Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed in the video player above.
Chicago updated its travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine - adding one state and removing two others while city health officials say they are monitoring Wisconsin closely again.
Meanwhile, cases continue to spike at colleges and universities as students return to campuses for the fall semester. NBC 5 Investigates has been tracking the outbreaks, putting all the info you need to know into a searchable tool to see how the pandemic is spreading.
Here are the latest updates from around Illinois on the coronavirus pandemic today (Sept. 9):
Illinois Reports 1,337 New Coronavirus Cases as Positivity Rate Falls Below 4%
Illinois reported 1,337 new coronavirus cases Wednesday as the state's positivity rate dropped below 4% for the first time in weeks.
The new cases lift the statewide total since the pandemic began to 253,690, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. On Monday, Illinois crossed 250,000 cases for the first time.
Wednesday's figures also noted an additional 30 deaths, bringing the state's death toll to 8,214 in all 102 counties attributed to the virus.
The new cases were the result of 48,029 tests administered over the last 24 hours, bringing statewide totals to 4,526,739.
The state’s rolling 7-day positivity rate was reported Wednesday at 3.7%, marking a drop from 4% a day earlier.
In all, 1,580 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state of Illinois, with 357 of those patients in intensive care units and the number of patients on ventilators at 133.
Bradley University Enacts Student Quarantine Amid New COVID-19 Cases on Campus
Due to a recent uptick in the number of coronavirus cases on campus, officials at Bradley University have implemented a two-week quarantine for students and have switched the school to remote learning on a temporary basis.
According to an alert sent out by the school Tuesday, the move to remote learning will go into effect Tuesday evening, and will run through at least Sept. 23.
Students will be required to quarantine in their residence halls, off-campus residences or their Greek houses for the next two weeks, according to the school.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” Bradley University President Steve Standifird said. “We are enacting these measures now so as to increase the likelihood that we can remain on campus throughout the semester as planned.”
Standifird says that the school has seen approximately 50 cases of the virus, with 500 more students already in quarantine before the new rules were put in place, and that number is continuing to rise because of gatherings among students.
“We are seeing large and small gatherings where masks and physical distancing are not observed,” he said. “Many of our positive tests can be traced back to these gatherings.”
The decision was reached to help officials identify how much the virus has spread on campus, according to officials.
Some students at the school expressed disappointment that a quarantine was deemed necessary, but said that they understand the decision.
“It’s definitely upsetting,” Alivia Adkins, a junior at the school, said. “I sort of suspected that this would happen eventually. I feel like they did what was right and what they felt was right, and that’s all they can do.”
Adkins is all too familiar with coronavirus, saying that she had the virus over the summer. She hopes that the experience will help students learn about the risks of the virus, and encourage them to be more careful with their actions.
“Just try to be safe, so we can try to make everything (as) back to normal as possible and still enjoy this college life,” she said.
Students will be allowed some exceptions, like going to dining halls or going to work.
The decision will be re-evaluated in coming weeks, according to officials. Officials do say however that if numbers don’t begin to improve that the rest of the semester could be limited to online learning.
Chicago Watching Wisconsin ‘Closely' Again for Possible Addition to Travel Order
Chicago health officials are watching Wisconsin "closely" to potentially add the state to the city's travel order requiring a 14-day quarantine again, the city's top doctor said Tuesday.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook live video that the city was watching Wisconsin because they're "trending up" in the metrics the city considers when revising its travel order.
"We're watching Wisconsin closely because they're trending up a little bit again and we'll be keeping a close eye on that," Arwady said when discussing the city's travel order, which was updated again Tuesday.
Chicago's list dropped to 21 states as the city updated the order, adding Kentucky but removing California and Puerto Rico.
Wisconsin was removed from the quarantine list on Aug. 18. It was added to the list effective July 31, though the city noted exemptions for some people who worked over the border.
Lightfoot Says Goal is to Have In-Person Learning This Year
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said her goal is to have the city's public school district return to in-person learning this year, but that the decision to do so will ultimately be "guided by public health."
"We're starting to see some progress in our numbers but we are not there yet," Lightfoot said Tuesday as Chicago Public Schools began its school year remote. "And we're obviously we monitor them on a day by day basis and if we see that there is an opportunity, we're going to make sure that we engage the school community ahead of time."
CPS began its new school year Tuesday, but with some major changes as the coronavirus pandemic has forced the district to continue remote learning.
Illinois Reports 1,392 New Coronavirus Cases as Positivity Rate Drops
Illinois reported nearly 1,400 new coronavirus cases Tuesday as the state's positivity rate dropped back to 4% following Monday's rise.
The 1,392 new cases lift the statewide total since the pandemic began to 252,353, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. On Monday, Illinois crossed 250,000 cases for the first time.
Tuesday's figures also noted an additional seven deaths, bringing the state's death toll to 8,186 in all 102 counties attributed to the virus.
The new cases were the result of 31,363 tests administered over the last 24 hours, bringing statewide totals to 4,478,710.
The state’s rolling 7-day positivity rate was reported Tuesday at 4%, marking a drop from 4.2% a day earlier.
