COVID-19

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This Friday marked Illinois moving to Phase 4 of Governor J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, along with guidelines for in-person school attendance in the Fall.  However, the governor says that the threat of COVID-19 remains and that restrictions could be tightened again if there is a resurgence of the disease.

Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business joins the panel.

Governor Releases Fall Plans for Schools And Colleges

Jun 23, 2020
montanapublicmedia.org

Governor J.B. Pritzker wants to see kids in the classroom this fall.  He released guidance Tuesday for students returning to school and college.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County is looking to expand its COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, and prevent outbreaks at long-term care facilities. The local health department is asking the Illinois Department of Public Health for $2.86 million to fight the new coronavirus over the next year.

Restaurants Eagerly Await Reopening This Week

Jun 22, 2020
State of Illinois

The State of Illinois will enter Phase Four of its pandemic recovery plan this Friday June 26, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced.  The move comes as all areas of the state are meeting metrics for overall levels of COVID-19 and available health services for those seriously ill with the virus.

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Sangamon County is seeing fewer new COVID-19 cases than it did a month ago, according to data shared in an online roundtable discussion Friday.

But concerns about the disparate impact the coronavirus has on communities of color in the area, and how the pandemic is changing healthcare persist.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the state gets closer to the Phase 4 stage of Governor Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan, there are still concerns over the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases along with calls to speed up the process.  Also, the state is making it easier to vote by mail for the upcoming election.

Sam Dunklau/NPR Illinois

The University of Illinois plans to reopen campuses for students this fall.  With some caveats.

Carter Staley/NPR illinois

A list of health and safety guidelines for getting students back in classrooms is scheduled to be released before the end of the month. It will provide rules and recommendations for more than 850 school districts resuming classes this fall.

Illinois Newsroom

  URBANA – Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a saliva-based  COVID-19 test. 

During a webinar hosted Tuesday by U of I Chancellor Robert Jones and other university staff, Martin Burke, a U of I chemistry professor, announced that they had the capacity to test up to 10,000 people per day. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the midst of nationwide protests and demands for police reforms, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed their support for possibly requiring police officers to be licensed by the state.  Also, as Illinois continues to see a decrease in COVID-19 metrics in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, other states are seeing a significant spike in cases and deaths.  Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker signed off on an uncertain state budget.

WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel this week.

Sonthana Thongsithavong, Glenwood High School Tennis Coach
Sonthana Thongsithavong

An Illinois high school sports coach has mixed feelings about the state’s new guidelines on high school athletics.

Eastern Illinois University

Colleges around the state are working on their plans to host classes on campus this fall. A few outlined their plans while discussing them with the Illinois Board of Higher Education Tuesday.

Yonkers Honda / via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Automobile dealers in Illinois were among the hardest hit businesses during the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home period.

Illinois Allows Carry-Out Mixed Drinks

Jun 2, 2020
Edwin Land/flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Illinois bars and restaurants can now serve mixed-drinks to go.   Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the measure into law Tuesday.  

IIS

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he is worried the mass protests over police brutality happening across the country could spread the coronavirus. 

Memorial Health System's Respiratory Clinic is on Sixth Street in Springfield.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

More than two months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared testing would be key to Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus testing is still limited in Sangamon County.

Meanwhile, state officials report more than 13,600 tests done in the county. Local officials, however, estimate that with repeat tests and people from outside the county limits screened here, only 5,600 individual Sangamon County residents have been tested.

A look at the numbers from one recent week provides a window into the complexities underlying the stats published by health authorities.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters Phase Three of "Restore Illinois", Governor Pritzker is responding to  criticism and lawsuits surrounding his re-opening plan.  Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its short special legislative session last weekend after passing a state budget. The panel also discusses a controversy over whether or not lawmakers will see their pay go up.

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel joins the panel.

Damon and Aidan McParland pose for a photo
Damon McParland

While residents of Springfield wait for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to end his stay-at-home order, two members of the community have gathered their bagpipes to lift the city’s spirits and raise money during the pandemic. Reporter Mike Smith watched them perform and has this story.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker today (Thursday) announced new guidance for places of worship. It comes as he has faced multiple lawsuits over his ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. Pritzker now says faith leaders should try to limit attendance to a quarter of a building’s capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower, along with social distancing. 

The Pandemic On Main Street: As State Restrictions Relax, Local Leaders Face Tough Choices

May 28, 2020
Jamey Dunn-Thomason / Institute of Government and Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: The Institute of Government and Public Affairs assembled a task force of interdisciplinary faculty experts from all three universities in the University of Illinois System to assess COVID-19’s effects on the state. This essay represents the work of several task force members to create a roadmap for safely reopening the state’s economy.

Kenneth Lu / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Illinois is on track for salons, some offices and outdoor seating at restaurants to open this weekend as the state moves into its next phase of reopening. The state’s movie theaters, which have been shut down since March, said Wednesday they want to welcome customers during that phase too.

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

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a health organization in East St. Louis will lend its help to the state's COVID-19 contact tracing initiative. Meanwhile, the governor said Wednesday the state’s casinos will remain shuttered for now.

Fighting The Flood And COVID-19 At The Same Time

May 27, 2020
State of Illinois

Flooding is beginning to feel like an annual event in some areas along the Illinois River.  The governor and head of the Illinois Emergency Management agency visited flood fighting efforts in west-central Illinois  Wednesday.

Protesters gather outside the Bank of Springfield Center as state lawmakers prepare to convene on May 20.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Some Springfield City Council members questioned the mayor and the police chief about the city’s response to protests at the Capitol late last week, saying it was more permissive than the response they’re seeing in some neighborhoods. A few also reacted to a racial slur found spray painted at a local park.

Downtown Springfield Inc. is developing a plan for more outdoor eating and shopping options this summer.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 begin to loosen, establishments in downtown Springfield are looking to add options for dining or selling merchandise outside.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois is arguing a lawsuit between a state representative and Gov. J.B. Pritzker should remain in circuit court, after state Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office moved the case up to the federal level.

COVID-19 Updates In Springfield And Central Illinois

May 26, 2020
A sign asks customers to wear face coverings, which is required by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's most recent stay-at-home order.
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

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.

Justin Fowler / ILCA Photo pool

COVID-19 was both in the forefront and in the background during the abbreviated spring legislative session that Illinois lawmakers wrapped over the weekend. It was the focus of both the legislation and the politics in Springfield.

Justin Fowler / ILCA Pool Photo

In the midst of a global pandemic, despite social distancing, and all while wearing face masks, Illinois state lawmakers approved a new state budget over the weekend totaling $43 billion. But that budget won’t be possible without heavy reliance on the federal government.

Karina Villa puts on a shower cap
Ted Schurter / State Journal-Register

Workers who caught COVID-19 on the job will be eligible for workers compensation benefits.

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