coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Chicago Expands Travel Order, 2 School Districts' Reopening Plans

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today

Note: Any press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.

Two west suburban school districts released their reopening plans Monday evening, both offering two options to students: one hybrid learning and one fully remote.

Meanwhile, two prominent Chicago figures have announced that they tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around Illinois today, July 14:

Mayor Lightfoot Says Update From CPS on Fall Schooling Coming This Week

With several Illinois school districts already releasing their reopening plans, Chicago Public Schools has yet to announce a plan of its own.

But that could change this week.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the district plans to release "framework" later this week.

"Chicago Public Schools reopens right after Labor Day and anybody sitting here in the middle of July, that thinks that they have a crystal ball and can tell you with any degree of certainty what the world is going to look like then I think is foolish," Lightfoot told MSNBC in an interview Tuesday. "But the reality is we've got to prepare. So our Chicago Public Schools is going to be releasing later this week, a framework that's going to be a starting point for conversation, particularly with parents and other people in the school community that are vital to any kind of reopening strategy."

Lightfoot Says Chicago Paying Close Attention to Midwest States as Travel Order Expands

As Chicago expands its travel order, adding two more states to the quarantine list Tuesday, some are wondering which states could be next?

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is paying close attention to its Midwest neighbors as the travel order continues to be evaluated each week.

Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio were all added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s quarantine list this week as they report a spike in cases. Iowa was also added to Chicago's order, beginning Friday.

Illinois Reports More Than 700 New Coronavirus Cases, 25 Additional Deaths Tuesday

Health officials in Illinois have confirmed more than 700 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, along with 25 additional deaths.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 707 new cases were reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total of cases during the pandemic to 155,506.

Tuesday’s death toll brings the number of fatalities related to COVID-19 to 7,218, according to health officials.

In all, 28,446 new specimens were returned to laboratories in the state, bringing the total to 2,041,440 since the pandemic began.

The rolling seven-day positivity rate remains at three percent, according to health officials.

Hospitalization numbers did inch up slightly, with 1,416 hospitalizations for COVID-19. Of those patients, 333 were in intensive care units, and 126 patients were on ventilators as of July 13.

Pritzker Says He ‘Will Not Hesitate' to Close Bars, Indoor Dining Again If Coronavirus Metrics Keep Climbing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that he "will not hesitate" to bring back regulations previously put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus across the state, including closing bars and indoor dining at restaurants, should health officials find it necessary.

Pritzker was asked at a news conference about whether he's considering shutting down indoor service at restaurants and bars again as coronavirus cases continue to rise - and at what point those restrictions would be reinstated.

"We're watching these numbers very, very closely. I don't wake up on any day and not look at those numbers first thing," Pritzker said. "We've been very measured about how we've reopened our state, and there are many people that complain that where we are now isn't open enough. And so I would just say that I will not hesitate to reimpose some mitigations if we see our numbers moving upward."

Indoor service at bars and restaurants was shut down in mid-March, and remained closed through late June, when the state entered phase four of its reopening plan.

"My concern, again, is all about the health and safety of the people of the state of Illinois," Pritzker added.

But when pressed on what the metrics - number of cases, positivity rate in testing or any other indicator - would be for him to reimpose those restrictions, Pritzker demurred.

"I listen to our Department of Public Health director as well as to the many epidemiologists who are advising us and watching very closely the states in the South and the West that are struggling right now and wondering, 'Where could we or should we dial, you know, turn the dimmer switches, they say, on some of these items?'" he said.

Chicago Adds 2 States to Travel Order

Chicago has added two additional states to its travel order, which requires travelers visiting or returning to the city from certain states to quarantine for 14 days.

Beginning Friday, the order will now include Iowa and Oklahoma, according to the city's website.

Chicago first issued an emergency travel order for 15 states just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The order took effect on July 6.

States included in the order at that time were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said travelers entering or returning to Chicago from "states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases" will need to quarantine "for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state."

The order is set to remain in effect until further notice and the list of states is slated to be evaluated every Tuesday.

More details can be found here.

2 West Suburban School Districts Release Reopening Plans

Two west suburban school districts released their respective reopening plans Monday, both offering students and their families multiple options for in-person or remote learning as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Naperville Community Unit School District 203 will offer two options: the "hybrid model" and the "online academy," Supt. Dan Bridges said in a letter to the school community.

