coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: New Peak Estimates, Pritzker Staffer Positive, Blue Angels

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.)

While its neighboring state prepares to loosen restrictions even more Monday, Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order that has salons, restaurants and many businesses closed.

Business owners and places of worship have expressed criticism of the guidelines that remain in place until May 30, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker has defended them as life-saving precautions.

Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 11):

All Illinois Regions on Track to Move to Next Phase of Reopening Except One, Pritzker Says

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that three of Illinois’ four medical regions are currently on track to move into phase three of the state’s phased reopening plan, but one key region still has work to do to be able to reopen more businesses and loosen more restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Pritzker the North Central, Central and Southern regions of the state are all hitting the metrics required to move into phase three of the reopening plan later this month, but the Northeast region, which includes Chicago and most of the city’s suburbs, is not.

The Northeast region includes Cook County, as well as McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties.

No region can officially move forward until May 29, under the parameters of the governor's plan.

The reason, according to the governor, is that the region’s positivity rate, a measure of the percentage of coronavirus test results that come back positive, is still too high.

Illinois May Not Hit Coronavirus Peak Until Mid-June, Pritzker Warns

During his daily coronavirus press briefing, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that modelling data now indicates that the state may not hit the so-called "peak" in the coronavirus pandemic until as late as mid-June.  

Originally, state officials had hoped to hit a peak in April, but that timeline has now been broadened due to new modeling data.  

Compared to the forecasts I shared on April 23, the timeframe of plateauing near a peak has been expanded from mid-May into mid-June,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said that the state has made progress in its fight to slow the spread of COVID-19, but that the progress has only helped to flatten the curve of the virus and potentially lengthen the time that numbers will plateau, rather than causing a decline in numbers statewide.

“On a statewide basis, we haven’t passed our peak yet,” he said. “We’ve seen more stability in our numbers, but we’re not seeing significant declines in key metrics, including hospitalizations.”

While Pritzker admitted that the news about the potential peak of the virus not hitting until the middle of next month is “disheartening” in many ways, there is reason for optimism because of the expanded timeline.

“This does signal success,” he said. “A pushing out of our estimated ‘peak’ is a natural consequence of flattening the curve. Pushing the peak down and therefore to a longer timeframe might not sound like good news, but I promise you, it is saving lives.”

May 11 briefing: Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his daily coronavirus press briefing from home as he and his employees remain in self-isolation after a senior staffer tested positive for coronavirus while asymptomatic last week.

Illinois Coronavirus Cases Climb Near 80,000 as Deaths Reach 3,459

Illinois officials reported 1,266 new cases of coronavirus Monday, lifting the statewide total to near 80,000.

As of Monday, the state reported 79,007 confirmed infections since the pandemic first began.

Health officials also reported an additional 54 fatalities, which bring the state's death toll to 3,459.

According to officials, the state returned 12,441 test results Monday, with a positivity rate of just over 10 percent, the lowest single day rate since March 27. That number brings the state's total number of tests performed to 442,425, with a 17.86 percent positivity rate overall, the lowest rate since April 2.

That rate has been declining since spiking to a high of 21.36 percent on April 22.

Blue Angels Release Details on Chicago Flyover Set for Tuesday

The Blue Angels have released new details on their Chicago flyover, set to take place Tuesday as part of a nationwide tribute to honor healthcare workers and first responders during the coronavirus crisis.

The squadron released a flight path for the event, with the Chicago track set to take place between 11:45 a.m. and noon, though times are subject to change.

The event will begin and end on the city's South Side, with the Blue Angels traveling north and west as they loop around the city.

"Residents should observe the flyover from the safety of their home-quarantine and should refrain from traveling to see the flyover," a message within the announcement reads. "Social distancing should be practiced at all times."

Not able to see it in person? Here's how you can watch it live.

Member of Pritzker’s Senior Staff Tests Positive for Coronavirus

A member of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's senior staff tested positive for coronavirus late last week, his office said Monday, prompting all staff to work from home moving forward.

The staff member is asymptomatic, the governor's office said in a statement, and was in close contact with Pritzker as well as other employees.

Approximately 20 people on the governor's staff have been reporting to work in person at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said, while the rest have been working from home.

Lightfoot Announces 6 New Testing Sites in Chicago

Six new coronavirus testing sites will open throughout Chicago over the next few weeks as the city works to rapidly increase its testing capabilities, Lightfoot announced Monday.

The city's goal is to increase testing from 3,000 to 10,000 tests per day, Lightfoot explained.

“Testing remains one of the most powerful mechanisms for us to understand the complexities of COVID-19 and its spread in the community,” said Dr. Allison Arwady during Monday's announcement.

Dental Offices Can Begin Reopening for Routine Care

Beginning Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health said dentists can begin resuming "routine oral and dental care." Previously, offices had been reduced to emergency services only as many dental procedures "produce both droplets and aerosols" believed to transmit coronavirus from infected people.

"IDPH has carefully monitored the daily number of newly reported COVID-19 cases. If the trend continues as anticipated, certain models indicate there will likely be a decrease in the burden of COVID-19 illness in Illinois towards the end of May 2020," the department wrote on its website. "With that in mind, there is a need for a plan to resume safe and routine oral and dental treatment."

The Illinois State Dental Society said it was excited for the change but "we are all still very mindful of the transmission risks of this disease."

IDPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend some precautions for oral health providers. The guidance can be found here.

Elgin Church Plans to Defy Pritzker’s Order, Hold In-Person Services Next Week

A church in unincorporated Elgin plans to reopen its doors to parishioners next Sunday despite Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order including restrictions on large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, leaders of the Northwest Bible Baptist Church and their attorneys sent a letter to Pritzker notifying him that the church intends to resume in-person services on May 17.

“We are grateful for the guidance our government has provided through this pandemic and have respectfully refrained from gathering for weeks,” the church’s pastor, Dr. Keith Gomez, said in the letter. “However, we are persuaded that now is the time to safely resume meeting together in-person.”

Leaders add they intend to follow guidelines including administering temperature checks, asking parishioners to wear masks, adhering to social distancing guidelines and have asked those over the age of 65 and individuals with pre-existing conditions to stay at home and participate virtually among other measures.

Cook County Correctional Officer Dies of COVID-19, Officials Say

A Cook County Jail correctional officer died Sunday of apparent complications of COVID-19.

Antoine Jones, 51, worked for the Cook County sheriff’s office since July 2002, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. He lived on the South Side and is survived by his wife and five adult children.

Officials said Jones was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March and died from apparent complications of the virus, but an autopsy has not yet been performed to officially rule on his cause of death.

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