coronavirus

29 New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed in Illinois, Total of 93

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The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 29 new coronavirus cases Sunday, increasing the total number in the state to 93.

Five additional counties reported cases for the first time: Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Whiteside and Winnebago counties. 

A total of 13 counties in Illinois have reported coronavirus cases.

“We are seeing the number of COVID-19 cases increase exponentially and in more locations across Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “At this point, it is best to assume that the coronavirus is circulating in your community and you should take the same precautions when interacting with other people that you would when interacting with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This may seem like an extreme step, but this is how we reduce the number of new cases and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.”   

At the press conference Sunday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all restaurants across the state to close to dine-in customers starting at the end of business Monday through March 30.

Delivery and drive-up options will remain open, state officials said.

Also on Sunday, the city of Chicago announced new restrictions for businesses that sell liquor to have less than half of their regular maximum capacity.

"This is one of the most challenging times that any of us will face," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday. "Make no mistake about it, but we can get through this."

Pritzker went on to praise the residents of Illinois, saying "our people are the bravest, kindest hardest working individuals anywhere in the nation. And I believe in you. I'm gonna fight like hell for you in the weeks ahead,."

One day earlier, health officials announced an additional 20 cases, including one at a long-term care facility in DuPage County.

Other cases were reported downstate in Woodford, Cumberland, St. Clair and Sangamon counties.

At a news conference Saturday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker once again called on residents to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak as an additional 16 cases were announced in the state.

Seven new cases were also reported in Chicago, as well as four in suburban Cook County, one in Kane County and one in Lake County, according to a news release. Two cases were announced in St. Clair County along with one case each in Cumberland County and Woodford County.

Public health officials are still investigating the travel history of these individuals and any potential contact with a known COVID-19 case.

In total, approximately 1,600 specimen associated with the coronavirus have been tested at Illinois state labs, according to Illinois Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Ngozi Ezike. More than 300 specimen were processed Friday alone, Dr. Ezike added.

Also on Saturday, President Trump announced the United States will broaden its European travel ban, adding the United Kingdom and Ireland to its list of affected countries.

March 13 briefing: Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday that all schools in Illinois will close due to the coronavirus.

One day earlier, Gov. Pritzker announced all schools in Illinois, including Chicago Public Schools, will be closed until the end of March, as the number of cases continues to rise. Also on Friday, the Illinois Gaming Board announced all casinos will be closed for 14 days starting Monday.

The Archdiocese of Chicago also suspended all public church services and celebrations of Mass "in order to slow the spread” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the week, Chicago and state officials announced the city's St. Patrick's Day parades and iconic river dyeing have been postponed amid coronavirus concerns.

If you've been shopping recently, you've seen it for yourself--long lines at grocery stores and maybe even scarcity when it comes to essential household items. People are trying to stock up so they can be prepared in case they're home for a long period of time or in case supplies run out. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports.

The postponement of the festivities come as several other major events around the city and U.S. were canceled or postponed.

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it canceled the rest of its spring training game schedule and delayed the start of the season by at least two weeks. The National Hockey League also said it is pausing its season, following the NBA in doing the same. The NCAA also announced the cancellation of the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments.

For a list of Chicago-area event cancellations, click here.

State officials have been urging people, particularly elderly residents, to avoid mass gatherings in the area.

Many passengers say they aren't worried, despite a State Department warning against cruise ship travel during the coronavirus outbreak.

Pritzker, who on Monday declared a disaster proclamation in the state, said he has demanded the state receiving more testing kits as soon as possible.

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