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News Around Illinois – March 11, 2020

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Illinois COVID-19 Cases Increase To 19

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CHICAGO – State officials say Illinois now has 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The state identified eight new cases since yesterday afternoon – including a teenager from McHenry County. Dr. Ngozi Ezike is the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “Yes I know people will be concerned that they see a youth in this new identification of cases,” said Ezike. “Although we do have younger individuals The virus appears to show more severe illness in older adults.” Ezike says people older than 60 should limit their activities with other people, especially large indoor events. She says people should be prepared for the virus to start spreading more widely in Illinois. – Patrick Smith, WBEZ News  

School  Districts Preparing For Extended Closings 

McLEAN COUNTY – School districts that have run digital learning days during weather emergencies may be better prepared for extended closings from the coronavirus. But McLean County educators say prolonged e-learning poses its own challenges. Olympia superintendent Andrew Wise says e-learning has worked well, except for the 10 percent of students who lack reliable internet at home. Wise says he’s not sure the district has enough wifi cards for everyone. Unit 5 in Normal does not have any e-learning program and must now develop one. Bloomington School District 87 superintendent Barry Reilly says schools must now develop long-term lesson plans for online classes.  – Charlie Schlenker, WGLT News

Lawmakers Deciding If Childcare Can Be Paid By Campaign Funds

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly is considering whether to allow money raised for political campaigns to be used for childcare. State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) co-chaired the state’s Anti-Harassment, Equality, and Access Panel. She says she thinks it’s already legal to pay for childcare with campaign funds but that fact is not widely known. “Women didn’t run for office many times because they have childcare expenses and were not able to cover those expenses, and therefore many of them didn’t run for office,” said Bush. A spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections says there’s never been a complaint about the practice. He says the board has been asked about childcare in the past, and always said it was okay citing a law that lets officeholders use campaign money to cover “customary and reasonable expenses.” – Brian Mackey, Illinois Newsroom

Proposed Law Named For Ex-Inmate Limits Isolation In Prisons

CHICAGO (AP) — A man’s decades-long stay in isolation in an Illinois prison has prompted proposed legislation that would limit how long a prisoner can stay in solitary confinement. Called the Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Restriction Act, the legislation would bar the Illinois Department of Corrections from placing an inmate in isolation for more than 10 days in a six-month period. Corrections would also be required to give isolated inmates access to therapy. Anthony Gay went to prison in 1994 for stealing a dollar bill and a hat. Behavior problems, including self-mutilation, added to his sentence. By the time he was released in August 2018, he had served 22 years in solitary. – 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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