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News Around Illinois – May 21, 2020

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Illinois On Track To Loosen Restrictions Later This Month

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says all parts of Illinois are on track to see coronavirus-related restrictions loosened and more businesses reopen before the end of the month. The Illinois Department of Health reported 2,388 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, with the total cases surpassing 100,000 An additional 147 deaths brings the total fatalities to 4,525. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says the numbers are evidence Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and other measures such as wearing masks are working. But she says “we can’t undo all that we’ve done.” – Lecia Bushak, Illinois Newsroom & Associated Press 

Click here for the New Modifications To Phase 3 Of Restore Illinois Plan

Lawmakers, 6 Feet Apart, Catch Up On Delayed Work

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois General Assembly has convened in Springfield for the first time in 10 weeks, desks spaced apart and most members wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Lawmakers are hoping to complete a spring-session’s worth of work in three days after canceling all meeting days since early March because of the coronavirus pandemic. GOP Rep. Darren Bailey was removed from the House when he refused to wear a face covering. Despite 147 more COVID-19-related deaths, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state is recovering enough to allow outdoor dining at restaurants with appropriately placed tables starting May 29. – Associated Press

Virus Claims 23rd Life At Sangamon County Nursing Home

SHERMAN — Health officials say the coronavirus outbreak has claimed the lives of 23 residents of a central Illinois nursing home. Sangamon County Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday a woman in her 80s is the latest victim of the outbreak at the The Villas East home in Sherman. The State Journal-Register reports 62 Villas East residents have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, including one who is hospitalized, as well as 46 staff members. – Associated Press

Supreme Court: Circuit Courts Can Return To Normal June 1

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Supreme Court says the state’s courts can return to normal operations beginning June 1. In Wednesday’s order, the high court leaves to the chief judges of the state’s 24 judicial circuits to implement plans for in-person hearings based on specific factors. The justices urge social distancing measures remain in place and a way found to reduce the number of people physically present in court facilities. The Supreme Court on March 17 ordered state judges to limit in-person proceedings to essential cases and delay other matters. The justices also ordered the shift of a sizable share of the courts’ business to videoconferencing platforms. – Associated Press

Ex-University Employee Gets Probation For Rare Book Theft

URBANA — A former employee of the University of Illinois has been sentenced to two years of probation for stealing rare books from the school’s music library. Thomas McGeary of Champaign pleaded guilty before Champaign County Circuit Judge Heidi Ladd to the theft of two rare books worth more than $500. Assistant State’s Attorney Alex Boyd told Ladd that McGeary stole the books for money and was seeking revenge against the university because he believed it wronged him. Under Tuesday’s sentencing, the 71-year-old McGeary can avoid a conviction if he completes probation without additional criminal activity. – 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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