(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.)
A fight over masks inside a suburban store turned physical, ending in charges for one woman.
Plus, another Chicago restaurant has closed its doors temporarily after reporting an employee tested positive for coronavirus.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (July 7):
Illinois Reports 587 New Coronavirus Cases, 37 Additional Deaths
Illinois health officials say that 587 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed statewide over the last 24 hours, with 37 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 148,452 cases of the virus have been confirmed since the pandemic began. Tuesday’s death total brings the number of fatalities statewide to 7,063.
Deaths in recent days had declined considerably, with just six deaths reported on Sunday and on Monday. In fact, Tuesday’s death toll is just under what had been reported in the last four days combined by state health officials.
The state’s rolling positivity rate declined once again, as that rate now stands at 2.5 percent after 26,994 additional tests were reported Tuesday. That brings the state’s total number of tests to 1,809,834 during the pandemic.
According to state health officials, 1,385 individuals are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 320 currently in intensive care units. Just 153 are currently on ventilators, according to state data.
The state’s recovery rate, defined as the percentage of individuals who are reporting no COVID-19 symptoms more than six weeks from the date of their first positive test, stands at 94 percent.
DuPage County Health Department Encourages Self-Quarantine for Travelers
The DuPage County Health Department is encouraging anyone who travels out of Illinois to quarantine to 14 days, but it stopped short of issuing an emergency order like the one that began in Chicago this week.
The health department warned that such "recommendations are critical in assuring that our community members continue to reduce the risk of spreading."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19."
For those who do travel, DuPage health officials said they should:
- Wear a mask in public and when around people who don’t live in your household
- Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently
- Watch distance in order to maintain at least 6 feet from others as much as possible
In addition, those who do travel, especially to states currently seeing increase coronavirus transmission, are "encouraged to self-quarantine" for 14 days and monitor their health.
Chicago issued an emergency travel order that took effect Monday morning, directing anyone who visits one of 15 states in the U.S. currently experiencing a rise in coronavirus cases to quarantine for 14 days.
How Risky Is Dining Out During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
How risky is dining out during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There is some risk, but health officials say there are precautions you can take to minimize the chances you'll be exposed to the virus.
Ordering takeout or delivery is still the safest option for getting restaurant food, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you decide to eat at a restaurant, it's best to opt for outdoor seating where tables are at least 6 feet apart, the agency says. Dining inside a restaurant that hasn't reduced its capacity or safely distanced tables poses the most risk, it says.
The coronavirus spreads through droplets that are emitted when people talk, laugh, sing, cough or sneeze. Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces because it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation, the CDC says.
Diners should assess what other safety steps the restaurant is taking.
For example, servers should be wearing masks and the restaurant should have a process to ensure people are not congregating too closely while waiting for a table, says Dr. Susan Casey Bleasdale, an infectious disease expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Digital or disposable menus and throwaway utensils are also preferable, according to the CDC. The agency says touchless payment options, like those available on your mobile device, are optimal. Otherwise, restaurants should have procedures for avoiding hand-to-hand contact with cash and credit cards.
If you are gathering at a restaurant with a group, Bleasdale suggests only dining with people you know, and checking if they have been feeling sick or experiencing any symptoms.
People more vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, such as the elderly, might want to avoid eating out at restaurants altogether.
Why Chicago Isn't Opening Its Beaches and Pools Just Yet
With Chicago's summer heat in full force, the city's popular beaches and pools, a typical destination for keeping cool, remain closed and there's no sign they'll be reopening any time soon.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday explained why.
Though other states opened beaches and pools recently, Lightfoot explained that "they are ripe for congregate gathering and not social distancing."
"Given where we are, which is progress, but we have some concerns," Lightfoot said. "We're not going to take any steps that could really tip us over or tip us backwards."
The mayor said she is mindful that Chicago is expected to see several days of 90 degree heat this week, but for now, beaches and swimming pools will remain closed.
Another Chicago Restaurant Temporarily Closes After Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus
Another Chicago restaurant on the city's North Side has temporarily closed after announcing an employee tested positive for coronavirus over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Replay Beer & Bourbon in the city's Andersonville neighborhood said a member of their waitstaff notified them Saturday night that they had tested positive for the virus despite showing no symptoms. The employee was being tested "for another purpose," but was removed from Replay's schedule and did not have extended contact with other staff or guests while working, the restaurant said.
"While it is stressful knowing that someone on our team tested positive for COVID-19, as said above, we have been consistently operating assuming that it could be present, as every business should be, and taking the precautions needed to keep our staff and guests safe," a post on the restaurant's Facebook page read. "We will continue attempting to go the extra mile to support the comfort of our staff and guests, and are arranging to make testing available for staff members, as well. We will continue to seek the advice of professionals in the scientific community within our government and work to ensure that our actions are reflective of our concern for the safety and well-being of our staff and the public."
The restaurant closed at 5 p.m. Sunday and plans to reopen Friday "allowing our management team a much needed break and to make up for time off that all of us had planned for but lost due to COVID-19 and our reopening."
McHenry Woman Arrested After Fight About Face Masks at Home Depot
A suburban McHenry resident was arrested Friday after a disagreement about face masks turned into a fight at Home Depot, police said.
At approximately 4:58 p.m. on July 3, McHenry Police Department officers were called to Home Depot, 2461 N. Richmond Rd., for the report of a disturbance between two individuals, according to a news release.
Police stated two female customers got into a disagreement about facial coverings, and the situation turned into a physical altercation. Minor injuries were reported, however no one was taken to the hospital.
One person reported a woman said "she believed in white power" before the disturbance turned physical.
The woman, who has been identified as Teri Hill, 54, of McHenry, was arrested on one count of battery and one count of disorderly conduct. She was released on personal recognizance bond and is set to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 19.
A spokesperson for Home Depot directed NBC 5 to law enforcement for information about the incident. When we called the Home Depot location in McHenry Monday, an employee who answered the phone said shoppers aren't required to wear masks.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call McHenry police at 815-363-2599.