Note: Press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.
Four states, including Wisconsin, were added to Chicago's emergency travel order requiring anyone entering the city from several states to quarantine for 14 days.
That update came as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed his prediction that residents will likely be dealing with the pandemic in some form, unable to return to normal, until sometime in 2021.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around Illinois today, July 28:
Illinois Reports 1,076 New Coronavirus Cases, 30 Additional Deaths Tuesday
Illinois reported 1,076 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, along with 30 additional deaths, nearly double the amount of fatalities reported a day earlier.
The new cases bring the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 173,731 since the pandemic began, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
With Tuesday's additional 30 fatalities, Illinois is now at 7,446 COVID-19 related deaths during the pandemic.
On Sunday Illinois reported a single fatality, marking the lowest single-day increase in the death toll from the virus since March 21.
Tuesday's case number was lower than recent days, but the state continued to see lower testing numbers Tuesday, dropping below 30,000.
Officials reported 28,331 new coronavirus test specimens turned into state labs over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to more than 2.5 million during the ongoing pandemic.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate stayed flat at 3.8% after rising from the 3.6% reported Sunday
While Illinois’ hospitalization and ventilator usage numbers have both been either stagnant or declining in recent weeks, ICU usage by COVID-19 patients has crept up in recent days, although it still remains fairly close to the state’s low watermark in that metric. As of midnight, 329 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units statewide.
4 States Added to Chicago Travel Order
Four states, including Wisconsin, were added to Chicago's emergency travel order Tuesday, requiring anyone visiting or returning to the city from one of now 22 states to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Wisconsin, Missouri, North Dakota and Nebraska are all being added to the order, effective Friday, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office.
Chicago's mayor announced Monday that Wisconsin was being added to the list this week, but noted that the city was also watching all its neighbors "very carefully."
"I think Chicago, we are doing well because we were extremely prudent when we started to reopen up," Lightfoot said. "We didn't go as large with capacity, for example, as other areas across the country. So what we're seeing is cities and towns, particularly across the south through the southwest and on to California are really having significant struggles now because many of those communities took a very different approach to the one that Chicago took. We're also seeing an increase in states around us. Wisconsin, for example, is going to go on our quarantine list later this week."
The city's travel order is evaluated every Tuesday, with any additions taking effect the following Friday. States are added to the list if they have "a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average."
Recent additions to the order include Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.
Other states included are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Pritzker Predicts State Won't Return to Normal Until 2021
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said residents should prepare to continue dealing with coronavirus for at least another six months as he issued a plea for people to "keep social distance."
"We don't have to do this forever," Pritzker said while speaking in Quincy, Illinois, where he said positivity rates are on the rise.
"You've seen there's progress on vaccines and treatments and, you know, we're not there yet. We're not there yet. And frankly, we're not going to be there until 2021," he continued. "In my humble opinion, I'm not a doctor, but that's what my observation is, that we're not going to be able to take off the mask and go about everything we were doing, you know, seven, eight months ago, for a few more months, maybe six plus months. So let's all work together on this."
Why Are Coronavirus Test Results Taking So Long? Pritzker Explains
With more and more Americans getting swabbed for the coronavirus, patients are having to wait up to two weeks — and in some cases even longer — to receive their test results. And Illinois is no exception.
At a news conference Monday in Quincy, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker explained that national laboratories are dealing with an overwhelming number of tests as a result of huge spikes in cases like California, Florida and Texas.
One problem is, according to Pritzker, that many states have run out of lab space, so they've had to rely on national laboratory companies such as LabCorp.
Mike Geller, a spokesman for LabCorp, told NBC News the company has performed 7.5 million molecular tests for COVID-19 and is processing 165,000 tests a day, with plans to increase capacity further. As of July 24, the average time to deliver results is three to five days from when a specimen was picked up; before the surge, the turnaround time was one to two days, he said.
With three labs in Illinois and recent expansions, the governor says Illinois has increased its testing capacity as best as it could.
"I think at the beginning, we were doing 200 tests a day, we're now doing between six and 8,000 tests a day," Pritzker said. "We can't really get much bigger unless we're going to decide to buy new facilities."
The state of Illinois has also partnered with laboratory companies within the state, so results can come back faster than if results were being processed outside.
South Side Irish Pub Over Allegations They Violated Coronavirus Guidelines
Chicago officials closed down the Cork & Kerry Tavern, an Irish pub in the city's Beverly neighborhood, over the weekend, citing violations of phase four requirements.
The Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection issued the closure order on Sunday. The agency was conducting an investigation due to an employee testing positive for coronavirus at the establishment, located at 10614 S. Western Ave., the department said.
While doing the investigation, the BACP said they issued citations to Cork & Kerry after observing employees not wearing face coverings and operating outside of permitted business hours.
"Irresponsible actions like this put our entire city at risk and will not be tolerated," Isaac Reichman, spokesperson for the BACP, said in a statement.
Cork & Kerry argued the citation given to the bar was done in error.
According to the tavern, an employee tested positive after two sisters, who both work at the bar, reported their father, a plumber in Chicago, had been diagnosed with coronavirus on July 15.
"One sister was positive for Covid, and one was negative," a post on the tavern's Facebook page read Monday. "Neither had any symptoms. They have not returned to work as of today and we are happy to report they are doing just fine, as is their dad. No other staff member has shown any symptoms nor have any customers."
The post states the bar was sanitized following the positive test and they received a visit from the city on July 16 and again on Friday, with no citations issued until early Saturday, when the bar had patrons after the city's midnight curfew.
