coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Highest One-Day Case Count Since Late May, Teachers Push for Remote Learning

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today

Note: Press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are scheduled to make a rare joint appearance at an event Thursday, their offices said.

Their news conference comes as Illinois health officials reported 1,624 new cases - the highest one-day case count since May 25, with the state's positivity rate continuing a gradual increase.

Meanwhile, teachers in Chicago and around the state push to start school in remote learning only in the fall as districts continue to release their plans to return to classes.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around Illinois today, July 23:

Pritzker, Lightfoot to Make Joint Appearance

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot are scheduled to make a rare joint appearance at an event Thursday, their offices said.

They will be announcing the U.S. Department of Energy's " blueprint for a new quantum internet infrastructure," per their public schedules. The news conference begins at around 1 p.m. at the University of Chicago and can be watched live in the video player above.

They will be joined by U.S. Secretary of Energy Brouillette, Under Secretary of Energy Dabbar and University of Chicago science leaders.

Illinois' 1,624 New Coronavirus Cases Mark Highest Daily Rise Since Late May

Illinois health officials reported more than 1,600 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday and 20 additional deaths as experts express concern over the state's growing numbers.

According to officials, the 1,624 new cases Thursday mark the highest daily rise for the month of July so far, passing Wednesday's 1,598. In fact, it's the highest one-day case count since May 25, when the state reported 1,713 cases - a number that at the time showed progress after months of daily totals above 2,000.

The state’s total number of coronavirus cases now sits at 166,925 since the pandemic began. The additional deaths give the state a total of 7,367 fatalities related to the virus.

Illinois reported 39,706 tests within the most recent 24-hour span, continuing a trend of nearly 40,000 daily results across the state. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rolling 7-day positivity rate increased very slightly to 3.4%, up from 3.2% a day earlier.

Plainfield Teachers Push to Start Learning Remotely After School Board Vote

After school board members failed to pass a reopening plan to start the year with remote learning, Plainfield teachers announced they will push against the plan Thursday morning.

The Illinois Education Association said the teachers plan to head to the Plainfield School District 202 administrative offices with their concerns over safety starting the school year amid COVID-19.

School board members voted down a plan on Monday that would have started the school year off with remote learning during the pandemic. NBC 5’s Chris Hush reports.

“There are far too many unanswered questions for us to resume in-person learning at this point," Association of Plainfield Teachers President Dawn Bullock said. "We know COVID-19 cases are rising both here at home and all across the country."

Bullock said that the school does not have the proper resources to begin the school year amid the coronavirus, such as personal protective equipment and masks.

The push comes days after the district's school board members voted down a plan by 3-3 that would have started the school year off with remote learning during the pandemic.

Illinois Won't Require Residents Traveling to and From Neighboring States to Quarantine

Even as Wisconsin comes "very close" to becoming the latest addition to Chicago's emergency travel order, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday the state won't require residents who travel to and from neighboring states to quarantine for two weeks solely because of that travel.

"We don't live in a country where you close the borders between states," Pritzker said during the governor's coronavirus briefing. "And we're not going to stop people who live in Illinois and work in Wisconsin from doing so."

Chicago this week updated its travel order that requires anyone entering or returning to the city from now 18 states, including Kansas, to quarantine for two weeks. Wisconsin's increase in coronavirus cases puts it "very close" to being included on the quarantine list, said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

Pritzker acknowledged Wednesday that every state bordering Illinois has either "doubled or tripled our positivity rate." He also noted Illinois' downstate Metro East health region, which borders St. Louis, Missouri, is "dangerously close" to seeing more restrictions put in place because of a high positivity rate. Some residents of that region travel frequently into Missouri, state health officials said, noting that the state has less stringent mitigation measures in place and an overall higher positivity rate than Illinois.

When asked if he would consider a statewide travel order that requires two weeks of quarantining, Pritzker said "this is challenging for us."

"You can't ask somebody who crosses the border every day to go to work, who's following all the mitigations that we've asked -- you know, wear a mask, wash your hands, all the things we've asked them to do," Pritzker said. "They're not gathering in large groups, but they go to work every day. You can't ask them to quarantine for 14 days at a time. So that's not something that we really can do."

Pritzker said Illinois has a lot of border counties where people cross back and forth because they have family or work on the other side. While a statewide travel order is likely not in Illinois' future, Pritzker reminded residents to do one main thing in its place.

