Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed in the video player above.
A Chicago school is switching to remote learning after four cases of coronavirus were identified.
That news comes as the Chicago Bears say nine players and staff members tested positive - but the team says those were false positives.
Here are the latest updates from around the state on the fight against coronavirus today (Aug. 24):
Region 4 Could See More Stringent COVID-19 Mitigation Rules if Positivity Rates Don't Drop
Numerous counties in southwestern Illinois could see even more coronavirus-related restrictions implemented next month if rolling positivity rates in the region continue increasing, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday.
Region 4, an area of the state located near St. Louis, already saw additional coronavirus mitigation rules put into place earlier this month, but if the region doesn’t begin to see a decline in rolling positivity rates, then additional restrictions would be put into place on Sept. 2.
The restrictions were put into place after the region, which includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties, saw its rolling positivity rate exceed 8% for three consecutive days. Currently, that rate is sitting at 9.4%, as the number continued to increase after the new mitigations were implemented.
Those mitigations currently include a mandate that bars and restaurants close at 11 p.m., and mandates that table size should be limited to six or fewer people, with capacity limited to 25%.
Gatherings of 25 or more people are also prohibited under the new mandates. Party buses will also be banned while the new mitigation efforts remain in place.
Will, Kankakee Counties Hit Benchmark for Coronavirus Mitigation Rules as Positivity Rate Rises
Will and Kankakee counties will likely see new coronavirus mitigation measures implemented this week, as the counties' collective positivity rate has remained at or above 8% for the last three days.
According to data provided by the Illinois Department of Health, the two counties, which comprise Region 7 in the state’s coronavirus mitigation strategy, have seen their combined positivity rate on coronavirus testing go up from 6.7% on Aug. 12 to 8.3% on Monday, with eight consecutive days of increases in that number.
Under the IDPH’s “Restore Illinois” plan, any region that has a rolling positivity rate of 8% or higher for three consecutive days would then have coronavirus mitigation measures enacted, and Region 7 is now in that category after remaining at or above 8% since Saturday.
Illinois Reports 1,612 New Coronavirus Cases, 8 Additional Deaths
The state of Illinois reported more than 1,600 new cases of coronavirus and eight additional fatalities in the last 24 hours, public health officials announced Monday.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has now reported a total of 221,790 cases throughout Illinois since the pandemic began earlier this year.
The eight additional fatalities bring the state’s total number of deaths related to the virus to 7,888.
There was a significant drop in the number of tests performed in the last 24 hours, a typical occurrence early in the week in terms of reported data. A total of 36,155 new tests were reported after five consecutive days of the state performing more than 50,000 tests per day.
The 7-day positivity rate remained steady at 4.2%.
South Side School Temporarily Switches to Remote Learning After Students Test Positive
A South Side Catholic school is temporarily reversing course on its plan to conduct in-person instruction after four students tested positive for coronavirus.
Students had returned to classrooms at St. Rita of Cascia school on Chicago’s South Side last week, but they will now head back home for at least two weeks of remote learning after at least four cases of coronavirus were diagnosed within the school community.
Parents at the school received an email Thursday saying that two students had tested positive for the virus, and that the school would be switching back to a remote learning program. St. Rita will use remote learning plans until Sept. 4, then will resume a hybrid plan that involves in-person instruction beginning the following Tuesday.
After the initial two positive tests, school President Dr. James Quaid told NBC 5 that two more cases were confirmed on Friday. He says that the school’s decision to quickly switch to remote learning was made in an attempt to minimize the impact of the situation, and to prevent further spread of the virus.
More details can be found here.
Chicago Bears Say 9 Tests Were Likely False Positives
A total of nine Chicago Bears players and staff members tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, but the team says it appears that all nine results were false positives after an issue at the laboratory that was processing the tests.
The Bears were one of several NFL clubs impacted by the testing issues at a lab in New Jersey, according to the league.
“This morning, we learned yesterday’s COVID-19 testing identified nine players and staff as positive,” the Bears said in a statement. “We followed additional NFL-NFLPA testing protocol and confirmed all nine results as false positives.”
According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, players who return false positive test results must go through specific NFL protocols to return to the field, meaning that the nine individuals involved with the results will likely not participate in the team’s practice Sunday afternoon at Halas Hall.
According to Kim Jones of the NFL Network, Buffalo Bills G.M. Brandon Beane says that 10-to-11 teams are dealing with issues arising from the test results performed by the New Jersey lab.
The NFL issued a statement of its own Sunday, saying that clubs are currently working to “confirm or rule out” positive test results.
“Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate,” the league said. “The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.”
Will, Kankakee Counties Could See New Coronavirus Mitigation Rules Put in Place
Will and Kankakee counties could potentially see new coronavirus mitigation measures implemented next week after the area saw its rolling positivity rate reach 8% on Saturday.
According to data provided by the Illinois Department of Health, the two counties, which comprise Region 7 in the state’s coronavirus mitigation strategy, have seen their combined positivity rate on coronavirus testing go up from 6.7% on Aug. 12 to an even 8% on Saturday, with six consecutive days of increases in that number.
Under the IDPH’s “Restore Illinois” plan, any region that has a rolling positivity rate of 8% or higher for three consecutive days would then have coronavirus mitigation measures enacted.
Illinois Sets Another New Testing Record, With More Than 2,300 New Cases
For the fourth day in a row, the state of Illinois has set a new record for coronavirus testing, with nearly 57,000 new tests conducted over the last 24 hours.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 56,766 new tests were reported over the last day, smashing the previous mark of 51,736 tests as the high watermark for testing over a 24 hour period.
In all, 3,649,685 tests have been conducted over the course of the pandemic.
Over the last day, a total of 2,356 new cases of the virus have been confirmed by state health officials, bringing the statewide total to 218,285 since the pandemic began.