(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.)
Dozens of people have been arrested or cited in Chicago for violating the statewide stay-at-home order.
Meanwhile, over the long holiday weekend many residents crossed the border into Indiana, where restrictions have eased further to enjoy the long holiday weekend.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 26):
Chicago Announces Guidelines for Businesses to Reopen in Phase 3
Chicago won't be transitioning into phase three of its reopening plan along with the rest of Illinois, but the city on Tuesday released guidelines for businesses as it prepares to ease restrictions in early June.
The industry-specific guidelines include plans to help childcare centers, non-lakefront parks, libraries, offices, hotels, outdoor attractions retailers and more open their doors when the city does enter its next stage.
Read more here.
Pritzker Says Numbers Trending ‘in a Good Direction’ as Phase Three of Reopening Plan Nears
With the state of Illinois set to move forward into Phase Three of the “Restore Illinois” plan this week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that despite reopening more portions of the state’s economy, coronavirus case numbers and hospitalizations are continuing to trend in the right direction.
According to Pritzker, the state is doing well in all three metrics being tracked in the “Restore Illinois” plan: a positivity rate of below 20 percent, stable hospitalization numbers and a hospital bed availability of at least 14 percent.
Pritzker announced Tuesday that the statewide positivity rate in coronavirus tests has averaged just 9.2 percent over the last seven days after hitting a high water-mark of 23 percent in late April.
Hospitalizations, which have been holding steady in recent weeks, are also declining and are at a six-week low, according to the governor. Nearly 1,000 fewer beds are currently in use by COVID-19 patients than were being used in recent weeks, according to the governor, and more than 30 percent of the state’s ICU beds are currently available in the event of a surge in cases.
Blackhawks to Face Oilers in NHL Playoff Tournament if Season Resumes
The NHL has become the first major American sports league to announce its plans for a resumption of play, as the league intends to conduct a 24-team playoff tournament beginning this summer.
Assuming all goes according to plan, the tournament would start in mid-to-late July, with 12 teams from each conference qualifying for the tournament. The teams would be divided into two different hub cities, with Chicago listed as a potential contender for the role, and then would play games until two Stanley Cup finalists are determined.
As things stand now, the Blackhawks would play the Edmonton Oilers in a play-in round, and if they were to win the best-of-five series, they would advance to play one of the top four teams in the Western Conference.
1,178 New Coronavirus Cases Reported in Illinois as Deaths Near 5,000
With much of Illinois just days away from the next phase of reopening, the state reported more than 1,100 new coronavirus cases and 39 additional deaths.
The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed 1,178 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 113,195.
The 39 additional deaths lift the state's total fatalities to 4,923. It also marks the first time the state has seen a decrease in fatalities week-over-week, according to IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
Over the last 24 hours, Illinois officials say that 17,230 new test results were confirmed by state labs, bringing the statewide total to 786,794 tests.
The state's positivity rate for the last week averaged 9.2 percent as of Tuesday.
Chicago Mayor to Announce Ramp-Up of Community-Level Contact Tracing
Chicago officials will allocate $56 million in COVID-19 relief funding to expand contact tracing throughout the city, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced in a coronavirus briefing Tuesday.
The $56 million Request for Proposals seeks organizations to lead a coordination of contact tracing efforts across the city.
The RFP requires a lead agency to allocate 85% of contact tracing funding to at least 30 neighborhood-based organizations located within, or serving residents of, communities in economic hardship in Chicago.
According to Lightfoot, the neighborhood-based organizations are responsible for recruiting, hiring and supporting a workforce of 600 contact tracers, supervisors, and referral coordinators to support an operation that has the capacity to trace 4,500 new contacts per day.
Chicago CBP Officers Seize 28,000 Prohibited Coronavirus Treatment Capsules
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport seized Chinese medications on Tuesday, which falsely claim to improve COVID-19 symptoms.
Officials confiscated three parcels of Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang, a Chinese medication falsely advertising to treat the coronavirus.
Each parcel contained 9,600 capsules for a total of 28,000. The domestic cost of the medication equates to $28,797.
Reopening Plan Announced for Illinois DMVs
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced a reopening plan for driver services facilities beginning June 1.
Under the plan, the facilities will focus on serving only new drivers, those with expired licenses or ID cards and vehicle transactions for the first two months.
All Secretary of State departments and offices will reopen for business on June 1, but driver services facilities will have varying dates and times.
Chicago Police Say 2 in Custody After Viral Video Shows Break-up of Gathering in Englewood
A pair of men are in custody and Chicago police are answering questions after a now-viral video showed a gathering being broken up in the city’s Englewood neighborhood on Sunday night.
The video shows police moving through a large crowd of individuals, and ultimately ended in the arrest of two people on weapons charges.
After the incident, the video of police making the arrests and ordering the dispersals went viral, and musician Chance the Rapper retweeted the video from his account.
“I’ve seen hundreds of people at Millennium Park and pictures of even more at the parks on the North Side,” he said. “No masks, no social distancing, and enjoying themselves. Please stop sending large groups of militarized police into our neighborhoods exclusively.”Chicago police released a statement about the incident, saying that they will enforce the state’s ongoing “stay-at-home” order in whatever neighborhoods are seeing large gatherings
Chicago Police Report 24 Arrests Related to Enforcement of Stay-at-Home Order
While Illinois is poised to move to Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan later this week, the governor’s stay-at-home order remains in effect, and Chicago police have made two dozen arrests while enforcing the order.
According to numbers provided by the Chicago Police Department, officers have made 24 order-related arrests since it went into effect in the state in mid-March.
In addition, officers have issued 44 citations due to the order, and have made 10,541 dispersal orders through May 24, according to data issued by the department.
Some Area Residents Head to Other States With Eased COVID-19 Restrictions for Holiday
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, but with Illinois still under a stay-at-home order, many residents headed to neighboring states where restrictions aren’t as strict.
The shores of Lake Michigan were open in Whiting, Indiana over the weekend, and crowds of people enjoyed a respite from the unseasonably warm conditions that the area was experiencing.
In other nearby states, there were similar gatherings, including in the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Videos from both locations went viral over the holiday weekend, as people were lined up outside of bars and restaurants, with very few individuals wearing protective face coverings.