials confirmed the cases via social media this week. Officials have placed all 22 residents on quarantine and have banned visitors until further notice. Barb Hailey is a spokesperson for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, which leases the building to residents. She says the spread of the virus there has been “ very trying.” Hailey says her company is reaching out to residents daily to help with things like groceries. Public health officials, meanwhile, are exploring whether anyone else in contact with the facility might have been exposed to the virus. Anyone who has visited the Rolling Meadows facility in Taylorville and experiences COVID-19 symptoms is encouraged to call either the Christian or Montgomery County health departments. – Sam Dunklau, NPR Illinois

Champaign County Coronavirus Cases Grow

March 30 – Local health officials announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Champaign County on Monday. The three are a man in his 80s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s. They bring the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Champaign County up to 24. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Macon County Doctor Diagnosed With COVID-19

March 30 – Memorial Health System says one of its physicians who works in Macon County has tested positive for COVID-19. Memorial Health operates Decatur Memorial Hospital in Macon County. But a statement from the healthcare provider said the physician had no contact with the hospital and worked only in an outpatient setting. The physician had traveled to an area where CVOID-19 is now widespread, and is self-isolating at home after developing symptoms. A spokesman for Memorial Health Systems could not say if the physician was counted among the first two COVID-19 cases in Macon County that were announced last Friday. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Top 5,000

March 30 3:00 p.m. – On Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 461 new cases of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, bringing the state’s total so far to 5,057. In addition, the death toll in Illinois stands at 75. A rising concern is the state’s correctional facilities. IDPH says 12 incarcerated men at the Stateville facility are now hospitalized. 77 more prisoners with symptoms are now isolated. Eleven staff members are also in isolation. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email  – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois State Board Of Education Orders Schools To Begin Remote Learning

March 29 3:37 p.m. – The Illinois State Board of Education announced late last week that remote learning days will start for students across the state Tuesday, March 31 and will continue until in-person classes resume. These days are counted as school days and do not need to be made up at the end of year. Read the full story here. – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

Champaign Unit 4 To Distribute Chromebooks To Families In Need

March 29 3:35 p.m. – Champaign Unit 4 school officials plan to distribute Chromebooks to students whose families do not have a device at home. In a message sent to families last week, Unit 4 Superintendent Susan Zola says the initial distribution of Chromebooks will be to families who do not have any additional devices in their home. Read the full story here. – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois Reports 1100+ New Cases Of COVD-19

March 29 3:10 p.m. – On Sunday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reproted 1,105 new cases of coronavirus disease, bringing the state total to 4,596. IDPH also reported 18 additional deaths. So far, the state death toll from COVID-19 is 65. The ages of the patients ranges from infancy to 99-years. Yesterday, the state reported the infant with COVID-19 has died. 47 counties are now affected. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

‘A Lot Of These Older Guys Are Gonna Die’: COVID-19 Hits Illinois Prisons

Illinois Infant With COVID-19 Dies, Cause of Death Unknown

Illinois Cases Near 3,500; Outbreak Spreads To 43 Counties

March 28 – IDPH reported 465 new cases of the coronavirus disease on Saturday. The total in the state stands at 3,491. For the first time, Carroll, Fayette and Macon counties are reporting new cases. The state also reported the deaths of 13 people, including an infant and people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Macon County Reports First Cases Of COVID-19; New Testing In Champaign County

March 27 7:40 p.m. – At a Friday night news conference, The Joint Crisis Communication Team in Macon County announced the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Macon County. One patient is a woman in her 50s. She is in stable condition at St. Mary’s Hospital according to officials. The second patient is a male in his 60s, who is being quarantined at home. Earlier today, Champaign County reported it has 11 COVID-19 patients. Also, Carle Foundation began on-site COVID-19 testing on Friday for approved patients. Testing is still limited at the guidance of state health officials. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Surgeon General: Chicago Among ‘Hot Spot’ Cities For Virus

City of Chicago, Illinois Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

March 27 5:53 p.m. – The U.S. surgeon general says Chicago is among a number of American cities identified as a “hot spot” for COVID-19 cases and that it will see numbers continue to rise. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on “CBS This Morning” on Friday that he is hopeful New York’s spike in cases will drop but he warned that Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans “will have a worse week next week.” Cases in the city and suburban Cook County account for about three-quarters of Illinois’ 3,026 positive tests and 20 of 34 deaths. – Associated Press


