Note: Press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.
Illinois officials have divided the state from four into 11 new regions to better tailor the coronavirus response and mitigation efforts, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a dire warning, particularly focused on young people, asking everyone to follow public health guidance as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around Illinois today, July 14:
Coronavirus Cases Spike Among Residents Between Ages of 10 and 19 in Illinois
With Illinois seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases, health officials across the state say that cases among younger residents are largely driving that increase.
According to Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, cases among residents between the ages of 10 and 19 are rising to rates that haven’t been seen thus far in the pandemic.
“You’ve never seen this high rate for the 10-to-19 (demographic),” she said during a Wednesday press conference. “That is new in terms of the numbers climbing over time. They’re now at the highest rate they’ve ever had from the beginning of this pandemic.”
According to numbers provided by the governor's press office, there have been at least 100 cases reported among Illinois residents between the ages of 10 and 19 on seven of the last eight days, including 158 new cases in that demographic on July 11.
Prior to that run of new cases, there had been just one day since June 1 that had seen at least 100 cases in that age group.
Chicago Zip Code Seeing Highest Increase in COVID-19 Cases in Young People
Chicago health officials repeated their warnings that younger populations are now testing positive for coronavirus at an accelerated rate, but one city zip code was cited as having the biggest increase in recent days.
According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, the city saw new cases in virtually every zip code within the last week. She noted as well, that a majority of those cases were in the 18-to-29-year-old cohort.
The zip code seeing the highest amount of new cases in that age group in the last week was 60614 in the Lincoln Park area, Arwady said.
"The bottom line is we're seeing these cases throughout the city," Arwady said. "Where we're seeing changes in COVID cases is again in that 18 to 29. For the most recent week, we see the increase again, in that Lincoln Park area as well as in New City in the south."
Since June 15, nearly 30% of Chicago's new coronavirus cases have come from that age group, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
"If you are in the 18-to-29-year-old cohort, you are catching COVID-19, you are getting sick," Lightfoot said, "And you're not only putting yourself at risk, you're putting every single person that you come into contact with at risk as well."
These Are the Metrics Illinois Will Use to Determine if a Region Must Roll Back
Illinois has a new plan aimed at guarding the state's progress in the fight against coronavirus, with officials threatening to roll back reopening plans for regions that reach a certain set of metrics.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday revealed new health boundaries and criteria that could force a region to implement restrictions "to prevent a renewed spread of COVID-19."
The new plan features three tiers of "general and industry-specific mitigations that can be acted upon." It also features a restructuring of the health regions the state has been using since the state started its reopening plan.
“This plan ensures we are looking at all available data to make timely decisions to protect the health of our communities,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “By assessing key metrics that indicate both the disease burden and the capacity of each COVID-19 region to respond, we can then take targeted actions within specific regions to help mitigate the spread of this deadly disease while keeping as much of our state open as possible.”
According to the governor's office, the following metrics will be used to determine "when the spread of the virus in a region requires additional mitigations":
- Sustained increase in 7-day rolling average (7 out of 10 days) in the positivity rate and one of the following severity indicators:
- Sustained 7-day increase in hospital admissions for a COVID-19 like illness
- Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)
- OR three consecutive days averaging ≥ 8% positivity rate
Some of the so-called mitigation strategies may include restrictions for indoor bars and restaurants, which would be "automatically applied in a region that meets resurgence criteria."
"A larger list of mitigation strategies relating to settings like retail, fitness, and salons and personal care will be available if testing and contact tracing data at the local level indicate those mitigations to be prudent," the governor's office stated.
Illinois Divided Into 11 Separate Regions for Coronavirus Response, Pritzker Announces
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that the state will be further divided from four into 11 separate regions to allow health officials to apply a more focused approach to each area's coronavirus response as the pandemic continues.
The 11 new regions, and the counties they include, are as follows:
- NORTH: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago
- NORTH-CENTRAL: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Woodford
- WEST-CENTRAL: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott
- METRO EAST: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
- SOUTHERN: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, Williamson
- EAST-CENTRAL: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermillion
- SOUTH SUBURBAN: Kankakee, Will
- WEST SUBURBAN: DuPage, Kane
- NORTH SUBURBAN: Lake, McHenry
- SUBURBAN COOK: Suburban Cook
- CHICAGO: City of Chicago
Any restrictions imposed or mitigation efforts applied to slow the spread of the coronavirus will be done so in each of these specific regions individually moving forward, Pritzker says.
Illinois Reports Nearly 1,200 New Coronavirus Cases, 8 Additional Deaths Wednesday
Health officials in Illinois confirmed more than 1,100 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, along with eight additional deaths.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 1,187 new cases were reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total of cases during the pandemic to 156,693.
Wednesday's death toll brings the number of fatalities related to COVID-19 to 7,226, according to health officials.
In all, 38,161 new specimens were returned to laboratories in the state, bringing the total to 2,079,601 since the pandemic began.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate sits at just over three percent, according to health officials.
Hospitalization numbers did inch up slightly, with 1,454 hospitalizations for COVID-19. Of those patients, 324 were in intensive care units, and 130 patients were on ventilators as of Tuesday evening.
Lightfoot Says Chicago Is ‘Dangerously Close to Going Back'
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday that the city is "dangerously close" to reversing course on some of the progress made in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
"Right now we are on the precipice. We are dangerously close to going back to a dangerous state of conditions," Lightfoot said during a news conference alongside Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.
