(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Governor J.B. Pritzker will be streamed in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Illinois residents will soon have to wear facial coverings when leaving their homes, and Chicago is launching a drive to help make sure that vulnerable populations have access to masks.
Beginning May 1, Illinois residents will be required to wear facial coverings when working in or shopping at businesses, and will also have to wear masks while using public transportation, rideshares, or in any other circumstance in which they won’t be able to social distance.
The coronavirus pandemic is also hitting factories in the state, as Smithfield Meats has closed two of its Illinois facilities as a result of the virus.
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Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus today (April 25):
Illinois Reports More Than 2,000 New Cases of COVID-19
Illinois' coronavirus case total keeps going up, as more than 2,000 new cases of the virus were reported Saturday.
In all, 2,119 new cases of the virus were reported, bringing the state's total to 41,777 cases since the pandemic began.
Illinois also reported 80 additional deaths, bringing the toll of the virus to 1,874 lives lost.
Illinois continued its aggressive push forward in testing capacity, as the state returned nearly 12,000 test results Saturday, the second consecutive day of exceeding the 10,000-test-per-day goal set by Governor J.B. Pritzker earlier this month.
Chicago Launches Mask Donation Program
The “Chicago Together! Make a Mask, Give a Mask, Wear a Mask” program was officially launched on Saturday, encouraging residents to donate handmade masks to a variety of institutions as the state prepares to mandate facial coverings for residents.
The masks will be donated to homeless shelters, community health clinics and other organizations to “help prevent virus outbreaks among the city’s most high risk and vulnerable residents,” the city said in a press release.
Smithfield Closes 2 Plants in Illinois
Smithfield Foods is voluntarily closing two Illinois plants indefinitely after a “small portion” of its employees at a facility in Monmouth tested positive for coronavirus.
The Monmouth plant represents approximately three percent of U.S. fresh pork supplies. Employees will be paid during the closure.
The company’s St. Charles plant will also close, according to a spokesperson.
Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Cases Via Videostream
For the first time in history, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments through videoconference because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unusual procedure will allow the court’s justices to observe social distancing. The court is scheduled to hear 11 cases on May 12-14, according to court records.
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