coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Modified Stay-at-Home Order, Protests, Highest Daily Rise

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.)

Illinois began another 30 days under a statewide stay-at-home order, but this time, things have changed.

Some businesses can resume under the new order, but where certain restrictions are eased, others are heightened.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 1):

Illinois to Launch Coronavirus Contract Tracing Program in Coming Weeks

The state of Illinois plans to start a contact tracing program in the coming weeks as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday.

Contact tracing, the process of identifying and assessing people who’ve been exposed to a given disease, is a critical tool to reduce the spread rate of coronavirus and speed up diagnoses, Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus news briefing.

He said public health officials hope to shape a "massive operation" which could eventually include around 3,800 contract tracers — one worker for every 10,000 residents.

Some Parts of Illinois Could Reopen Before May 30, Pritzker Says

With Illinois staring down another 30 days of a statewide stay-at-home order, Gov. J.B. Pritzker acknowledged Friday that some cities could reopen before May 30, depending on their infection and hospitalization rates.

"Yes. We absolutely are looking at all of the hospitalization numbers," Pritzker said Friday, the same day his modified order took effect. "It has to do with - how many hospital beds are available if there's a surge? How many ICU beds are available if there's a surge? How many ventilators are available in that area if there's a surge? It's one thing to say well half of our hospital beds or icu beds are available but if that number is 35, right? That's a very small number and if the population is such that the 35 beds wouldn't be able to cover that population if there's a surge, then we are concerned about an area. It has to do with much more than just a population in an area and has a great deal to do with how much healthcare is available."

Pritzker said an area must also see 14-day declines, as outlined by federal guidelines.

"If it's heading down the other side of this slide that even the national plan proposed - that is, if it's 14 days on a downslide of those numbers - then absolutely," he said.

Illinois Reports Largest Daily Rise in Cases as New Stay-at-Home Order Takes Effect

On the same day Illinois' modified stay-at-home order took effect, the state reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily increase in the state since the pandemic began.

There were 3,137 additional cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, health officials announced. That brings the state total to 56,055.

The state also reported an additional 105 fatalities, lifting the total number of deaths associated with the virus to 2,457.

April 30 briefing: Dr. Ngozi Ezike details the latest coronavirus case totals for Illinois.

Protesters Gather in Chicago's Loop, Calling for Return to Work

A group of protesters gathered in Chicago's Loop Friday to call on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to come up with a plan to reopen Illinois' economy. (Watch live above)

As of the morning hours, the group consisted of a few dozen people, some wearing masks and holding signs that read "We Demand Illinois Opens Now" and "Let Freedom Ring." That crowd grew bigger as the afternoon arrived, with more than 100 people believed in attendance.

"We need to balance safety and economic concerns," said Chicago teacher Froy Jimenez. "It shouldn't be exaggerated and it shouldn't be extremes.

The demonstration is the latest in a series of protests around the country against stay-at-home orders, which are aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus. A corresponding rally was expected to take place in Springfield Friday.

New Stay-at-Home Order Takes Effect: Here’s What’s Changing

There's a new stay-at-home order now in effect through May 30 in Illinois.

The order brings changes that allow state parks, greenhouses, dog groomers and golf courses to open, with restrictions. Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.

But it also brings changes for "essential businesses" like occupancy limits, social distancing requirements and face masks for all, including employees.

All residents over the age of 2 will be required to wear face masks, unless medically unable, when in public spaces where social distancing isn't possible.

Here's a full breakdown of the changes.

Ravinia Cancels Summer Concert Season Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Ravinia has canceled its 2020 summer concert season for the first time since the Great Depression due to the coronavirus pandemic, the music venue announced Friday.

"Our lengthy and thorough discourse on this topic has brought us to the conclusion that it is impossible to move ahead with the season," Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman said in a statement.

The outdoor venue in suburban Highland Park was scheduled to hold more than 120 events between June and September, the festival said, including the annual summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Face Mask Stolen From Art Institute Lion

A face mask adorning one of the iconic lion statues at the entrance of the Art Institute of Chicago was stolen Thursday evening, less than 24 hours after the symbolic masks were applied.

An Art Institute security guard saw two males get out of a black Chevrolet sedan about 10:55 p.m. and proceed to climb onto one of the statues at the museum, 111 S. Michigan Ave., according to Chicago police. They cut the mask from the lion’s head and fled in the car.

No one is in custody, police said.

Illinois Casinos to Stay Closed Until Further Notice

The Illinois Gaming Board has decreed the state's casinos will remain closed and its video gambling terminals will remain dark "until further notice'' was the state fight to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, officials announced Thursday.

Gaming board administrator Marcus Fruchter says the agency will consult public health professionals and review conditions before video and casino gambling will be allowed to resume.

Gambling in Illinois has been suspended since March 16. Fruchter announcement marks the third extension of the shutdown.

Illinois Casino Gaming Association executive director Tom Swoik said casino operators are hopeful they'll be able to restart operations June 1. He estimates the state's 10 casinos have lost about $100 million during the six weeks they've been closed, putting more than 5,000 employees out of work.

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