Illinois Coronavirus Cases Tops 3,000; Death Toll Now 34

March 27 2:42 p.m. – The Illinois Department of Public Health says there are now 3,026 cases of COVID-19, a growth of 488 cases from yesterday.  The death toll is now stands at 34. Cases are now in 40 counties. IDPH also released confirmed cases by race/ethnicity:

  • White: 39%
  • Black: 28%
  • Other: 20% 
  • Hispanic or Latino: 7%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Didn’t Identify: 9%

Bureau, Henry, and Iroquois counties are the newest counties to see cases. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Feds Concerned About Virus Spike In Cook County

March 26 6:03 p.m. – The White House coronavirus response coordinator says the task force is concerned about certain counties in the Midwest that appear to be seeing a rapid increase in cases. Dr. Deborah Birx listed two counties: Wayne County in Michigan and Cook County in Illinois. She said at Thursday’s White House briefing that the task force is not only looking at where the cases are today, but where they will be in the future so the Federal Emergency Management Agency can be alerted to where the next hotspots will be. Birx says the two counties both are in urban areas or in communities that serve an urban area. Chicago is the seat of Cook County, which is one of the most populous counties in the United States. Wayne County is outside Detroit. – Associated Press

Governor Tabs Obama Aide, His Sister, For COVID-19 Relief

March 26 5:15 p.m. – The Illinois governor has turned to a former member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet to raise money for those hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker says his sister, Penny Pritzker, is leading the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to assist nonprofit agencies battered by the pandemic. A Commerce secretary under Obama, Penny Pritzker took charge last week. She praised a bevy of cooperating businesses and organizations for $23 million already collected. J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K., have donated $4 million personally and through their family foundation. – Associated Press

President Trump Approves Disaster Declaration For Illinois

March 26 3:01 p.m. – On Thursday, President Donald J. Trump approved federal emergency aid for Illinois. It will help clear the way for federal funding and resources in the wake of the quick rise of the coronavirus disease in the state. The declaration will make federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected inviduals in Illinois. Funds will go to state, tribal, eligible local governments and certain nonprofit groups. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

University of Illinois Raises Student Health Insurance Premiums Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Illinois Coronavirus Cases Tops 2,500; Death Toll Now 26

March 25 2:50 p.m. – The Illinois Department of Public Health says there are now 2,538 cases of COVID-19, a growth of 673 cases from yesterday.  The death toll is now stands at 26. The newest deaths include a man in his 50’s, two men and two women in their 60s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s. Cases are now in 37 counties. IDPH also released confirmed cases by race/ethnicity:

  • White: 40%
  • Black: 28%
  • Other: 9% 
  • Hispanic or Latino: 7%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Didn’t Identify: 19%

Franklin and Tazewell counties are now the news counties to see cases. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Senate Passes Coronavirus Rescue Package On Unanimous Vote

March 25 10:49 p.m. – The Senate has passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic. The 883-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. The unanimous vote comes despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough. It caps days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced. The package is intended as relief for an economy spiraling into recession or worse and a nation facing a grim toll from an infection that’s killed nearly 20,000 people worldwide. – Associated Press

Illinois Delays Income Tax Deadline As Virus Cases Climb

March 25 4:21 p.m. – Illinois taxpayers will have until July 15 to file and pay their state income taxes because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the three-month delay Wednesday as officials reported an elderly resident has died at a suburban Chicago nursing home where dozens of people have been sickened by the coronavirus. The 90-year-old woman at Chateau Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook was one of 33 residents and 13 staffers who have contracted the virus. The state reported 330 newly confirmed coronavirus infections Wednesday, the largest one-day jump since the first case was reported Jan. 24. There have now been 1,865 cases reported.  – Associated Press

Champaign County Cases Grow

March 25 3:51 p.m. – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District announced Wednesday that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Champaign County has grown to eight. They did not release any other information about the patients. The district also says it currently has a sufficient supply of surgical masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). But it continues to seek donations in case supplies run low in the future. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois Coronavirus Cases Grow By 330; Prisoner & Officers Infected