Indian Prairie School District 204, the state's fourth largest district, announced its reopening plan in a similar letter Monday evening. The district includes the west suburban communities of Aurora, Bolingbrook, Plainfield and Naperville. Supt. Adrian Talley said the plan includes two options: "A/B/C schedule" and "online academy" as well.

Both districts begin classes on Aug. 20. The hybrid and A/B/C schedule options will both be a combination of in-person instruction and virtual learning, allowing students to return to campus for parts of the week in smaller groups divided by last names.

More details on the plans can be found here.

Bishop Trotter Tests Positive for COVID-19

Bishop Larry D. Trotter, senior pastor of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the church revealed Tuesday.

According to spokesman Sean Howard, Trotter revealed the news on a Monday evening Zoom call with church leadership.

"While we were deeply saddened to hear this, we were yet enouraged [sic] that our pastor was in great spirits and looked exceptionally well," Howard said in a statement. "He has experienced very few symptons [sic] and has expressed complete confidence that within 14 days the Lord will allow him to return to the pulpit via virtual services."

Trotter has been a prominent figure in Chicago for several years and has served at the church for more than three decades.

Thousands of Chicago Students Eligible for Debt Forgiveness Program: Lightfoot

Students across Chicago will receive a financial fresh start after Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city's student debt relief program on Tuesday.

The new debt forgiveness pilot program, Fresh Start, helps more than 21,000 students planning to attend or who previously attended City Colleges of Chicago continue their education despite financial hardship.

"Many of Chicago's students are kept from finishing college due to debt that forces them to pause their academic journey," Lightfoot said. "With Fresh Start, former City Colleges' students will be able to finish college debt-free, pursue their dream careers and set themselves up for success in the post-COVID economy."

The program encourages students both going to college or took time away from school to obtain a degree or certificate with any prior debt waived.

Click here for more.

Pritzker to Announce Apprenticeship Program Expansion

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce an apprenticeship program expansion at a news conference at 11 a.m. at National Able Network in Chicago, per his public schedule.

West Loop Bar and Restaurant Shut Down for Violating Coronavirus Rules

Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse in Chicago's West Loop was shut down over the weekend for violating the city's reopening rules, according to a spokesman with the city's department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The bar and restaurant, which is located at 324 S. Racine Ave., failed to maintain social distancing, exceeded capacity, and patrons weren't wearing masks, city officials said.

One restaurant in Chicago's West Loop was closed over the weekend for violating the city's reopening rules. NBC 5's Trina Orlando talked to the owner to share his side of the story.

Under the city's Phase Four guidelines, bars and restaurants can seat a max of 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer, and must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. They are also required to manage lines outside of their business.

Andy Cowin, owner of the Wise Owl, said his establishment has all of the appropriate rules in place, but the rules are new, and enforcement is challenging for all bars.

"We need you to socially distance, wear a mask when you leave the table," he said. "It's very difficult to hunt you down like a babysitter."

The Wise Owl reopened on Monday with several new safety measures in place. The extended patio has been closed, hookah service has been stopped and extra staff has been added to help with enforcement.

"We want everybody to have a good time, but it's impossible to control the actions of other people," Cowin said.

More details can be found here.

BMW Championship to Be Played Without Fans at Olympia Fields

Golf fans hoping to see some of the best players in the world compete at the BMW Championship later this summer will have to do so by watching on television, as the PGA TOUR and tournament officials announced that the event will be played without fans due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament will run from Aug. 27-30 at Olympia Fields Country Club in suburban Olympia Fields, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the usual packed galleries surrounding the iconic FedEx Cup playoff event will be empty this summer.

The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings will compete at Olympia Fields in the tournament, with the top 30 in those standings advancing to the season-ending TOUR Championship following the conclusion of the BMW Championship.

Fans who have purchased tickets to the event will automatically receive refunds within the next 30 days, according to tournament officials.

Loyola University Says Most Classes Will Be Conducted Online This Fall

After consulting with faculty, staff and students, officials at Loyola University in Chicago have decided that most classes will be conducted online this fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent out Monday, the university said that they made the decision amid rising numbers of cases in multiple states, saying it’s in the best interests of everyone to limit in-person learning in the fall.