"The next night, Saturday, July 25 at 12:07 a.m., we were visited again as we were cleaning up with six staff members in the bar," the post stated. "Three unmasked city inspectors walked in and cited us for having people in the bar. No one other than our own staff was present, all in compliance with current city ordinances. The unmasked inspectors wrote up another violation, even though each and every customer had exited for the night."
The bar said it attempted to contact city officials regarding the error but has been unsuccessful.
The area's alderman, however, said this is not the first time Cork & Kerry has been cited by the city for not following health guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 5, the tavern was issued citations for having 40 to 50 patrons indoors and outdoors during phase three, according to Ald. O'Shea's office. During that phase, only restaurants with a retail food license were allowed to have outdoor dining. Cork & Kerry Tavern only has a liquor license.
In order to re-open, the Cork & Kerry is required to submit a plan to safely bring back customers in compliance with Health Department orders. Once the BACP receives the plan, it is up to them to accept it or deny it for the business to legally re-open.
No Fines Have Been Issued in Connection to Chicago Travel Order
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that no one has been fined for violating the quarantine order since it was implemented earlier this summer.
Under provisions of the order, anyone traveling from one of the states identified by city officials as a coronavirus hotspot must self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival in Chicago. While it’s technically possible for violators of that order to be fined, Lightfoot says no citations have yet been issued.
“We have not seen any fines yet,” she said during a media availability on Monday.
Lightfoot says that the Chicago Department of Public Health would prefer to use increased awareness to help enforce the travel order, rather than issuing fines or other punitive measures.
“What we’re trying to do is raise people’s consciousness to really try to educate themselves into compliance,” she said. “Our hope is that people understand it. This has really got to be about not just fining people into compliance, but about educating people to understand the risk factors that are out there and the risk that they are taking for their own health and for the health of every single other person that they come into contact with.”
Illinois Reports 1,231 New Coronavirus Cases, 18 Additional Deaths Monday
Illinois reported 1,231 new cases of the virus on Monday, along with 18 additional deaths, a sharp increase from the single death reported Sunday.
The new cases bring the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 172,655 since the pandemic began, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
With Monday's additional 18 fatalities, Illinois is now at 7,416 COVID-19 related deaths during the pandemic.
Monday's case number was lower than recent days, but the state also reported roughly 10,000 fewer test results in the last 24 hours compared to the previous day.
Officials reported 30,567 new coronavirus test specimens turned into state labs over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to more than 2.5 million during the ongoing pandemic.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate also continued to rise, going up to 3.8% from the 3.6% reported a day earlier.
While Illinois’ hospitalization and ventilator usage numbers have both been either stagnant or declining in recent weeks, ICU usage by COVID-19 patients has crept up in recent days, although it still remains fairly close to the state’s low watermark in that metric. As of midnight, 350 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units statewide.
Pritzker Issues Warning to Illinois Residents Traveling to Other States
Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a warning Monday to Illinois residents traveling to other states, specifically Iowa and Missouri, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
"If you cross the border to Iowa or Missouri, remember that they have three and four times our positivity rate," Pritzker said during a news conference on the pandemic response alongside local elected officials in Adams County, which borders Missouri and sits just south of the state's border with Iowa.
"So even if you see someone there not wearing a mask, don't think you're safe," Pritzker continued. "Wear your mask. In fact, encourage them to wear theirs."
Illinois has seen "relative success in the handling of this pandemic," Pritzker said Monday, adding that the state has maintained a positivity rate "around half of our nearest neighbors, or a third or a fourth in some cases, including Missouri."
Illinois reported 1,231 new coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths on Monday, as the statewide positivity rate - calculated as a seven-day rolling average to show overall trends - continued its gradual rise to now 3.8%.
Missouri's positivity rate over the past seven days stands at 8.8%, per the Missouri Department of Health's website. Iowa health officials reported a one-day positivity rate of 7.2% on Sunday, with an overall positivity rate of 9.3% since the pandemic began.
Chicago Public Schools Holds Virtual Feedback Meeting on Reopening Plan
Chicago Public Schools held the first of five virtual meetings Monday to solicit feedback on the district's reopening framework for the fall, announced earlier this month.
The framework includes plans for a hybrid model of learning that combines some in-person instruction and some remote learning from home, CPS said.
Under the framework, both half and full day pre-K programs will learn at school, while students in kindergarten through 10th grade would operate under a hybrid model. In the hybrid model, CPS says approximately 50% of its student population would attend school in person on any given day.
Most students in 11th and 12th grades - high school juniors and seniors - would learn entirely at home "given the diverse course scheduling requirements" of those students, the district says.
Under the hybrid model, "students will be placed in pods of approximately 15 students during the school day in order to minimize exposure to other students and to support rapid contact tracing should a member of the pod contract COVID-19," the district said. Pods will gather in assigned rooms with assigned seating, desks spaced six feet apart where feasible, and will use the same designated spaces in buildings, like the bathroom.
Each pod would spend the same two consecutive days each week at school, and the same two days at home. Every Wednesday they would participate in "real-time virtual instruction with their classroom teacher."
The plan also includes "rigorous public health protocols" including a requirement that everyone wear masks, daily health screenings, temperature checks and the hiring of roughly 400 more custodians to carry out cleaning and sanitizing protocols across the district.
CPS has said the framework is a draft and that the district wants community input before making any final decisions on its plans in August. It launched a survey to gather feedback on the framework, which can be found here. The district asked families, students and staff to submit feedback by July 31.
CPS will hold a total of five virtual meetings, three in English and two in Spanish, to solicit feedback. Participants have to register in advance to participate in the meetings, with one held each day this week, via EventBrite here.
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