Modified Stay-At-Home Order Will Take Effect May 1
CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 2,563 new cases of COVID-19 in the state Thursday. That brings the total to 52,918 cases throughout 97 counties in Illinois. An additional 141 deaths were reported, bringing the total fatalities to 2,355.
On Thursday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker responded to news that an Illinois church and pastor filed a lawsuit against him for the extended stay-at-home order. Gov. Pritzker urged faith leaders to keep churches closed, noting that restrictions will only be lifted after a 14-day period of declining case numbers and hospitalizations.
Friday, May 1 marks the start of the modified stay-at-home order. The order will allow retail stores to re-open to do online or phone orders, as well as pick-up and delivery. Hospitals will also be allowed to resume some elective surgeries with guidelines. Individuals will be required to wear face coverings in public places where they’re unable to maintain a six-foot distance. Find a full list of the stay-at-home order modifications here. – Lecia Bushak, Illinois Newsroom
Champaign County Plans To Offer COVID-19 Testing To All Nursing Homes
URBANA – All nursing home employees in Illinois can now get tested for COVID-19, even if they’re not showing symptoms, thanks to the state loosening testing criteria last week to allow all health care and front line workers to qualify. But Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde says she would like to further expand testing to include residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, even those with no confirmed COVID-19 cases. C-U Public Health has requested the test kits, Pryde says, and will be sending them to the facilities so that residents can get tested on site. Read the full story here. – Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom
Illinois Casinos To Stay Closed Until Further Notice
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Gaming Board has decreed the state’s casinos will remain closed “until further notice” in the state’s continued efforts to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. Illinois’ 36,000 video gambling terminals will also remain dark. Gaming board administrator Marcus Fruchter says the agency will consult public health professionals and review conditions when gambling will be allowed to resume. Gambling in Illinois has been suspended since March 16. Fruchter’s announcement Thursday marks the third extension of the gambling shutdown. Illinois Casino Gaming Association executive director Tom Swoik estimates the state’s 10 casinos have lost about $100 million. – Associated Press
SEALs Tried To Locate US Citizen Taken By Afghan Militants
WASHINGTON — New light is being shed on efforts to locate a military contractor from Illinois who was captured in Afghanistan. The disappearance several months ago of 57-year-old Mark R. Frerichs has been shrouded in mystery. But The Associated Press has learned that in the days after Frerichs’ capture, Navy commandos raided a village and detained suspected members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network while U.S. intelligence agencies tried to track the cellphones of Frerichs and his captors. Frerichs remains a captive. There are no public indications that he has been part of negotiations between the U.S. and Taliban leadership. – Associated Press