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News Around Illinois – May 12, 2020

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Gov. Pritzker’s Office Working From Home After Senior Staffer Tests Positive For COVID-19

CHICAGO – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that his office is working from home after a senior staffer tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member is reportedly asymptomatic, but staying in isolation. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) also reported 1,266 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the state’s total to 79,007. An additional 54 deaths brings the total fatalities to 3,459.

Gov. Pritzker released an updated COVID-19 model for Illinois, which now predicts the state’s case numbers will plateau to a peak later than expected, from mid-May to mid-June. The model is based on data regarding COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations and ventilator use across the state. The governor also provided updates on the state’s four regions in meeting key metrics as part of the Restore Illinois plan. Those metrics include no overall increase in hospital admissions across a 28-day period. He says the North-Central, Central and Southern regions are currently on track to move to Phase 3 of the re-opening plan after the 28-day period. – Lecia Bushak, Illinois Newsroom

Rantoul Foods COVID-19 Outbreak Up To 82 Confirmed Cases

URBANA – Champaign County, officials announced 32 new COVID-19 cases Monday, for a total of 298. Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde says 82 employees at the Rantoul Foods meat processing plant have now tested positive for COVID-19. She says there are still 225 employees at the facility yet to be tested, and officials are working to get them tested as soon as possible. – Brian Moline, Illinois Newsroom

Champaign Health Center Aiming To Get Testing To Underinsured

CHAMPAIGN – Frances Nelson Health Center in Champaign is reaching out to help people in underserved communities to help patients access COVID-19 testing and treatment. Nancy Greenwalt is Executive Director of the health center, which serves people who are uninsured or underinsured, regardless of ability to pay.

“We got involved when the governor had reached out to all the community health centers in the state of Illinois to try to get (COVID-19) testing and care to underserved and marginalized populations,” said Greenwalt. “Nationally, and statewide, there were people who didn’t feel they had access to care and testing.” 

Greenwalt says the clinic shared COVID-19 testing information with about 2,000 patients. So far about 160 people have been tested at their site. Governor Pritzker has said partnerships with community health centers like Frances Nelson are critical for increasing access to testing. The number of public testing sites in Illinois has doubled to more than 240 over the past two weeks. – Christine Herman, Illinois Newsroom

Report: Illinois Making Progress In Preschools

URBANA – Over the last several years, Illinois has made significant progress on increasing access to and the quality of its preschool programs. That’s according to a report from the National Institute for Early Education Research. The group releases an annual report detailing where states rank on quality measures for things like curriculum and class sizes. This year, Illinois ranked third in the country for access to preschool for 3-year-olds and 20th for access for 4-year-olds. The state also met 8 of 10 quality benchmarks. – Lee V. Gaines, 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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