coronavirus

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Highest Daily Death Toll, Gov. Staffer Positive, Weather Warning

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today

(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.)

Across Illinois, coronavirus cases continue to spread despite weeks of a statewide stay-at-home order.

But with Tuesday expected to be the area's warmest day of the year so far, officials fear any progress that may have been made over the last few weeks could be set back.

Estimations so far predict the state will reach a peak this month, as patient influx threatens to overwhelm Chicago and Illinois hospitals. Meanwhile, calls for more personal protective equipment continue statewide.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (April 7):

Chicago Firefighter Dies After Contracting Coronavirus

A Chicago firefighter has died due to complications from the novel coronavirus, the department announced Tuesday night.

Firefighter Mario Araujo, who had been with CFD since 2003, passed away after contracting the virus, a spokesman for the department said.

Araujo is believed to be the first Chicago firefighter to die from the virus. A total of 46 firefighters have been diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic began, according to officials.

Chicago Police to Set Up Roadside Safety and Information Checkpoints to Educate Motorists on 'Stay-at-Home' Order

Beginning Tuesday night, Chicago police officers will set up roadside safety checkpoints to educate motorists on the limitations enforced by the state's "stay-at-home" order.

At the checkpoints, officers will give motorists flyers detailing the order. The checkpoints will be set up between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. until Friday morning, and will be set up in all Chicago police districts.

Report: Cluster of COVID-19 Cases at Cook County Jail the Largest in the Nation

Clusters of COVID-19 cases are becoming more common across the United States as the pandemic intensifies, and according to data compiled by the New York Times, a Chicago location has become the hardest-hit site in the entire country. According to the report, the Cook County Jail has accounted for a total of 355 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, the highest total of any single-site in the entire country.

More Than 100 Chicago Police Officers Have Contracted COVID-19, Department Says

The Chicago Police Department has reported 17 additional positive tests for coronavirus, bringing the department’s total to more than 100 cases of the virus since the pandemic began.

Illinois Reports 73 Additional Deaths Due to COVID-19

The state of Illinois has reported its highest single-day increase in deaths related to coronavirus, as 73 additional deaths were reported on Tuesday.

A total of 380 Illinois residents have now died after contracting the virus, according to statistics provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

More than 1,280 new cases of the virus were reported on Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 13,549 since the pandemic began.

Governor's Office Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

At Governor J.B. Pritzker's daily coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday, the governor announced that a member of his office's staff has tested positive for coronavirus.

According to Pritzker, the employee began experiencing symptoms on March 26 and immediately left the premises. All other employees at the governor's office also left for the day, and the entire office was deep-cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines.

The employee's positive COVID-19 test results were returned on Tuesday, according to Pritzker. The employee is still recovering at home and is doing well.

In the 12 days since the employee first experienced symptoms, no other governor's office employees have experienced symptoms.

Chicago Mayor Signs Executive Order on COVID-19 Benefits for Immigrants, Refugees

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an executive order Tuesday "to ensure all COVID-related benefits offered by the city are available to Chicago's immigrants and refugees," her office said.

“This order is more than just an official decree, it is a statement of our values as a city and as Americans,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Since COVID-19 first reached our city’s doorstep, we have been working around the clock to ensure all our residents are secure and supported, including our immigrant and refugee communities, who are among the most vulnerable to the impact of this pandemic. Here in Chicago, saying ‘we are all in this together’ means that during this crisis, no one gets left out and no one gets left behind.”

The plan includes a housing assistance grant program, offering online learning resources for students at all levels and a $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will allow small businesses, including immigrant business owners, to apply for disaster relief cash.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an executive order Tuesday to ensure that the city’s benefits related to the coronavirus pandemic would be made available to all residents regardless of immigration status.

Tuesday Will Be Chicago’s Warmest Day of the Year. Stay Home Anyway, Officials Warn

With the Chicago area set to see highest temperatures of the year so far, health officials say the warm weather comes with a dire warning: Stay at home.

Afternoon highs across the region were expected to climb between 75 and 80 degrees on Tuesday, marking the warmest day of the year so far. While it may be tempting to head outside to enjoy it, experts say venturing out and about could have disastrous consequences during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Please do not go congregate in the park,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference Monday, warning Illinois residents ahead of the warm weather. “It’s fine to walk outside of your home, but do not go meet people.”

IDPH Releases Data by Zip Code

Across Illinois, more than 12,200 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in over 70 of the state's 102 counties.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has broken that number down by zip code, revealing how many cases are in each neighborhood or suburb.

To see a map of cases by zip code, click here, or see a map of cases by county below.

Pritzker Echoes Call to Limit Trips to Grocery Stores

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker echoed federal health officials' recommendation to limit trips to the grocery store and other essential travel as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator of the White House's coronavirus task force, made the suggestion during a briefing Saturday, saying that the next two weeks are "extraordinarily important" in the nation's response to the outbreak.

"This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the 6-feet distancing, washing your hands."

When asked about Birx's recommendation, Pritzker agreed and noted the state's stay-at-home order limiting all non-essential travel through April 30.

"I understand exactly what she's saying, that if you can stock up - and we've talked about this before when we did the stay-at-home order to begin with - that people should try to stock up for a period of time, 14 days if they can," he said. "Certainly the less interaction that people have over an extended period of time, the more likely it is that we're going to be bending this curve."

Cook County Jail Reports First Inmate Death From Coronavirus

An inmate at the Cook County Jail has died from the coronavirus, marking the first virus-related death at the facility, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

The individual, who has not been identified, died of "apparent complications" due to the coronavirus. An official cause of death will be determined following an autopsy, according to the sheriff's office website.

In a tweet, Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said that her office asked for an expedited bond review on the individual and asked for that person to be released before trial, but the requests were denied.

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