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News Around Illinois – April 3, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Suit Seeks Illinois Inmates’ Release Due To Coronavirus

CHICAGO — A new federal lawsuit seeks an court order directing state officials “to drastically reduce Illinois’s prison population” on grounds that hundreds of inmates are particularly vulnerable to catching and dying from the coronavirus. The lawsuit filed Thursday in Chicago names ten inmates but seeks class-action status to represent older prisoners and those with underlying health conditions. The filing says that poor medical care and a lack of protective measures behind bars make the COVID-19 virus especially deadly. The lawsuit asks for the court to order the immediate medical furlough for some prisoners and the transfer to home detention of others. Meanwhile, Illinois reported about 7,700 cases statewide and 157 deaths.  – Associated Press

Unemployment Up Again, Illinois Receives 178K Initial Claims

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois continued to share in the nation’s economic pain wrought by COVID-19 with 178,421 unemployment claims filed last week.The 56% jump, from 114,114 a week earlier, was part of a record 6.65 million first-time claims submitted nationally.The malicious spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus is the main factor in Illinois. The primary preventive measure, social distancing, prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to shut down “non-essential” businesses, starting with bars and restaurants, on March 21, putting tens of thousands of people out of work. – Associated Press

Pritzker Announces Fourth Temporary Hospital To Treat COVID-19 Patients

CHICAGO – Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a fourth alternative field hospital location to treat patients of COVID-19. The facility is in a community in Cook County, where the majority of cases have already occurred. The governor says it’ll be able to house up to 230 patients, which would help ease the burden on existing medical centers for the time being. – Mike Smith, NPR Illinois

University of Illinois Says Summer Classes Will Be Remote

URBANA – Officials on the University of Illinois Urbana campus announced Thursday that all summer 2020 classes will be taught remotely. In a mass email to students, faculty and staff, chancellor Robert Jones and provost Andreas Cangellaris said they made the decision based on guidance from local and state health officials because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Registration for summer classes opens on April 20. – Brian Moline, Illinois Newsroom

Marijuana Sales Steady In March

CHAMPAIGN – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported Thursday that statewide adult-use cannabis sales in March totaled $35,902,543.22. Taxes are not a part of the reported amounts. Legal cannabis sales began in January. The businesses are considered ‘essential’ and remain open under Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Stay-at-home order that began in March and continues until April 30. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Mayor Taps Ex-Dallas Chief To Head Chicago Police Force

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she has selected former Dallas police Chief David Brown to be the next police superintendent in the nation’s third-largest city. Lightfoot introduced Brown during a Thursday afternoon news conference. Brown has more than 30 years in law enforcement and was the police chief in Dallas before his 2016 retirement. The announcement comes a day after the city’s police board named him as one of three finalists for the job and hours after Lightfoot announced that a member of the force had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. – Associated Press

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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