March 25 3:00 p.m. – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported there are now 1,865 cases of COVID-19 in 35 counties.  The state says there have been 330 new cases since yesterday. There are also new deaths: a man in his 90s from Kane County; a man in his 60s from Cook County; and a woman in her 50s from Will County. In addition, the state reported two correctional officers and an inmate have tested positive for COVID-19 at Stateville Correctional Center. The two officers are recovering at home in isolation. The incarcerated person is recovering in isolation in the hospital. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Suburban Chicago Nursing Home Reports 1st Coronavirus Death

March 25 2:48 p.m. – Officials say an elderly resident has died at a suburban Chicago nursing home where dozens of people have been sickened by the coronavirus. The death of the 90-year-old woman at Chateau Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook was announced Tuesday. The woman was one of 33 residents and 13 staffers who have contracted the virus. A top official at the facility has denied a claim by a former nurse who said she quit because the facility lacked protective gear and cleaning supplies. The new coronavirus has caused a pandemic that has sickened more than 450,000 people and killed at least 20,000 worldwide. – Associated Press

Illinois Distillery Joining Coronavirus Response 

March 25 – A business that’s won acclaim for it Whiskey has joined the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The DeKalb based Whiskey Acres distillery is joining several distilleries around the state in doing its part to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The distillery received federal approval last week to use its still to produce hand sanitizer. Jamie Walter is one of the owners of Whiskey Acres. He says making the alcohol-based products won’t be a problem. Walter says Whiskey Acres should be able to produce 25-gallons a week. The majority of the sanitizer has been pledged to the Northwestern University hospitals in northern Illinois. – Dan O’Keefe, WNIJ News

MTD Bus Passengers In Champaign-Urbana Will Have Enter/Exit From Rear Doors

March 25 – Starting Wednesday, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) will only allow the entrance/exit of its buses from rear doors, according to a press release. The agency says the change is temporary and part of social distancing protections for passengers and bus drivers. People with mobility or vision impairments or accompanying with small children can continue to use the front doors of buses. The rides remain free to eliminate contact for fares and transfers. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Appointments Required For Blood Donations

March 25 – Community Blood Services of Illinois says it has seen a response to pleas for blood donors. However, to maintain appropriate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will now require blood donors to make appointments to donate blood. Click here for more information on how and where to donate. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Businesses Adapting To Physical Distance Order

March 25 12:00 a.m. – Governor J.B. Prizker’s coronavirus Stay-At-Home order is changing the landscape for Illinois businesses. One such business is Rogards, a century-old office equipment supplier in Champaign. President and CEO Tonya Horn says that to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, their delivery crews now carry plenty of hand sanitizer, and practice “no-contact” delivery techniques.  “You know, pretty much dropping things off at a front desk or in a foyer or at a delivery dock, things like that,” said Horn. “A lot of times we do some pretty extensive inside delivery. So we’ve cut back on that for right now.” Horn says if the current restrictions continue for more than a month, many small businesses like hers will be in trouble. And she would hope for a government grant, loan or payroll tax deduction to continue. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Olympics Delayed As US Nears A Deal On $2 Trillion In Relief

March 24 9:09 p.m. — The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until next year as deaths and infections from the coronavirus surge in Europe and the United States. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday that hospitals in America’s infection hot spot are about to get hit by a “bullet train.” Congress is closing in on a nearly $2 trillion deal to help businesses and ordinary Americans pull through the crisis. That led the Dow Jones Industrial Average to register its biggest percentage gain since the Depression. Around the globe, India ordered the biggest lockdown in the world, and Spain had so many bodies that it commandeered an ice rink to store them. – Associated Press

Virus Briefings Are The New Campaign Rallies For Trump

March 24 6:55 p.m. — The pandemic has put the kibosh on President Donald Trump’s signature campaign rallies, so he has a new daily ritual: the coronavirus briefing. The sessions lack the adoring crowds and “Lock her up!” chants of his political gatherings, but they include many of the same features as his now-on-ice mass rallies: They feature plenty of self-congratulation, grievance-airing, media bashing, tirades against his critics and a healthy dose of misleading information. That, combined with measured updates from public health officials, has created a sometimes bizarre and confusing split screen for people tuning in to cable news for updates on the outbreak. – Associated Press