“In the coming days we will provide detail on the specifics of the fall schedule,” officials said in the letter. “In particular, deans and chairs will be working this week to complete the schedule of courses.”

While most classes will move online, some classes will utilize in-person instruction, including labs, experiential classes and research, according to the school.

More details can be found here.

Map Shows Illinois Coronavirus Cases by ZIP Code

Illinois residents can track coronavirus cases in their neighborhood using ZIP code data from the state's department of public health.

The interactive map below allows residents to track cases by ZIP code and county.

Ald. Carrie Austin Announces She Has COVID-19

Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin revealed in a letter to residents of the 34th Ward that she has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Austin said she is "doing well" and is "currently progressing toward full recovery."

Austin's office remains open and she wrote that her "commitment to providing the available service during these trying times has not and will not waver."

"We are humbled that though we were inconvenienced, we are recovering from the regrettable looting as well as on track to reopening businesses based on the state's and city's recommended guidelines," she wrote.

Austin thanked those who reached out to check on her health and said the "acts of kindness were warmly appreciated."

Illinois Reports 883 New Coronavirus Cases, 6 Additional Deaths Monday

The state of Illinois reported 883 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, along with six additional deaths, and reached a significant milestone, as health officials say the state has now conducted more than two million coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.

Over the last 24 hours, state labs have taken in 30,012 specimens, putting the state’s total number of tests at 2,012,994 during the four months data has been available.

Monday’s new cases bring the state to 154,799 total confirmed cases during the pandemic, with 7,193 fatalities associated with the virus.

The new numbers published Monday leave the state’s rolling 7-day positivity rate unchanged at just over 3%.

Chicago Marathon Canceled Due to Health Concerns Over Coronavirus Pandemic

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been canceled for its 2020 race due to "the ongoing public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic," organizers announced Monday.

The race was set to step off on Oct. 11, but event organizers announced the decision "citing the challenges of staging an event of this scale at this time and out of concern for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators."

“Hope drives us as runners and as humans. My hope was to see everyone on the start line on Sunday, October 11, but our highest priority has always been the safety of our participants and our volunteers,” Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “We understand the disappointment, but when we return to the streets of Chicago, it will be a celebratory moment and an uncompromising statement about the collective spirit of who we are as a running community: we are powerful, we are persistent, and we will reach the finish line again.”

Those who registered for the race will have the option to receive a refund for their entry or defer their place and entry to a future Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2021, 2022 or 2023. Anyone who registered for the International Chicago 5k will also have the same options.

Last year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon saw history made as Brigid Kosgei, of Kenya, broke not one but two records with her finish, setting a world record and breaking the course record in Chicago. 

Lightfoot Says Shutting Down Bars, Indoor Dining Is a Possibility

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she would not hesitate to reinstate restrictions to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, including shutting down indoor dining and bars once again, as the city sees an uptick in cases, particularly among younger age groups.

"I'm not going to take anything off the table," Lightfoot said at a news conference when asked specifically if she was considering rolling back indoor dining, which resumed across Illinois when the state entered phase four of its reopening plan on June 26.

"I don't think we're at that point just yet," she continued. "But I am deeply concerned because we're starting to see this uptick. We're starting to see an uptick in the number of daily cases, deaths are going down, which is great. Most of our hospital indicators are good, but the case rate, the daily accumulation of cases is something I'm definitely concerned about. And we're not going to hesitate to take the steps that are necessary if we continue to see a rise in that number."

"In Chicago, we continue to be on a good trajectory. However, we do have concerns and we specifically have concerns in the 18-to-29-year-old cohort where we're starting to see an uptick in cases," she said, pleading once again with young people to adhere to public health guidelines.

"I can't emphasize enough why wearing a face cover every single time you leave your house is critically important. Now, that's a challenge with that cohort, because we'll all hearken back to the time when we were that age, we felt like, you know, we were invincible. But this virus doesn't discriminate," she said.

"If you're young, it's still coming for you. And if you're young and you're out there and you're not wearing face coverings, if you're not social distancing, not only are you putting yourself at risk, you're putting at risk every single person that you come into contact with, whether a stranger or a loved one in your home," Lightfoot continued.

More details can be found here.

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