Note: Press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.
How do Illinois' 11 regions and several counties across the Chicago area compare when it comes to seven important coronavirus metrics? See for yourself with a new searchable tool.
One major metric: the state surpassed 200,000 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began on Thursday, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker warns Illinois is at a "make or break moment."
Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around the state today, Aug. 14:
14 Illinois Counties Now at 'Warning Level' for Coronavirus, Health Dept. Says
Fourteen counties in Illinois 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, Cass, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Jefferson, Kane, LaSalle, Moultrie, Perry, Union, Will.
Last week, 13 counties were at a "warning level," four of which remained on the list Friday.
The counties each "saw cases or outbreaks associated with weddings, businesses, birthday parties, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, bars, sports camps, and spread among members of the same household," according to IDPH.
"Public health officials are seeing people in some communities are not wearing masks, or if they are, they are being worn incorrectly," IDPH said in a release. "Local health departments are finding it challenging to obtain the information necessary to halt local transmission, by quickly identifying exposures from contacts of cases and businesses. Inconsistent messaging from local elected leaders are contributing to on-going transmission in some communities where there is little public concern for consequences or enforcement of social distancing, banning large gatherings, or quarantine/isolation orders."
Illinois Reports More Than 2,200 New Cases, Largest Daily Spike in Recent Months
The state of Illinois reported more than 2,200 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the largest daily spike the state has reported in recent months.
According to new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state saw 2,264 new cases and has now recorded a total of 202,691 cases of the virus since the pandemic began.
An additional 25 deaths also lifts the statewide death to 7,721.
Over the last 24 hours, the state has reported 49,541 new tests, an increase from a day earlier. That brings the total number of tests performed in the state to 3,285,348.
Those new test results, one of the state's highest daily test totals so far, keep the state's seven-day positivity rate at 4.1%.
In terms of hospitalizations, Illinois has 126 patients currently on ventilators. A total of 345 patients are currently in intensive care units with 1,612 hospitalized with coronavirus in the state.
The health department singled out Region 4 in the state, also known as the Metro East Region, for its rise in positivity rates, saying it "could surpass the resurgence metrics in the coming days" and warning of potential mitigations.
See How Illinois' Coronavirus Regions and Counties Compare in 7 Key Metrics
How do each of Illinois' 11 regions and several counties across the Chicago area compare when it comes to key coronavirus metrics?
Dive into the most important data with this searchable tool that shows some of the numbers health experts examine when making decisions about potential restrictions and other efforts to slow the pandemic's spread.
Updated every evening, this chart shows the number of cases each county or region has reported in the last seven days and its total number of cases since the pandemic began.
The chart also shows each area's current positivity rate in testing, as well as two important figures adjusted for population: the total number of cases per 100,000 people, as well as the rolling average daily new case count per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.
Public health experts say that latter figure is considered the norm to examine any trendline and could signal a "hot spot" for spread of the virus. It's also the threshold that some local and state officials are using to determine which states should be placed on any list for which travelers are required to quarantine when entering their jurisdiction.
This chart also shows the metrics for three states overall - Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin - at the top to allow for easy analysis of how a particular region or county is faring in comparison with the rest of the state.
Illinois Surpasses 200K Coronavirus Cases With More Than 1,800 Reported Thursday
The state of Illinois reported 1,834 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, along with 24 additional deaths attributed to the virus. Those figures lifted the statewide total number of cases to more than 200,000 since the pandemic began.
According to new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the state has now recorded a total of 200,427 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, with 7,696 fatalities reported.
Over the last 24 hours, the state has reported 46,006 new tests, an increase from a day earlier. That brings the total number of tests performed in the state to 3,235,807.
Those new test results drop the state's seven-day positivity rate just slightly to 4%, from 4.1% the day before.
In terms of hospitalizations, Illinois has 127 patients currently on ventilators. A total of 383 patients are currently in intensive care units with 1,628 hospitalized with coronavirus in the state.
The news comes as several areas of the state see spikes in positivity rates and in case numbers. Five of Illinois' 11 health care regions are reporting increases in positivity rates, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned Wednesday, cautioning that the state is at a "make or break moment" in the fight against the pandemic.
Sen. Durbin Plans to Fight for Relief Funding for Navy Pier as Future Uncertain
With Navy Pier facing a massive budget shortfall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leading to questions about the Chicago icon's future, Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday said he plans to fight for relief funding.
Durbin, on a call with members of the Board of Directors, said he would "continue to fight for additional relief for Navy Pier, which employs hundreds of people," his office said.
"Navy Pier is an iconic part of Chicago," Durbin said in a statement. "It supports hundreds of jobs and provides entertainment for Illinoisans and Chicago's visitors to enjoy every year. Sadly, the pier has faced grave uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, I told Navy Pier that I would fight for additional relief funding so this Chicago landmark is here for years to come."
Navy Pier is facing a $20 million deficit in its budget due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the iconic Chicago attraction to explore its options, which includes a potential closure, a spokesperson said.
According to Communications Director Payal Patel, "no decisions related to closures have been made as of yet."
"Navy Pier is simply exploring and considering some options at this time to help preserve the long-term vitality of the Pier," Patel said.
In a statement, Navy Pier said the loss of earnings "has been devastating to the organization's budget," citing the ongoing closure of the pier's iconic Centennial Wheel and other attractions as well as decreased parking revenue, rent relief for tenants and the cancellations of all private events.