Illinois Could Need 38K More Beds If Virus Isn’t Contained

March 24 6:55 p.m. – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois would need tens of thousands of additional hospital beds for COVID-19 patients within the next two weeks in a worst-case scenario amid a pandemic that has now claimed 16 lives in the state. The Democrat said at his daily briefing that the state would need almost 38,000 additional hospital beds, including more than 9,000 in intensive-care units, along with nearly 5,000 ventilators, if containment strategies aren’t successful. The administration is evaluating closed hospitals for temporary reuse and setting up triage centers outside existing hospitals to evaluate potential patients. – Associated Press

Advocates Demand Illinois Release Youth From Juvenile Detention Centers Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

March 24 – Advocates and correctional officials are calling on Illinois and other states across the country to release youth from juvenile detention facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are currently about 200 youth incarcerated in Illinois’ juvenile detention facilities. A recent report from the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University found that more than 90% of incarcerated youth have at least one mental health disorder diagnosis, and about two-thirds have multiple diagnoses. Read the full story here. – Lee Gaines, Illinois Newsroom

East-Central Illinois Health Care Providers Now Accepting Cloth Mask Donations

March 24 5:00 p.m. – Champaign County health care providers and public health officials say area facilities have received offers from volunteers interested in donating homemade cloth masks, according to a news release. Area facilities “currently have sufficient supply of surgical masks and other PPE and continue to follow guidelines for the safety of patients and staff,” the statement reads. But Champaign county facilities have created a way for community members to contribute cloth masks, because, while they don’t prevent COVID-19 and aren’t recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for use by the general public, they can help prevent the spread of germs when worn by people who are sick. For those who wish to make masks, area providers encourage people to follow the directions available in this video on YouTube and email when masks are ready for pickup, bundled in groups of 25 in ziplock bags. Read the full story here.  – Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

Illinois New Cases Top 1,500, One New Case In Champaign County

March 24 2:30 p.m. – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 250 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including four deaths; a Chicago resident in his 50s, two Cook County residents both in their 60s, and a DuPage County resident in her 90s. Grundy County is now reporting a case.  Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,535 cases in 32 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years. – IDPH Release

In addition, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health reported Tuesday that there’s one new case in Champaign County but no other details were given. Two other patients who are University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign employees were announced on March 21. They are in home isolation. The same with the first county resident diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Urbana Schools Employee Working To Support Latino Students

March 24 – With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Urbana School District is working to get information and resources to students in need. Some of those efforts are being led by Lucia Maldonado, the district’s Latino Parent Liaison, who says many Latino students and families in the Champaign-Urbana area are struggling from job losses due to COVID-19. Additionally, the district has more than 30 students who are unaccompanied minors, who’ve fled violence in their home countries. Many of them had been working nights and weekends to pay bills but have been laid off from their restaurant jobs in recent days. Maldonado spoke with Illinois Newsroom about the district’s efforts to help students and their families during this time. Listen to the full interview and find more information on how to donate food and books for Urbana students here. – Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

Pritzker Works With Manufacturers To Boost Medical Supply Orders

March 23 – Governor J.B. Pritzker in his daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday says he has  linked together the state’s manufacturers and biotech industries to boost production of medical supplies. Manufacturers in both industries were asked to focus production on essentials such as N95 masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators and sanitizer. Pritzker says as the federal government has failed to provide needed medical items, his staff has been trying to work out deals with companies throughout the world. Meanwhile, Pritzker said he had spoken to President Donald J. Trump on Monday to get more federal help in supplying states with essential equipment. – Maureen McKinney, NPR Illinois

Food Bank Donations Down But Demand Increasing

March 23 – The coronavirus pandemic is affecting food banks across Illinois. Many have seen a decline in volunteers and donations, even as the number of food-insecure people increases due to lost jobs. That’s according to Molly Delaney, Vice President of Development for the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Speaking on WILL’s The 21st show, she says food pantries are doing all they can to meet the increased need. “With a few exceptions, our network of 170 partner agencies and programs remain open and continue to serve,” said Delaney. “At this point, we’re continuing to function. One of the difficult things is that communication, making sure we are getting all the information out as quickly and accurately as we can.” Delaney says anyone in need of food at this time should call their local food pantry ahead of time to confirm hours of operation. The organization Feeding America estimates more than 1.3 million people in Illinois struggle with hunger. Roughly a third of them are children. Click here for a complete list of food banks, animal shelters and other organizations where you can donate.Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

