Illinois Coronavirus Updates: PPE, Reopening Debate, Mask Mandates

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 continues to battle a rise in coronavirus cases with 10 days left of a statewide stay-at-home order.

Amid questions over how long the stay-at-home order will last, some public officials are calling on the governor to begin reopening the state. Others are issuing their own orders to residents requiring face coverings in public places.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (April 20):

Pritzker ‘Thinking Hard’ About Requiring Face Masks in Public in Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday he has been "thinking hard" about requiring residents to wear face masks outside their homes — days after first saying he was considering the requirement.

Pritzker applauded grocery stores that are doing the "right thing" such as putting down floor markers to encourage people to be at least 6 feet apart. However, he said, the stores that aren't doing so have made him consider a statewide face mask requirement.

"If you're not wearing a mask and you're not keeping socially distant — those two things together lead to people getting sick," Pritzker said.

Illinois May Reopen ‘Region by Region:’ Gov. Pritzker

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he's considering a regional approach to reopening the state's economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

Pritzker said at a news conference Monday that he still hasn't decided if he'll extend the statewide stay-at-home order beyond April 30. When it comes to reopening the state, the governor said he'll weigh factors such as the hospital capacity of a given area and the region's environment.

"There's a lot of distance, as you can imagine, between people's homes in rural areas of Illinois," he stated. "And so, you know, the idea of people going outside and wearing a mask, you know, on a property of theirs that might be 100 acres or 10 acres, you know, is much different than the prospect of somebody, you know, on the North Side or the West Side Chicago."

Coronavirus Illinois: State ‘Prevented Worst Case Scenarios,’ Pritzker Says

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker stated Monday that Illinois and its residents prevented the worst case coronavirus scenarios by social distancing, staying at home and taking other precautionary measures.

At his daily coronavirus press briefing, Pritzker said without social distancing, Illinois would have exceeded its hospital capacity by more than 25,000 beds on April 6.

The governor added that all projections indicate Illinoisans have saved thousands of lives, and the coronavirus curve appears to be bending the right way.

"With the current mitigation strategies in place, we may not have reached our peak yet, but your actions are helping to keep that peak as low as possible," Pritzker said.

Illinois Reports 1,151 New Cases of Coronavirus, 59 Additional Deaths

With 10 days left in Illinois' stay-at-home order, the state reported another rise in cases, lifting the total since the pandemic began to 31,508.

The number marks an additional 1,151 cases since Sunday.

Fifty-nine fatalities were also reported in the last 24 hours. The statewide death toll from the virus now sits at 1,349.

Almost all of Illinois' 102 counties are now reporting cases, with just seven having no cases so far.

Suburban, City Summer Camps Announce Changes Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Already, some locations have announced cancellations or changes to their summer camp scheduling,

Oak Park and River Forest High School announced the youth portion of its annual Summer Camp Program will be canceled this summer.

The decision impacts youth summer camps and the Huskie Swim Camp, the district said, but high school programming is still being reviewing and no decisions have been made.

The Chicago Park District moved its online registration dates for summer from April 20-21 to May 11-12.

"In-person registration will be held once deemed safe by the governor and the CDC," the district said.

More Chicago Suburbs Issue Mask Requirements in Public Places

More Chicago suburbs are issuing orders requiring residents to cover their faces when in public spaces like grocery stores.

Most recently, the mayor of north suburban Niles on Monday issued an executive directive effective immediately requiring face covering for "individuals engaging in any activity outside their place of residence when other people are present." The order includes things like shopping for groceries or working in or visiting businesses that are open to the public. It does not apply to things like outdoor exercise or driving alone in a personal vehicle, however.

Highland Park, Wilmette, Morton Grove and Northbrook also issued similar directives in recent days.

Skokie, Cicero and Glenview began some of the first such orders last week.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker now recommends residents wear masks if they must go outside during the stay-at-home order. Here is an easy no-sew face mask with items you probably already have at home.

Second Airlift of PPE Scheduled to Arrive in Illinois Monday

A second shipment of personal protective equipment was scheduled to arrive in Illinois Monday to assist in the fight against the deadly coronavirus, according to the governor.

The airlifted shipment of millions of masks, gloves and other equipment was expected to arrive via cargo plane from China, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday.

The Illinois National Guard will handle the logistics of all the personal protective equipment in that airlift, Pritzker said, coordinating distribution to healthcare workers and first responders who need it most.

Chicago Mayor to Update on Racial Equity Rapid Response Team

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will provide an update on the latest efforts by the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team "to mitigate the racialized outcomes present in the COVID-19 crisis."

The update is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Northern Illinois Mayors Ask Governor to Allow Reopening

Five northern Illinois mayors have asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker for the authority to reopen businesses next month, urging local control over restrictions and “common sense modifications” to a statewide stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic.

The request comes as protests over the restrictions have taken place at state capitals, including a handful of people demonstrating Sunday in Springfield.

Pritzker said he's continually evaluating a possible extension of the order, which expires April 30, as other states have done.

Suburban Community Mourns Death of Student Likely Caused by Coronavirus

Students and their family members on Sunday reacted to the death of a northwest suburban student whose passing was likely a result of complications related to the novel coronavirus, according to school officials.

The student’s death was confirmed in a letter sent to parents on Saturday by Arlington Heights District 214 Superintendent Dr. David R. Schuler.

In that letter, Schuler said, “It is my unfortunate responsibility to inform you of the passing of one of our students likely due to complications related to COVID 19.”

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