In all, 1,504 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state of Illinois, with 343 of those patients in intensive care units and the number of patients on ventilators at 133.
Indiana Not Added to Chicago's Quarantine List Despite Last Week's Warning
One state was added to Chicago's quarantine list Tuesday, but Indiana was not included despite warnings from health officials last week.
With Indiana's recent surge in coronavirus metrics, the state had already reached the threshold for inclusion as of last Tuesday, according to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, however the city chose to keep it off the list at that time for several reasons.
Among those reasons were the fact that the state had recently changed the way it reports its coronavirus data and that state colleges have marked a large spike in cases.
Indiana crossed the average of 15 cases per 100,000 residents, sitting at 15.8 last Tuesday, Arwady said.
"If we don't see improvement across the state then we will add them next week," Arwady said last week.
As of Monday, more than 100,000 individuals in Indiana tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to state health officials, adding 596 new cases and four additional deaths.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate for all tests maintained steady at 5.4% on Monday, and among unique individuals tested, that figure also stayed consistent at 7.4%, health officials said.
But still, Indiana remained off Chicago's updated quarantine list Tuesday.
"We have had some concern about Indiana last week, but they're doing better," Arwady said.
Kentucky Added, 2 Others Removed as Chicago's Quarantine List Drops to 21 States
Chicago's quarantine list dropped to 21 states Tuesday as the city updated its travel order, which still does not include Indiana despite warnings from health officials last week.
The order also removed California and Puerto Rico, both of which saw consistent case averages below the travel order threshold, city officials said.
Idaho, Nevada, Texas, North Carolina and Hawaii were also reported to be under the required threshold for the quarantine list, but will need to remain at that level for another week before being officially removed, health officials said.
The city's travel order is evaluated every Tuesday, with any additions taking effect the following Friday. States that are removed from the list that change takes effect immediately.
The emergency order now requires anyone visiting or returning to the city from one of 21 locations to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Watch Live: Gov. Pritzker to Discuss 2020 Census, Hold Memorial Service
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to hold two events discussing the importance of being counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, as well as a memorial service for lives lost to COVID-19.
The first Census event will be at 11 a.m. in Normal, according to Pritzker's public schedule. The second will be at 2 p.m. in Decatur.
Then at 5 p.m., Pritzker will join faith leaders for a "memorial service to honor those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and their families" at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.
Watch live in the player above.
New School Year Begins With Remote Learning at Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools begins a new school year on Tuesday, but with some major changes as the coronavirus pandemic has forced the district to continue remote learning.
According to CPS' remote learning plan, instruction time will vary by grade:
- Pre-K: 60 minutes of real-time instruction and 90 minutes of "learning activities."
- K-2: 180 minutes of real-time instructions, 180 minutes of "learning activities."
- 3-5: 205 minutes of real-time instruction, 155 minutes of "learning activities."
- 6-8: 230 minutes of real-time instruction, 130 minutes of "learning activities."
- 9-12: 80 percent of the day will be for real-time instructions, 20 percent of the day will be for "learning activities."
Teachers will use Google education tools to track engagement for each students and will be expected to do a daily "homeroom-style check-in," the district said.
Student attendance will be taken each day and grading will return to regular practices, according to CPS.
The district sent 125,000 devices to students in the spring and another nearly 20,000 heading into this school year.
While Mayor Lori Lightfoot first proposed a hybrid learning model, with students in small pods in the classroom a few days a week, the Chicago Teachers Union put pressure on to continue remote learning, citing concerns for teacher and student safety amid the pandemic.
At Least 35K Coronavirus Cases Reported at Colleges as Students Return
At least 35,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported at 176 colleges and universities in recent weeks as students return to campuses while the pandemic rages on.
NBC 5 Investigates is tracking cases at more than 200 colleges and universities - all of the schools in Illinois, more than 50 out-of-state schools most attended by Illinois students, more than 50 of the largest universities in the U.S. and more than 30 of the country's largest historically black colleges and universities.
Those schools include many that don't appear to report their cases online - meaning the true total number of cases may be higher - and many where classes haven't started or began barely one week ago.
At colleges and universities within the state of Illinois, more than 3,270 cases have been reported as of Friday - though that total is likely higher because some of those schools don't reveal information on their cases online.
At the 14 schools in the Big Ten conference, more than 8,121 cases of coronavirus have been reported, even though some of those schools haven't started classes yet.
Track the schools here.
Illinois Surpasses 250K Total Coronavirus Cases, Reports 1,381 New Cases Monday
More than 250,000 individuals in Illinois have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, state health officials confirmed, noting an additional 1,381 cases Monday, along with eight additional deaths attributed to the virus.
Monday's figures brought statewide totals to 250,961 confirmed cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, with at least 8,179 deaths in all 102 counties attributed to the virus.
The new cases were the result of 28,975 tests administered over the last 24 hours, bringing statewide totals to 4,447,347.
The state’s rolling 7-day positivity rate was reported Monday at 4.2%.
In all, 1,484 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state of Illinois, with 352 of those patients in intensive care units and the number of patients on ventilators at 137.