USA Gymnastics To Ask For Olympic Postponement

March 23 4:49 p.m. – USA Gymnastics is joining the growing chorus of sports governing bodies asking for the 2020 Olympics to be delayed. The organization says a majority of senior national team members indicated in an anonymous survey that they were in favor of the games being pushed back. The International Olympics Committee is considering postponing the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic. USA Gymnastics President Li Li Leung says the organization would not specify how long of a delay it is asking for but added that most respondents were pushing for a year. Leung says the respondents’ biggest concerns centered around the health and safety of the world in general. They also were worried about the inability to train properly. Gyms in some states have been shuttered as part of a lockdown designed to help slow the spread of the virus. – Associated Press

Italy’s 1st Known Virus Patient Leaves Hospital

March 23 4:37 p.m. – The man known in Italy as Patient No. 1 in the country’s devastating outbreak of the coronavirus is out of the hospital a month after he arrived in critically ill condition. Authorities in Italy’s hardest hit region of Lombardy played an audio message recorded by the 38-year-old man in which he says, “You can get cured of this illness.” The man is awaiting the birth of a child within days. Last week, Italian media reported the death of his father, who lived in one of the first towns in Lombardy that were at the heart of the outbreak’s start. – Associated Press

Chicago Reserving Hotels For Isolation Or Quarantine Needs

City of Chicago, Illinois Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

March 23 4:20 p.m. — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city plans to reserve thousands of hotel rooms for people with mild cases of the coronavirus and others unable to return to their homes while awaiting test results. Lightfoot announced Monday that the city has partnered with five hotels and will have 1,000 rooms available by Tuesday. Chicago officials describe the plan as a proactive measure to keep hospital beds available for people with severe symptoms. Illinois officials have reported 1,285 cases as of Monday and 12 deaths; that’s up from 1,049 cases and nine deaths on Sunday. – Associated Press

Illinois Cases Grow To 1,285 

March 23 2:45 p.m. – During the daily state briefing, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced there were 236 new cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois. The total now stands at 1,285. She also announced three more patients have died bringing the death toll to 12 in Illinois.  31 counties are now affected by the outbreak. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Grocery Stores Looking For Workers As Others Begin Layoffs

March 22 – Many grocery stores in Illinois are in a hiring frenzy as they struggle to keep their shelves stocked, their stores clean and their workers healthy amid the COVID-19 response. Kroger stores have said they can put applicants on the job within days and will pay up to two weeks if an employee contracts COVID-19 or is forced to quarantine. Meijer is hiring to help meet increased demand for its delivery and pickup services. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club say they are providing bonuses to hourly staff. Wal-Mart says it is hiring 150,000 workers nationwide. Jewel-Osco said it has 3,000 job openings for part-time in-store employees, delivery drivers and workers in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. – Eric Stock, WGLT News

Dental Society Recommends Medical Donations

March 22 – The Illinois State Dental Society has recommended that its doctors keep their offices closed except to perform emergency services. The guidelines are intended to protect both dentists and patients, says Dental Society spokeswoman, Dr. Alice Boghosian. She practices in suburban Park Ridge. “Under no circumstances would I, as a patient, visit a dentist for a routine procedure feel that it’s critical that we make the public aware that it is not a good idea,’ said Boghosian. Emergency services that would be provided include severe pain, uncontrollable bleeding, extreme swelling that impedes breathing, infection or trauma such as a fall causing the loss of a tooth. – Maureen McKinney, NPR Illinois

Many Caterpillar Workers To Work From Home

March 22 – Thousands of Caterpillar workers will continue heading to work classified as essential employees under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive stay-at-home order meant to control the spread of COVID-19. A Caterpillar spokeswoman said via e-mail Sunday that the earth moving giant’s Illinois facilities will continue to operate while adhering to Pritzker’s executive order. She says employee health, safety, and well-being remain a “top priority.” The governor’s executive order exempts many types of businesses, including those considered vital to continuing to keep the supply chain flowing. – Tim Shelley, Peoria Public Radio

As Crisis Deepens, Congressional Rescue Deal Teeters

March 22 6:59 p.m. — Top-level negotiations between Congress and the White House are teetering on a nearly $1.4 trillion economic rescue package as the coronavirus pandemic deepens. Just as President Donald Trump took to the podium in the White House briefing room, the Senate was turning back the aid package on a procedural vote. But negotiations are continuing on Capitol Hill. Trump is telling the country that “we’re enduring a great national trial and we will prove that we can meet the moment.” The president says at the briefing that “we’re at war.” The first senator, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, announced he tested positive for the coronavirus. Five senators were in self-quarantine Sunday evening. – Associated Press