The pier was forced to close from March 17 through June 10 "to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic." Since then, it has implemented a phased reopening plan that has seen the return of 15-20% of its typically summer attendance.
"Our hope was that once we reopened, revenues would be restored at a more sustainable level. Unfortunately, that has not been realized," the statement read.
The pier has since implemented "financial adjustments" to help limit costs, including the firing of 20% of its employees. The pier's president and CEO has taken a 44% pay reduction and all executive leadership saw reductions of 33%, according to the statement. Several full-time administrative staff members were also furloughed, renovations postponed, hiring suspended and budgets cut.
"These decisions are not ones that were made lightly and were done after a long and careful review of the Pier’s projected financials with knowledge that many good people would be affected," the pier said in a statement. "As an organization that cares deeply about its employees, we held off on making these changes for as long as our finances would allow."
Patel said decisions on future plans are expected in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the pier said it plans to continue operating "to the best our abilities."
"Our hope is that with support from Chicagoans and the donor community, we will emerge from this crisis restored, renewed and stronger," the statement read. "We are on the path to a new era for Navy Pier, and we are working towards transforming this distressing situation into one of resilience and new opportunities as we continue to bring to life the vision for the Pier."
Illinois Health Department Releases New Coronavirus Guidance for Schools
The Illinois State Board of Education and the state's public health department on Wednesday released new guidance for schools as they prepare for the start of the new school year during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new guidance offers a more detailed look at how schools should handle various situations, such as if a student gets sick, or when to close down a building.
Here's a look at some of the frequently asked questions and the latest answers, which officials note are "subject to change based on new information and updates to existing CDC guidance."
Click here to see more.
5 Illinois Regions Seeing Increases in Positivity Rate, Pritzker Says
Several Illinois regions are reporting increases in their positivity rates, prompting a warning from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
"Across the state, our 11 Restore Illinois regions are trending in different directions, the majority of which are negative," Pritzker said Wednesday.
The regions seeing increases in positivity rates as of Tuesday were 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9 - three of which include multiple Chicago-area counties. Meanwhile, regions 1, 5, 10 and 11, which includes Chicago, held steady with the same average as one week ago and regions 6 and 8, which include some western Chicago suburbs, saw slight declines.
"I want to emphasize again that local officials should pay close attention to the data for their communities and where necessary step up and impose greater mitigations on a targeted basis to bring down the number of infections and the positivity rate. Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before the state will be forced to step in and roll things back on a regional basis – something none of us wants."
Pritzker Says Mask Mandate Applies Even While 'Outside and Walking Around'
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.
"Even outside, if you're outside and walking around and can't maintain social distance - which by the way, on a typical busy street in the city of Chicago, you can't maintain social distance without a mask, you just can't," Pritzker said. "People walking by each other that you're coming in close proximity to, someone who, by the way, is facing you and people in front of you who might be aspirating or they might be coughing or, you know, sneezing or whatever - those particles remain in the air. And if you don't wear a mask, and if they're not wearing a mask, then there is a much easier ability to transmit the virus."
Pritkzer noted that the statewide mask mandate doesn't only apply to public spaces indoors. He added that the outdoor concerns still matter in rural parts of the state, as well.
"It's very important even in rural areas of Illinois. If you're going to another area, town, you know, like a business or gathering spot for people in your area and (if) you're going to be in close proximity with people, then wear a face cover," he said.
Chicago, Illinois Facing a ‘Make or Break' Moment to Avoid New Coronavirus Outbreaks: Pritzker
Calling it a “make or break moment” for Chicago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that recent increases in coronavirus numbers illustrate the need to take concerted action to keep the city from returning to a place where it is once again a hotspot for the coronavirus.
Pritzker, hosting a coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday, was asked about a recent report that indicated that Chicago was one of several major cities that could see a spike in coronavirus cases in coming months if mitigation efforts aren’t undertaken quickly.
“You’ve seen me and heard me say that this is a make or break moment for Illinois and the city of Chicago. We’re doing everything we can in this process,” he said.
The governor was specifically asked about models published by PolicyLab, a think tank at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Those models, whose findings were published in the Daily Beast, predicted that Chicago, Baltimore and Boston all could potentially become coronavirus hotspots as the country moves into autumn.
According to models published by PolicyLab, residents of the Chicago metro area are not “social distancing at anything near the rate needed to curb the spread” of coronavirus, and also cited modest, but not sufficient, reductions in visits to non-essential businesses, as the basis for their theory that Chicago could see a spike in cases.
While Chicago isn’t seeing the type of positivity rate increases that other areas of the state are, increasing from 4.8% to 5% over the last two weeks, Pritzker says that keeping ahead of the curve in terms of a spike in cases is a key to avoid fresh outbreaks in an area.
“We’re encouraging local efforts at mitigations, because that can have an enormous impact,” he said. “That’s why the rule we got passed is so important. That’s one more step in a series of steps along a path to make sure we don’t become a hotspot.”
That new rule will allow local law enforcement and health departments to give warnings to businesses violating state coronavirus orders, including mask mandates and social distancing guidelines. The rule was upheld by a group of Illinois legislators this week, paving the way for businesses to be assessed fines if they fail to comply with the restrictions.
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