coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Don't Hang Masks From Rear View Mirror, More Cyclists on Trails

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

Don't hang your mask from your car's rear view mirror - or you could be facing a fine.

That warning came as the state reported more than 1,700 new coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths.

Here are the latest updates from around the state on the fight against coronavirus today (Aug. 28):

30 Illinois Counties Now at ‘Warning Level' for Coronavirus, Health Officials Say

Thirty counties in Illinois, including Cook County, are now at a "warning level" for coronavirus, the state's health department said Friday.

The warning means each of the counties saw increases in two or more COVID-19 "risk indicators," the health department said.

The counties now under a warning include: Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Cook,  Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Jasper, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Madison, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Sangamon, Shelby, St. Clair, Union, Warren, White, Will and Williamson.

Last week, 20 counties were at a "warning level," 14 of which remained on the list Friday.

Illinois Reports 2,149 New Coronavirus Cases, 20 Additional Deaths

The state of Illinois reported more than 2,100 new cases of coronavirus and 20 additional fatalities in the last 24 hours, public health officials announced on Friday.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 2,149 new cases reported Friday bring the total to 229,483 cases throughout Illinois since the pandemic began earlier this year.

The 20 additional fatalities bring the state’s total number of deaths related to the virus to 7,997, data shows.

Increasing from one day earlier, the state reported 48,383 new test results Friday. Those test results bring the state’s total to 3,924,305 tests performed during the pandemic. The statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate remained at 4.1%.

Hospitalization metrics dropped across the board on Friday, health officials said. A total of 1,546 people were hospitalized with coronavirus as of Friday. Of those, 352 were in intensive care units and 132 were on ventilators.

Drivers Reminded Not to Hang Face Masks from Rear View Mirror, May Result in Fine

AAA Auto group and the Illinois State Police are reminding drivers not to use their rear view mirror to store face masks amid the pandemic.

As the coronavirus crisis continues, many people have been found oftentimes hanging several face masks on their rear view mirror.

And while doing do could lead to a citation, hanging any object from the mirror is considered illegal.

“We and the Illinois State Police both want to remind all drivers to not hang anything on the rearview mirrors,” said AAA Auto group spokesperson Molly Hart.

“It is against the law, and depending on the circumstances, either the size or the swinging movement of such items can interfere with a driver’s view of a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, bicyclist or even a full-sized vehicle. Drivers can receive a warning or citation.”

A citation for hanging an object on a rear view mirror can cost up to $164.

Illinois Reports 1,707 New Coronavirus Cases, 24 Additional Deaths

The state of Illinois reported more than 1,700 new cases of coronavirus and 24 additional fatalities in the last 24 hours, public health officials announced on Thursday.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 1,707 new cases reported Thursday bring the total to 227,334 cases throughout Illinois since the pandemic began earlier this year.

The 24 additional fatalities bring the state’s total number of deaths related to the virus to 7,977, data shows.

Marking a slight drop from one day earlier, the state reported 44,510 new test results Thursday. Those test results bring the state’s total to 3,875,922 tests during the pandemic.

The statewide seven-day positivity rate increased from 4.0% to 4.1% on Thursday, reversing the slight drop seen in that metric the day before.

Hospitalization metrics increased on Thursday as well, health officials said. A total of 1,631 people were hospitalized with coronavirus as of Thursday, health officials said. Of those, 390 were in intensive care units and 151 were on ventilators.

Coronavirus Put More Cyclists on Illinois Trails

Stores haven’t faced this serious of a bike shortage since a 1970s boom driven by environmental concerns, and metro-east trails are busier than ever.

Bicycle sales soared in March of this year, when the coronavirus closed gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons and other businesses. State officials designated bike shops as “essential” parts of the transportation industry and allowed them to stay open.

“(Biking is) a way to keep active, and a lot of folks have had this newfound time on their hands,” said Jon Greenstreet, co-owner of a O’Fallon bike shop.

Many big-box stores have been sold out of bicycles since April because they only carry lower-priced basic models that are popular with newcomers, Greenstreet said. One supplier told him that his inventory for the whole year was depleted in a week. Bicycles still on sales floors at bike shops tend to be electric or high-end road and mountain bikes that cost $1,500 to $3,000. Other models are trickling in a few at a time.

“We’ve got hundreds of bikes on back order, and when we get bikes in, they’re sold within days, if not hours,” Greenstreet said.

Cycling stores in Edwardsville, Shiloh and Alton were able to keep a range of bicycles in stock longer than some bike shops because they had a large inventory in three warehouses, said co-owner Katie Parks. The Cyclery also has faced shortages of fitness equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some people don’t feel comfortable going to the gym, and they still want to exercise in bad weather,” Parks said. “… Maybe before they didn’t have a home gym or equipment for working out, but they want it now.”

Reports of increased metro-east trail usage are anecdotal, but consistent.

Parks, an avid cyclist, said Madison County Transit trails “definitely” have been busier this summer. Adam Litterst, who lives across the street from a Nickel Plate parking lot in Edwardsville, heard the same thing from his roommate.

“He said that when he started biking in May that the trails were packed, more so than he had ever seen them in the two years we have lived here,” Litterst said. “There were a lot more bikers, but also people in general, walking, running and on bikes. I think people who had been cooped up for a couple of months were just wanting to get outside and do something.”

Jennifer Ayres, who lives along the Nickel Plate east of Edwardsville, has noticed more people pedaling by her house. On Wednesday, she and her daughter, Isabella and Adelin, rode bikes to Dairy Queen.