Illinois COVID-19 Cases Top 1000

March 22 6:10 p.m. – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 296 new cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois. The number of cases now stands at 1,049 in 30 counties.  There are also three new deaths: a Cook County man in his 80s, a Chicago man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s from McLean County. The youngest patient in the state is an infant (younger than one). The oldest is 99-years-old. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Health Director Asks For Medical Equipment Donations; Hold On Non-Essential Surgeries

March 21 4:05 p.m. – The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngoze Ezeke urged a temporary stop to  non-essential and elective surgeries. She asks those medical providers to donate the extra gloves, masks and other protective equipment, as there is a shortage for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. Ezike says this gear is important in stopping the spread of the virus, and the state can’t afford for members on the front line to become sick. “The availability of critical resources such as gloves, gowns, eye protections and N-95 respirator masks is essential,” said Ezike. Officials say Illinois has not received the promised help from the federal government. – Mary Hansen, NPR Illinois

Champaign County Virus Cases Grow To 3; IL Cases Now 753

March 21 4:00 p.m. – The state of Illinois reported dozens of new COVID-19 cases, including two more in Champaign County and the first involving members of the University of Illinois System. On Saturday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 168 new cases of coronavirus. The total in the state stands at 753 cases, including people who have made full recoveries.  26 counties have been affected. For the first time since Sunday, there are two new cases to report in Champaign County. In a release, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health said two men, one in his 30s and another in 50s, are now in-home isolation and recovering. Click here for the entire story. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

US Locking Down 70 Million People As Virus Strains Europe

March 21 12:20 a.m. – As a virus pandemic strains European health systems, three major U.S. states are locking down their residents in a bid to prevent the same thing happening to them. California is restricting people to their homes, and Illinois and New York are primed to follow suit this weekend. The new coronavirus has advanced farther in Europe Hospitals wards are overflowing in Spain and Italy, and Britain has asked 65,000 retired nurses and doctors to return to work. The outbreak has moderated in Asia, with the concern shifting to preventing its return. China has identified dozens of new cases in people arriving from overseas. – Associated Press

Congress Toils On $1 Trillion Rescue, Trump Unleashes Fury

March 21 12:20 a.m. — Negotiators from Congress and the White House, narrowing differences on a sweeping $1 trillion-plus economic rescue package, were set to resume top-level talks Saturday after President Donald Trump unleashed fury on those questioning his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. When one reporter asked Trump what he would tell a worried nation, the president snapped, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter.” Lawmakers were toiling late on Capitol Hill on the aid package, with the goal of passage by Monday. Republicans want to pump billions into $1,200 in direct checks for Americans and billions for small businesses. Democrats say it’s insufficient, pushing for a “Marshall Plan” for hospitals and healthcare providers.  – Associated Press

China, On Virus PR Offensive, Sends Masks And Experts Abroad

March 21 12:03 a.m. — As the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic moves outside Asia, China’s ruling Communist Party has gone from being on the defensive to a public relations offensive. It has given $20 million to the World Health Organization, offered badly needed medical supplies to dozens of countries from Italy to South Africa and dispatched experts to advise on how to bring the disease under control. The humanitarian gestures are part of an effort by the Communist Party to reshape the narrative from one of early missteps in a country overwhelmed by the outbreak to one that acted decisively to bring it under control. – Associated Press

Trump vs Fauci: President And Doctor Spar Over Unproven Drug

March 21 11:48 p.m. — Who do people believe when it comes to the virus outbreak? President Donald Trump and the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, publicly sparred Friday over whether a malaria drug would work to treat people with coronavirus disease. It was an extraordinary exchange on national television, from the podium at the White House briefing room. Trump is optimistic that a drug now used for malaria can also be effective against the coronavirus. Fauci, who has spent his career working on infectious diseases from HIV to coronavirus, said only scientific study can show that the malaria drug is safe and effective against COVID-19. – Associated Press

Illinois Newsroom

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WILL and the Illinois Newsroom are committed to bringing you in-depth, relevant coverage that keeps you informed and engages you with our community and our state. Join with thousands of others to keep this important public media-based resource available to all.