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Rep. Darren Bailey (R, Xenia) is escorted out of the temporary Illinois House chamber at the Bank of Springfield Center, after members voted to remove him for not wearing a face mask in accordance with updated House rules on May 20
Ted Schurter / ILCA Pool Photo

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Wednesday announced bars and restaurants can serve customers outside once the state takes the next step in his Restore Illinois plan.

They will still have to follow certain guidelines aimed at protecting patrons and staff.  

Springfield’s Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory has been teaming up with restaurants and other businesses to pass out free dinners during the coronavirus pandemic. He said the goal goes beyond giving out free food. 

Child getting temperature taken.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Illinois health officials suspect a handful of children in the Chicago region have a syndrome connected to COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health and a physician on a task force looking into the syndrome.

Sam Dunklau / via Blueroomstream.com

Two county health departments are trialing a new “tech-based” approach to COVID-19 contact tracing. Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker Monday defended rules that lay out penalties for businesses disobeying statewide shutdown orders.

Pritzker’s office announced both St. Clair and Lake County’s health departments will use a “state-of-the-art” software platform that is designed to gather data from infected persons and track the virus in real-time. Another 95 counties will join them over the next few weeks.

COVID-19 Updates For Springfield & Central Illinois

May 18, 2020
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

This post is for news on the local response to the coronavirus in Springfield and Central Illinois. For last week's updates, go to this post

You can send tips, questions or announcements to engage@nprillinois.org.

Bob Bowcock
via Chino Basin Watermaster / Chino Basin Watermaster

A health advocacy group said a type of water-borne disease may be spreading at Illinois’ unoccupied workplaces.

Springfield Community Relations Director Juan Huerta gives a tour of the Winter Warming Shelter in October.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s emergency winter shelter is closing. The Winter Warming Center - operated by the Salvation Army and funded by the city of Springfield - opened last October to provide shelter for those who don’t have another place to stay during the winter months.

screen shot / Blueroom Stream

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the state is expanding testing to all frontline and essential workers, including those in health care and first responders.
That will cover employees at a wide range of jobs including those at grocery stores, prison and restaurants.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan to slowly re-open the state's economy is facing resistance from several quarters.  Meanwhile, the Illinois Legislature is preparing for an abbreviated session in Springfield next week.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA-TV, joins the panel.

IBHE

Colleges and universities in Illinois want their campuses to be open to students in the fall, after classes were forced online in March due to COVID-19.    A state panel is going to recommend the best approach for the fall semester.

Illinois is a big state with a lot of different viewpoints.  On this episode, we focus on southern Illinois to find out how residents are coping with restrictions and public health recommendations.  

We'll hear a community showed support for a nursing home with dozens of cases of COVID-19 and more than twenty deaths. 

And coaches and athletes prepare all year for a season to begin.  But this spring left them wondering what might have been.

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

Rep. Avery Bourne debates the Reproductive Health Act
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A group of downstate Illinois lawmakers are calling again for an alternative plan to reopen the state’s economy.

Those lawmakers said since economic and social interaction levels differ in certain areas of the state, Illinois should be divided into 11 regions instead than the four broad regions already laid out by the state’s public health authority. 

via Apple/Google FAQ page

Illinois wants hundreds to potentially thousands of contact tracing workers trained and ready to start tracking the spread of the new coronavirus by the end of this month. At the same time, big tech companies are developing technology that could help with tracing efforts.

Staff at The Villas Senior Care Community in Sherman gather for watch a parade of cars full of supporters. The nursing home is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Dozens of cars snaked around the entrance to The Villas Senior Care Community in Sherman Wednesday. Staff in scrubs and facemasks waved as the cars slowed and honked, while some of their passengers hung out of the windows or sunroofs shouting thanks and encouragement.

Staff and public health officials have been battling since late April to respond to a coronavirus outbreak at the long-term care facility near Springfield.

BoS Center Facebook page

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, along with other legislative leaders, are "ready to convene" a special session as early as next week, according to letters sent to lawmakers and shared with the media.

Wikimedia commons

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to reconvene to discuss an economic recovery plan for the state.

Pritzker said his administration has supported residents and small businesses by banning evictions, delaying tax filing deadlines, and expanding unemployment eligibility, but he said more work needs to be done to get the economy going.

via IDES website

Gig workers and independent contractors now qualify for unemployment benefits in Illinois. While many of those workers have been trying for weeks to receive financial help, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday a new third-party system is already helping to process claims more efficiently.

Kidzeum of Health and Science
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

The non-profit Kidzeum of Health and Science in Springfield is using Paycheck Protection Program funds to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maxica Williams / Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has created a mutual aid fund that will give out grants of up to $500 for Illinoisans who are homeless, have been without a home or are at risk of being unsheltered.

CCH grassroots leaders – people who have experienced homelessness and work in partnership with CCH staff – run the fund and will decide what requests should be supported.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

A senior Pritzker administration staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and all employees in the Governor’s office are now working from home as a precaution.

NPR Illinois

The farmer’s market summer season begins Saturday May 16.  The event will again take place on Adams Street, but organizers advise there will be changes. 

Mike Murphy

A number of legislators have criticized Governor J-B Pritzker’s plan to reopen the state’s economy in five phases.

Reporter Mike Smith talked to one such lawmaker, Republican state Representative Mike Murphy of Springfield. He says the months ahead will be challenging for businesses in his district if the Governor’s plan is not adjusted.

The Latest On COVID-19 In Springfield And Central Illinois

May 11, 2020
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

This post is for news on local response to the coronavirus in Springfield and Central Illinois.

You can send tips, questions or announcements to engage@nprillinois.org.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/49491725776/in/photolist-2ipq2NQ-2iTiCjQ-2iFNHKq-2iTiCnk-2iTkcCx-2iT33o8-2iXbnNg-2iSVtW1-2iSJQCu-2iEmRZE-2iNbNob-2iXVbcV-2iHJDaE-2iDBzTW-2iQzJJq-2iNus5F-2iKZd8g-2iH3poS-2iGPYkz-2iDyQhJ-2iG9e2c-2iDsfm3-2iMQxZ6-2iL
2.0 Generic / Flickr

Illinois has processed more than 20,000 COVID-19 tests in one day for the first time since the pandemic began. The state ranks fourth among all fifty states in testing availability and completion, behind California, Texas, and New York. 

Kamil Hamid/flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Illinoisans won’t be able to eat at restaurants until the end of June at the earliest, under the governor’s plan to reopen the state. The statewide association representing restaurants is pushing to move that up to the end of May.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan to reopen Illinois breaks the state into four regions.
Restore Illinois Plan, Office Of The Governor

Editor's Note: As of May 29, Illinois is in Phase 3 of the plan, moedified to include restaurants offering outdoor seating; and some offices, salons, barbershops and gyms can open with capacity restrictions and public health precautions. Read more here. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzer announced a plan to re-open the state in stages and by region, depending on continued progress in limiting the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel and reporter Bill Wheelhouse join the panel.
 

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield is looking for input on its plan to spend nearly $800,000 from the federal aid package approved in March for coronavirus relief efforts.

The draft plan outlines five priorities – rental assistance, grants to small businesses, support for the food bank, health and safety equipment, and funding for public services.

The city held its first public meeting Thursday via Zoom to listen to input from residents and businesses about fund distribution.

submitted

School districts across the state have been resourceful in coming up with ways to honor their high school graduates, as health regulations prohibit the typical ceremonies.  But some of those plans ran into roadblocks with the governor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. 

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