(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Illinois continues to see both cancellations and reopenings as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
One of the most recent cancellations is the Will County Fair, scheduled for August. Meanwhile, SkyDeck Chicago at Willis Tower is among the latest attractions to announce a plan to welcome visitors back for the first time in months.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (June 29):
Illinois Reports 738 New Coronavirus Cases, 14 Additional Deaths
Health officials in Illinois confirmed 738 new cases of coronavirus, along with 14 additional deaths Monday afternoon.
According to data available from the Illinois Department of Public Health, that number of deaths is the lowest in a single day since March 30, when seven total fatalities were reported. It marks the second day in a row of low death totals, as 15 additional fatalities were reported on Sunday.
Of those deaths, 12 were reported in Cook County, including a woman in her 30s and two men in their 40s, along with one death each in DuPage and Perry counties.
Lightfoot Announces New Investments in 2 Chicago Neighborhoods
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday announced new investments in the Auburn Gresham and North Lawndale neighborhoods as part of the INVEST South/West initiative.
The announcement means $1.1 million in grant funding to support the initiative and the two grant recipients "Auburn Gresham Healthy Lifestyle Hub" and the "North Lawndale Surgical and Amulatory Care Center.
“I am thrilled to today be announcing this funding that will provide needed capital to two critical projects along our INVEST South/West corridors. These developments have been months and years in the making, and I am thrilled to see them come to fruition,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “It is our hope that these developments serve as critical anchors to drive the inclusive, neighborhoods focused growth that my administration has been committed to from day one. I look forward to seeing these projects come to life and serve as a framework for many others to come.”
Mobile Testing in Woodlawn and Pilsen
Chicago officials say there will be two mobile COVID-19 testing sites in the Woodlawn and Pilsen neighborhoods on Monday.
Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., a site with walk-up and drive-through testing will be stationed in the Woodlawn neighborhood at Martin Temple AME Zion Church, 6930 S. Cottage Grove. Martin Temple will also host a food giveaway while supplies last.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Healthy Hood Chicago will have a food giveaway and walkup COVID-19 testing site located at 2242 S. Damen in Pilsen.
All residents are encouraged to get tested if they meet eligibility criteria. Testing is free for all Chicago residents. No questions will be asked about citizenship status and no documentation will be required, city officials say.
Will County Fair Canceled
The Will County Fair has become the latest event to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event scheduled for late August has been in existence for over a century. Fair officials said they'd discuss options for other events at a meeting next month, including a fall demolition derby, according to The Kankakee Daily Journal.
“It has been a challenging time across the world, as so many events try to find ways to continue traditions that have lasted generations, going back well over a century, while keeping social distancing and health at the forefront of every step we take,” according to a post on the fair's website.
Dozens of Illinois counties have canceled their fairs. Earlier this month, officials scrapped this year's Illinois State Fair. The event was last canceled in the 1940s during World War II when the grounds were used as a military supply center.
Skydeck Chicago to Reopen to Visitors
The Skydeck Chicago, located at Willis Tower, announced it will reopen to the public on July 3. The iconic structure, with its breathtaking views of the city streets below, will only be open on weekends, according to officials, and several safety protocols will be put into place to ensure that patrons feel comfortable visiting.
Social distancing will be encouraged via markers and signage, allowing for six feet of distance between parties. Only one party will be allowed per window bay at the top of the tower, and group sizes will be limited in elevators. In addition, those visiting the Skydeck will be required to wear face coverings, and timed ticketing will be used to help limit the number of individuals visiting the Skydeck. Officials advise those interesting in visiting to secure tickets ahead of time, as walk-ins will not be guaranteed access.
Finally, the “high touch points” and elevators will be cleaned frequently throughout the day, and hand sanitizer will be available at numerous places within the Skydeck area.
Pools Begin to Reopen Under New Guidance
Illinois health officials on Friday released new guidelines for swimming facilities in phase four of the state's reopening plan.
Pools, water parks, splashpads and beaches licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health can open at a maximum of 50% capacity under phase four, officials said Friday, the same day the state entered phase four.
“There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water in pools and water playgrounds,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “However, the virus can still spread between people while in the pool, playing at a water park, or in a spa. Make sure to keep your distance from other people, especially if waiting in line or sitting around the pool.”
Health officials require that swimming facilities have plans for physical distancing - including signs or attendants, among other measures - in areas where people line up to use a water slide, lazy river or other water features.
All equipment like rafts, tubes and lounge chairs must be sanitized between each use as well. Group sizes can be no more than 50 people, health officials say, and everyone over the age of two must wear face coverings when not swimming or using other water features.
Pools and water parks should also require temperature checks for employees and patrons, officials say.
Illinois Reports 646 New Coronavirus Cases, 15 Additional Deaths
Health officials in Illinois reported 646 new cases of coronavirus and 15 additional deaths on Sunday, as the state conducted nearly 24,000 new tests within the last 24 hours.
In all, 141,723 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed statewide since the pandemic began. Sunday’s deaths bring the total number of fatalities in the state to 6,888.
An additional 1,053 cases are being termed as “probable” COVID-19 cases, while the state is reporting 201 additional “probable” COVID-19 fatalities.
The 15 additional deaths reported in Illinois over the last 24 hours are the fewest reported in a 24-hour period since late March, when seven fatalities were reported on March 30.
State health officials reported 23,789 new test results returned to state laboratories over the last 24 hours, bringing the testing total to 1,544,978.
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