“When the shutdown first happened, it was crazy (on the trail), but then it died down, and now school has started,” Ayres said.

Bike shops also have seen increases in same-day bicycle repairs and accessory sales this summer. Under normal circumstances, Bike Surgeon customers can get more complicated repairs done in a week. Now the waiting list runs into October. Greenstreet said he feels bad for other small businesses that are struggling because of the coronavirus, but he’s happy to see more people take up biking.

“We’re trying to help those folks enjoy the experience as much as possible so they continue doing it, and they keep a healthy and active lifestyle moving forward,” he said. “… Getting outside and biking is one of the healthiest things you can do.”

These Are the New Coronavirus Restrictions Now in Effect in Kankakee, Will Counties

New coronavirus restrictions took effect Wednesday in one of Illinois' 11 healthcare regions that includes south suburban Kankakee and Will counties, which continue to see increases in their testing positivity rates.

Under the new rules, indoor service at both bars and restaurants will be suspended until further notice, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The full list of restrictions is as follows, per the governor's office:


  • No indoor service 
  • All outside bar service closes at 11 p.m.
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside 
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed) 
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart  
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors 
  • Reservations required for each party 
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 


  • No indoor dining or bar service 
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11 p.m.
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart 
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting 
  • Reservations required for each party  
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table 

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity 
  • No party buses 
  • Gaming and casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable 

Region 7, the area in question, reached the level requiring these new COVID-19 mitigation efforts after the region saw its rolling positivity rate meet or exceed the 8% threshold for three consecutive 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, saw 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.

The measures are expected to remain in place for 14 days, and if the positivity rates don't decrease to below 8% during that time, the restrictions could be left in place, or perhaps even expanded.

Chicago's Top Health Official Details How COVID-19 Spreads Most in the City

The city's coronavirus surge can likely be attributed to both traveling and gathering in large groups, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned Tuesday.

Arwady said Chicago officials continue to hear that people traveling from outside Illinois to places such as Wisconsin, Texas, Puerto Rico and Mexico are most commonly bringing back the coronavirus.

Chicago officials have also received reports of family and informal gatherings being a "major source of spread," according to Arwady. She added that out-of-state weddings, birthday parties and funerals have all contributed to Chicago's coronavirus spread.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady warned the public Tuesday that travel outside Illinois and group gatherings without adhering to health guidelines are likely spreading the coronavirus.

"We hear about people playing basketball together in the pool or soccer together in the park. We hear about spread between boyfriends and girlfriends. We hear about family barbecues in the backyard. We hear about people sharing e-cigarettes or sharing drinks and teenagers just hanging out with their friends," Arwady said.

She explained that though these may not seem like major events, officials overwhelmingly contribute them to the recent spread of COVID-19.

Even after receiving a coronavirus test, Arwady said many people are not quarantining while waiting for results to return.

"So, if you've gotten a test, even if you think you've had a mild cold or you're just overworked, you must stay home and you must try to limit contact even within the household," Arwady said. "That could mean wearing masks at home, while you're waiting for some of those test results, especially if you've got someone who's older or is more vulnerable."

Ultimately, Arwady advised Chicago to avoid unnecessary gatherings of any kind and to limit travel if possible during this time, while updating the city's travel order.

Illinois Meets Threshold For Chicago's Travel Order, But City Not Requiring Quarantine

Illinois has reached the metric for which it would be included on Chicago's travel order, but the city won't be requiring a quarantine within the state, public health officials said Tuesday.

"Chicago has decided not to institute restrictions on Illinois," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

As of Tuesday, Chicago was seeing an average daily case rate of 12.6 cases per 100,000 residents, Arwady said. Illinois, meanwhile, was at 15.9.

While she noted the city considered county-by-county restrictions, "realistically we didn't feel it made sense to enforce any quarantine restriction in Illinois."

"None of us in Illinois are really in a place to brag at the moment," Arwady said, noting she would still avoid travel within the state as much as possible.

"We are not imposing any travel restrictions, but we want to highlight people who are traveling through Illinois to pay special attention to wearing masks," she said. "If there is not need to travel, the recommendation would be not to travel."

Illinois Restaurant Patrons Must Wear Masks During Interactions With Staff Under New Guidelines

Patrons at restaurants and bars in Illinois must now wear masks when interacting with wait staff and other employees under new state health guidelines, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday.

The new guidelines require patrons at bars, restaurants and other establishments statewide to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when interacting with staff, state officials said.

This includes when wait staff takes orders, delivers food and beverages or serves tables in general. It applies to indoor and outdoor dining as well as any other facilities with food services areas like indoor recreational facilities, museums and entertainment venues, officials said.

Illinois’ mask mandate applies “even outside,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday, noting that residents should still be wearing masks even if they’re just walking down the street.

"Customers must follow this rule when food and beverages are brought to the table, when orders are placed, and when picking up carry out orders," Pritzker said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"Illinois has had a mask mandate since May 1, and in most establishments people are adhering to it. But it’s important that we treat hospitality employees just as you would in any retail store or establishment," he continued. "This new requirement asks a little bit more of our residents dining out in order to protect their health and safety and that of our frontline hospitality workers, as well."

"Restaurateurs and bar owners want to remain open for business, and this new requirement will help keep people safe while moving the economy forward – that’s a goal we all believe in," Pritzker added.

Already restaurants in the state require workers to wear a face covering while on the job, and had previously required patrons to wear masks while on the premises, except while eating and drinking at their own table or bar. Health officials said Tuesday that the new guidelines "ensure that while seated, interactions between business staff and patrons can happen safely to prevent possible spread of the virus."

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