(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
At least 296 residents of nursing homes across Illinois have died from complications of the coronavirus, state health officials say - though information on those cases is not readily available.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is set to visit a food pantry at an iconic Chicago landmark, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he is considering a statewide requirement for everyone to wear masks in public.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis in Chicago and Illinois today (April 16):
Lightfoot Suggests Pritzker May Announce End of In-Class Instruction for Rest of School Year
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday said she had not discussed keeping schools closed for the rest of the year with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, but suggested Pritzker may make an announcement on the matter later this week.
Lightfoot said the decision to end in-classroom learning for Illinois students due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic is ultimately up to Pritzker.
“We have not had that conversation yet with the governor. Although we are hearing that he may make some kind of announcement later this week,” the mayor said at an unrelated event at Wrigley Field. “Certainly, we’d love to be in conversation with the governor and his team about that before any announcement happens.”
As Wisconsin Extends Stay-at-Home Order, Will Illinois Follow Suit?
With Wisconsin extending its stay-at-home order through May 26, many are asking if Illinois will do the same.
Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order through April 30 and Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said a decision on if it will be extended is coming.
“We talk to our partners in the healthcare community, in the scientific community to try to determine what or how we ought to make sure that we're keeping people safe in the month of May, because we're talking about the end of the order at April 30. So we're continuing to do that and we'll be making [our] decisions over the next several days, I'm sure over the next week," he said.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday extended the state's stay-at-home order that was originally slated to expire next week for another month, keeping non-essential businesses closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the state's stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted on May 1, with Gov. Mike DeWine already laying out a plan to begin reopening. Similarly, Gov. Eric Holcomb in Indiana said the state is preparing to potentially reopen in early May.
125 Coronavirus Deaths Reported in 24 Hours in Illinois, Highest Daily Toll Since Pandemic Began
Illinois reported 125 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours - the state's highest daily toll since the pandemic began - as fatalities associated with the virus top 1,000, officials said Thursday.
With the state preparing to enter its fourth week of a stay-at-home order, the total number of cases reached 25,733. That marks an increase of 1,140 cases from one day earlier.
"These are our family members and loved ones, neighbors and friends," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. "Today, we mourn with their communities and offer them our solace and strength in this difficult time. May their memories be for a blessing."
Midwest Governors Announce Plan to Coordinate on Reopening of Economy
Governors in seven Midwest states, including Illinois, have announced a plan to work together on reopening the regional economy when the coronavirus pandemic begins to subside.
The group includes governors in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky.
“We are doing everything we can to protect the people of our states and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we are eager to work together to mitigate the economic crisis this virus has caused in our region," the group said in a joint statement. "Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet."
296 Illinois Nursing Home Residents Have Died of Coronavirus Complications, Officials Say
As of Wednesday, 305 long-term care facilities in Illinois have reported coronavirus cases and 296 residents of nursing homes have died, state officials said.
That includes the deaths of 22 residents at Symphony of Joliet in the southwest suburbs, officials said Wednesday. A staff member at the home also died after contracting the virus, and 16 other residents tested positive.
Large outbreaks like that in Joliet, or at Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook are often in headlines, but information about other cases is not readily available.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is not releasing the list of facilities affected, citing patient privacy, even though several states have provided that data, according to an NBC News investigation.
Get the latest news on COVID vaccines in your inbox. Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Lightfoot to Visit New Food Pantry Site at Wrigley Field
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will join Chicago Cubs owners Tom and Laura Ricketts to visit to a new Lakeview Pantry satellite site located at Wrigley Field on the city's North Side.
The visit will take place at around 1:40 p.m. CST and can be viewed in the video player above.
The Cubs are partnering with Lakeview Pantry to set up a food packing and distribution center on Wrigley Field's concourse, the team announced earlier this week.
Beginning this week, volunteers will pack groceries and essential items for those financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic six days a week until further notice.
Distribution of these items will begin Saturday at Wrigley Field and will continue to take place from noon until 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday. More details, including how to help, can be found here.
Pritzker Considering Requiring Masks in Public Places During Coronavirus Outbreak
With some municipalities already requiring residents to wear face coverings at Illinois businesses, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said expanding the requirement across the state "might be seriously important for us to consider."
Pritzker, along with state and federal officials across the U.S., have already recommended face coverings for people who have to leave their homes, particularly to go to places like grocery stores, but only some locations have issued requirements.
"I think it's a something that when I look at the mitigation measures that we should be contemplating and making adjustments to, that is one that I think might be seriously important for us to consider, you know, in the period going forward," Pritzker said.
"Look, anything that we can do going forward, that will protect people and at the same time make it more likely that we can have slightly, you know, different conditions for stay-at-home, better conditions, is a good move."
Illinois' Total Number of Coronavirus Cases Climbs to 24,593
State health officials on Wednesday reported 1,346 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 24,593 since the pandemic began.
In addition, 80 peopled died from the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 948 statewide.
Chicago Mayor, Health Officials Say Curve is Flattening in the City
New data suggests the curve of coronavirus cases in Chicago is starting to flatten, Chicago health officials and the city's mayor announced Wednesday, but "we're not out of the woods" just yet.
As the city nears the fourth week of a statewide stay-at-home order, officials revealed cases are doubling every 12 days, compared to every two to three days one month earlier.
Lightfoot said the new data indicates mitigation efforts like social distancing and the closures of several city businesses, trails, events and more "have been effective."
But officials stressed - the crisis in the city is not over and more needs to be done before stay-at-home guidelines can be lifted.
In a press conference Wednesday, Lightfoot outlined four things needed before such restrictions can be lifted. Click here to read more.