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News Around Illinois – March 17, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Currently, there are 105 individuals in 15 Illinois counties who have tested positive for COVID-19. Click here for a map of the affected counties and other resources from WILL’s Coronavirus Information Center.

Illinois Governor: Election Still On, Despite Virus Concerns

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the primary election in Illinois will proceed despite a spreading COVID-19 and new federal suggestions that gatherings of 10 or more people be avoided. Pritzker pointed to Tuesday’s election as a touchstone of normalcy in a chaotic time. His state public health director reported that the number of cases in Illinois has hit 105 in 15 counties. Illinois elections officials scrambled to avoid voting disruptions while the Illinois House canceled legislative sessions until further notice. – Associated Press

Coronavirus Concerns Cause Cancellations

MACON COUNTY – Concerns about the coronavirus have affected the ranks of election judges for Tuesday’s primary election in one central Illinois county. Macon County Clerk Josh Tanner says more than 70 of his election judges have dropped out in the days leading up to the primary more than twice the usual number. “We’ve had a lot of election judges who’ve fallen into the category where they’ve been recommended not to go out in public,” said Tanner. “And so they’ve called us to cancel. And since this has been a relatively recent event, it’s been difficult to fill all those vacancies.” As of Monday evening, Tanner said he had enough replacements to fill all the vacancies. But he says many of them have less experience than the election judges who dropped out. Tanner says Macon County typically requires about 350 election judges to staff polling places at each election. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Pritzker Endorses Biden On Eve of Illinois Primary

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker is endorsing Joe Biden for president on the eve of Illinois’ primary, saying the Democratic former vice president “is the right candidate to beat Donald Trump and lead us into a new era.” Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are facing off on Tuesday in Illinois. Pritzker had held off endorsing any of the candidates in the once-crowded Democratic field. His team told the Chicago Sun-Times that Pritzker opted to give his endorsement on Monday because he wanted to remind residents of the importance of voting despite the COVID-19 pandemic. – Associated Press

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Suspends Face To Face Courses; Asks Students To Move Home

URBANA – In the latest effort to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 disease, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign says it will suspend face-to-face instruction for the rest of the spring 2020 semester. Also, students in residence halls and Greek housing are being asked to begin to move out. The university wants students to return to their permanent home address to take the rest of their classes online. The details were spelled out in an email to students, faculty and staff on Monday afternoon from Robert J. Jones, Chancellor of U of I Urbana-Champaign. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

COVID-19 Update from Champaign County 

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign County Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde says coronavirus tests are pending for more than 80 people; 13 negative results have been received so far. The county has one confirmed COVID-19 case, which was first announced Sunday, involving a woman in her 50s who reported having contact with people who recently traveled to Italy. Efforts to conduct coronavirus testing locally are still in progress. – Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

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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