(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.)
With Illinois' stay-at-home order now in effect through May, residents are being forced to adjust to life at home in a new way.
But changes are coming.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (April 24):
Pritzker 'Hopes' Illinois Can Begin Reopening by June
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday he's hopeful the state can begin reopening by June, possible even sooner.
The statement comes one day after Pritzker announced plans to extend a statewide stay-at-home order through May 30.
"I hope [reopening[ could occur before the end of May," Pritzker said, noting that a potential reopening would likely be gradual.
Pritzker had previously discussed reopening the state on a region-by-region basis.
"I think that the new normal that occurs here -and you know, I hope that it could occur before the end of May, but again, it will be all based on, you know, whether people are getting sicker and where we are in the curve - but the fact is that I will be making decisions about how to phase out the new normal that's going to occur at the end of May, or that is occurring even now that we're evolving into new normal," Pritzker said. "It's something that we're going to have to figure out as we go because the researchers honestly are still figuring it out, too. So, believe me, I'm just as committed as everyone else is to getting out of a stay-at-home order and getting things back to normal."
Illinois Surpasses 10K Test Milestone, Reaches 16,124 in Single Day
Illinois' daily coronavirus testing reached an important milestone Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced.
The state finally surpassed its goal of 10,000 daily tests, exceeding that number by a large margin with 16,124 tests reported.
"Surpassing 10,000 tests is an important milestone, not only because it allows us to isolate more of those who are COVID-positive so they don’t spread the infection, but also because it moves us in the direction of expanding our surveillance for outbreaks," Pritzker said. "More testing means we can potentially lower the infection rate, so we’re going to continue to work to push that number up. Our ability to test and get results quickly is key to our ability to map the presence of this virus and to gradually reduce our mitigation measures and get more people back to work. In the face of this virus, testing is really key to everything else we need to do to get Illinois moving again. There’s still more work to do to maintain and build on this progress, but reaching and surpassing the 10,000 mark is a great first step."
Illinois Reports Highest Amount of Daily Coronavirus Cases as State Count Nears 40K
Illinois' total number of coronavirus cases climbed to near 40,000 Friday as the state saw its highest number of new daily cases related to the virus.
The state reported 2,724 new cases since Thursday.
"This is the largest 24-hour increase to date," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, adding, however that the increase comes amid a significant rise in testing.
There were also 108 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities associated with the virus in the state to 1,795.
Dog Grooming Can Resume Under Modified Stay-at-Home Order in Illinois
Good news for pet owners: animal grooming services will soon be allowed to reopen.
Groomers have now been deemed an "essential business" under Illinois' amended stay-at-home order, which takes effect May 1 and continues through May 30.
They are among several businesses being allowed to reopen under the modified order.
Southern Illinois Lawmaker Sues Governor for Stay-Home Order
A southern Illinois state lawmaker filed a lawsuit Thursday against Gov. J.B. Pritzker for extending the state’s stay-at-home order in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Republican State Rep. Darren Bailey of Xenia claims in the lawsuit filed in Clay County Circuit Court that Pritzker has exceeded his authority and is violating the civil rights of the state’s residents. Pritzker on Thursday extended his stay-at-home order through May 30 as the highly contagious COVID-19 continued to infect thousands in the state.
"Enough is enough!" Bailey said in a statement. "I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life.”
Aurora’s Coronavirus Testing Site Reaches Capacity 2 Minutes After Opening
A new coronavirus testing site that opened at the Chicago Premium Outlets mall in Aurora reached capacity almost immediately after opening Friday, according to the area's police department.
The new drive-thru facility, run by the Illinois National Guard with help from the Aurora Police Department, opened at 8 a.m. By 8:02 a.m., the police department said the facility had "reached capacity for today and has closed."
It is expected to reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Weekend Parking Lot Closure Begins Saturday at 6 Popular Cook County Forest Preserves
Parking lots at six popular Cook County forest preserves will be closed on weekends to prevent overcrowding and violations of Illinois' stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic, the county announced Friday.
The parking lot closure will be implemented on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting Saturday at Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village; Maple Lake and Saganashkee Slough in the Palos Preserves near Willow Springs; Catherine Chevalier Woods and LaBagh Woods in Chicago; and Bunker Hill in Niles.
“It’s in response to the fact that people are not observing social distancing," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said at a press conference Friday, adding, "we don’t want the preserves to be a contributor in the spread of the pandemic.”
More Suburbs Begin Mask Mandates Ahead of Statewide Order
A number of Chicago suburbs that have issued mask mandates that will begin Friday and into the weekend ahead of the statewide order set to take effect on May 1.
At least 20 Chicago suburbs have issued such mandates, some of which take effect Friday and Saturday. Full list here.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the requirement will become a statewide order beginning May 1 and continuing through May 30.
Under the stay-at-home order, individuals must wear a "face-covering or mask when in a public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance." It applies to anyone over the age of 2 "who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask."
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