Lightfoot has said in recent days that she will not hesitate to reimpose some of the restrictions put in place in the earlier months of the pandemic should coronavirus cases and metrics continue to rise - a point she reiterated on Wednesday with a strong warning.
"Some of you have joked that I'm like the mom who will turn the car around when you're acting up. No friends, it's actually worse," Lightfoot said. "I won't just turn the car around. I'm gonna shut it off, kick you out and I'm gonna make you walk home. That's who I am. That's who I must be for you and everyone else in this city to make sure that we continue to be safe."
"I don't want to be that person if I don't have to - but I will if you make me," she continued.
More details can be found here.
36 Lake Zurich Students Test Positive for COVID-19 After Camp
Athletes at a suburban high school are being told to self-quarantine after three dozen students tested positive for coronavirus in recent days.
According to a press release from the Lake County Health Department, 36 students from Lake Zurich High School have tested positive for coronavirus, and as a result officials are asking all participants of the high school’s athletic camps to self-quarantine for 14 days.
According to officials, Lake Zurich High School began holding athletic camps on July 6. During the intake prospect at the camp, multiple students were turned away during health screenings because they had symptoms of COVID-19, and other students began experiencing symptoms during the day and were sent home.
The next day, all camps at the school were closed until further notice, and case investigations and contact tracing efforts were launched to determine the spread of the virus.
In all, 36 students have tested positive for the virus so far. Officials say that the students contracted the virus after attending the camp, or possibly after attending social gatherings in recent days.
After the first round of initial test results were confirmed, officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health contracted with a private company to run a mobile testing site at the high school on Saturday. More than 350 individuals were tested throughout the day, according to the Lake County Health Department.
More details can be found here.
Lightfoot Says Update From CPS on Fall Schooling Coming This Week
With several Illinois school districts already releasing their reopening plans, Chicago Public Schools has yet to announce a plan of its own.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the district plans to release "framework" later this week.
"Chicago Public Schools reopens right after Labor Day and anybody sitting here in the middle of July, that thinks that they have a crystal ball and can tell you with any degree of certainty what the world is going to look like then I think is foolish," Lightfoot told MSNBC in an interview Tuesday. "But the reality is we've got to prepare. So our Chicago Public Schools is going to be releasing later this week, a framework that's going to be a starting point for conversation, particularly with parents and other people in the school community that are vital to any kind of reopening strategy."
Lightfoot Says Chicago Paying Close Attention to Midwest States as Travel Order Expands
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is paying close attention to its Midwest neighbors as the travel order continues to be evaluated each week.
Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio were all added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut’s quarantine list this week as they report a spike in cases. Iowa was also added to Chicago's order, beginning Friday.
The Chicagoland Youth Football League Cancels 2020 Fall Season
Thousands of youth football players won’t be hitting the gridiron this fall, as The Chicagoland Youth Football League has formally canceled its 2020 fall football season.
The league’s board made the decision in a unanimous vote at a meeting on Tuesday night.
“The decision was made after many thoughtful meetings, conversations, consultations and discussions with our member communities that have taken place over the past several weeks,” the league said in a statement. “It is also a stark reminder of the impact that this global virus continues to bestow upon all of us across the world.”
The league draws more than 8,000 players from 46 different suburbs each season, and is considered one of the largest youth football leagues in the country.
Pritzker Says He ‘Will Not Hesitate' to Close Bars, Indoor Dining Again If Coronavirus Metrics Keep Climbing
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that he "will not hesitate" to bring back regulations previously put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus across the state, including closing bars and indoor dining at restaurants, should health officials find it necessary.
Pritzker was asked at a news conference about whether he's considering shutting down indoor service at restaurants and bars again as coronavirus cases continue to rise - and at what point those restrictions would be reinstated.
"We're watching these numbers very, very closely. I don't wake up on any day and not look at those numbers first thing," Pritzker said. "We've been very measured about how we've reopened our state, and there are many people that complain that where we are now isn't open enough. And so I would just say that I will not hesitate to reimpose some mitigations if we see our numbers moving upward."
Indoor service at bars and restaurants was shut down in mid-March, and remained closed through late June, when the state entered phase four of its reopening plan.
"My concern, again, is all about the health and safety of the people of the state of Illinois," Pritzker added.
But when pressed on what the metrics - number of cases, positivity rate in testing or any other indicator - would be for him to reimpose those restrictions, Pritzker demurred.
"I listen to our Department of Public Health director as well as to the many epidemiologists who are advising us and watching very closely the states in the South and the West that are struggling right now and wondering, 'Where could we or should we dial, you know, turn the dimmer switches, they say, on some of these items?'" he said.
Chicago Adds 2 States to Travel Order
Chicago has added two additional states to its travel order, which requires travelers visiting or returning to the city from certain states to quarantine for 14 days.
Beginning Friday, the order will now include Iowa and Oklahoma, according to the city's website.
Chicago first issued an emergency travel order for 15 states just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The order took effect on July 6.
States included in the order at that time were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said travelers entering or returning to Chicago from "states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases" will need to quarantine "for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state."
The order is set to remain in effect until further notice and the list of states is slated to be evaluated every Tuesday.
More details can be found here.
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