"What we need is for Illinoisans to do -- frankly, what most people have been doing, but we just need everybody to pay close, close attention to -- is this," he said. "If you're not wearing a mask, you're doing it wrong. You have to wear a mask."

More Coronavirus Testing Not Behind ‘Increased Transmission,' Top Health Official Says

Illinois' top health official said Wednesday the state's rising number of infections isn't due to a record amount of testing being conducted statewide.

"We have seen an increase in cases and I know some people say, 'Oh, it's just because there's more testing' - there's a way to look at that actually," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. "If you do more testing, your positivity should actually go down the more testing you do. So for it to even stay about flat suggests that there's increased transmission. So yes, we're seeing increased transmission."

Her comments were echoed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker who said that while the state is in fact testing a record number of residents, "more testing does not cause rising positivity rates."

Ezike said some increase was predicted as the state continued through its reopening plan, increasing capacity at certain businesses and loosening several restrictions.

"Of course, we can imagine that there's more opportunity for the virus to be spread," she said. "And in fact, that has been the case. And so we know we needed to have the opening and the increased ability to do more things. We needed that to be coupled with like, 100% masking and distancing."

Pritzker Again Warns State Will Take ‘Immediate Action' If a Region Reaches Certain Metrics

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker repeated claims Wednesday that the state won't hesitate to impose "additional mitigations" if a region reaches a set of metrics laid out by public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're counting on city and county leaders doing what they know is right to protect their residents and we're counting on local residents to hold their elected leaders accountable," Pritzker said. "Demand that they take action early so regions don't have to undergo the challenges of staying at home or closing local businesses again."

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker updates on coronavirus pandemic in the state on July 22.

Already, Chicago has announced plans to shut down indoor bar service and heighten capacity limitations or halt certain services to quell rising numbers.

If a region hits three consecutive days of an 8% average positivity rate, or sees a sustained increase in both positivity rate and hospital admissions, additional mitigations will automatically be put in place, state health officials said.

Any mitigations would be imposed on a three-tiered plan, ranging from reducing capacity at businesses in various industries to shutting down operations in some of the spaces that pose a higher risk of transmission, like indoor dining and bars or salons and personal care services.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike compares wearing a mask in public to wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle, urging residents to continue to comply with health guidance as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Downstate Illinois Region ‘Dangerously Close' to More Coronavirus Restrictions, Pritzker Warns

One of Illinois' 11 health care regions is "dangerously close" to seeing more restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned.

Region 4, the Metro East region bordering St. Louis, Missouri, is the area in question, Pritzker said. That region includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties.

"Yesterday in the Metro East region, I sounded the alarm on the region’s 7.1% rolling seven-day average positivity rate compared to the state’s overall 3.1%," Pritzker said at a news conference. He added that the other 10 regions in the state have a positivity rate below 5%.

"The state will take immediate action to impose additional mitigations if a region crosses above the metrics we set, and Metro East is coming dangerously close to that, so I have spoken with local leaders and asked them to clamp down on the outbreaks where they are occurring so the state won’t have to step in," Pritzker said Wednesday.

Some residents of Region 4 travel frequently into Missouri, state health officials said, noting that the state has less stringent mitigation measures in place and an overall higher positivity rate than Illinois.

Illinois Reports Nearly 1,600 New Coronavirus Cases, 23 Deaths Wednesday

Illinois health officials reported nearly 1,600 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, as well as 23 additional deaths as a result of the virus.

According to officials, the 1,598 new cases bring the state’s total number of coronavirus cases to 165,301 since the pandemic began.

The additional deaths give the state a total of 7,347 fatalities related to the virus.

Illinois reported 39,633 tests within the most recent 24-hour span, an increase of roughly 10,000 tests from the previous day, which saw just under 30,000. Last week, the state set three daily testing records near the 40,000 mark.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the rolling 7-day positivity rate increased very slightly, from 3.2 percent.

Illinois Leads Original Hotspot States in Increase in Cases

Of the five states that were the first in the U.S. to see major coronavirus outbreaks, Illinois is currently seeing the largest increase in new cases of those original hotspots, the latest data shows.

Alongside Illinois, four other states were considered the first hotspots in the country beginning in March: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan.

A chart showing a comparison of each state's latest coronavirus data, can be found here:

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