Illinois nearly set a new testing record again on Saturday, with nearly 34,000 test results returned to state laboratories in the last 24 hours.
The state is more than a week into Phase Four, and with the Fourth of July holiday and with more businesses opening their doors, state officials are keeping a close eye on the number of cases and hospitalizations reported due to the virus.
Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around Illinois:
More Than 700 Nurses Go on Strike at Joliet Hospital
More than 700 nurses at AMITA Health St. Joseph Medical Center Joliet went on strike Saturday morning after negotiations between the hospital and the nurses union failed to result in a contract.
The strike comes after AMITA Health, which has 19 hospitals in Illinois, issued a statement that said it would bring in other licensed nurses during a strike, prepare to have ambulances bypass the hospital if necessary and cancel non-urgent surgeries. In an email Saturday to the Chicago Tribune, a spokesman for AMITA Health said a “minimum number” of patients had been transferred to AMITAHealth Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale prior to the strike.
One of the main sticking points in the negotiations is the union’s contention that the nursing staffing levels are too low to keep the nurses safe.
Illinois Reports 862 New Cases of Coronavirus
Illinois health officials have reported 862 new cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, with 10 additional deaths reported in that time.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Saturday’s new cases bring the state’s total number of cases to 146,612 during the pandemic.
The 10 additional deaths bring the state’s total number of coronavirus-related fatalities to 7,014.
Illinois Casinos Could Lose Licenses if They Don't Adhere to Coronavirus Guidelines
Casinos that fail to follow guidelines aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus could be disciplined, including loss of their license, Illinois regulators warned this week.
Illinois allowed video gaming businesses and casinos to begin reopening on Wednesday. Marcus Fruchter, administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board, reminded operators in a message released Thursday that they must follow state protocols for operating during the pandemic.