Illinois’ coronavirus infection rate continues to drop

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday announced 625 new cases of COVID-19 and 78 additional deaths. There have now been 129,837 cases of coronavirus infection and 6,095 deaths in 101 Illinois counties. In the past 24 hours, state laboratories processed 20,820 COVID-19 tests for a total of 1,100,002. The preliminary seven-day infection rate from June 3 -9 is 4%. Wednesday's deaths included two Winnebago County women, one in her 80s and a one…

Family cat tests positive for coronavirus; state infection rate steadies at 6%

By Jim Hagerty Reporter SPRINGFIELD - Illinois health professionals, on Friday, reported that a family cat has been infected with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "The cat was in a home with people who had tested positive," the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a release. "This is the first animal to test positive for the virus in Illinois.  There is no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted from animal to humans.  However, if you are sick, you…

‘Making a Murder’ subject Steven Avery has coronavirus, expected to recover

By Jim Hagerty Reporter (TRRT) - Although "Making a Murderer" subject Steven Avery has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he has only experienced mild symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the infection. According to Jerome Buting, one of Avery's former defense attorneys, Avery is confined to his cell and is recovering. "Steven Avery has tested positive for COVID-19, and is confined to his cell," Buting tweeted Wednesday. But @SandyGreenman reports he only had…

Boone County Fair canceled because of coronavirus, other events planned

Staff Report BELVIDERE - The 2020 Boone County Fair has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers voted Saturday to not hold this year's event for the safety of fairgoers, staff, vendors exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, volunteers, and the community. "The Boone County Fair Board has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic data along with local, state, and federal health officials," President Lyle Lee said in a release. "Although some restrictions have been…

2020 Wisconsin State Fair canceled over coronavirus concerns

Staff Report WEST ALLIS, Wis. - The Wisconsin State Fair Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 state fair because of the coronavirus pandemic. "The board and staff have been closely monitoring COVID-19 data from local, state and federal health officials during this time," the board said in a statement. "While some restrictions have recently been lifted and businesses are beginning to re-open, most are requiring strict safety measures, including social distancing, the wearing of…

DOJ: Illinois coronavirus restrictions ‘appear to reach far beyond’ governor’s authority

By Jim Hagerty Reporter WASHINGTON, D.C. - Although he means well, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home orders may exceed this authority to keep parts of the state closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. That is the opinion of the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a statement of interest in federal court Friday in an attempt to become a party to the lawsuit filed by Illinois Rep. Darren Bailey, who is challenging the constitutionality of Pritzker's executive order. "However…

‘New normal’ abnormal as countries reopen, live with coronavirus

By Chris Blake and Michelle R. Smith Associated Press BANGKOK (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of high school seniors in South Korea had their temperature checked and rubbed their hands with sanitizer as they returned to school Wednesday, many for the first time since late last year after their new term was repeatedly pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic. Students and teachers were required wear masks and some schools installed plastic partitions around desks. In a reminder that the…

GOP: ‘Bloated’ $3T coronavirus package will be DOA in Senate

By Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have powered a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the House, an election-year measure designed to brace a U.S. economy in free fall and a health care system struggling to contain a pandemic still pummeling the country.  Friday's 208-199 vote, with all but one Republican opposed, advances what boils down to a campaign-season display of Democratic economic and health-care priorities. It has no…

Trump: Trials show coronavirus vaccine on track for end of 2020

Staff Report THE WHITE HOUSE - President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s hopeful to have a coronavirus vaccine on the market by the end of the year or shortly thereafter. Moncep Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive who Trump has tapped to serve as the administration’s virus czar, said that early trial data suggests that “a few hundred million doses of vaccine” will be delivered by late 2020. Trump, speaking at a Rose Garden event, reiterated that he wants to see states move…

Former Illinois woman arrested with knives: ‘I am the coronavirus’

By Jim Hagerty Reporter NEW YORK - A former Peoria woman is charged with multiple crimes after making what were reported as threatening statements on social media and allegedly stockpiling knives in her vehicle. Police say the incident unfolded the morning of Wednesday, April 29, when a post appeared on a Facebook page registered to  37-year-old Jessica Prim that read, "Hillary Clinton and her assistant, Joe Biden and Tony Podesta need to be taken out in the name of Babylon! I can’t be…

Pritzker staffer tests positive for coronavirus, employees work from home

Staff Report CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's staff will work remotely for the time being, after a senior staffer tested positive for COVID-19. The asymptomatic staff member tested positive late last week and was in close contact with the governor and other staff members. The governor and all other staff reporting to the office tested negative. Pritzker was tested again early Sunday and tested negative. Approximately 20 staff members have been regularly reporting in person to…

Coronavirus drugs could fast-track Illinois restart plan

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Although the world is likely months, maybe a year or more, away from a coronavirus vaccine, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said an effective treatment to reduce hospitalizations and the number of COVID-19-related deaths could allow Illinois to fully reopen sooner than expected. Without proven treatment for coronavirus disease, Illinois' four regions will move through Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan starting May 29. The state is currently in Phase 2. And with each phase…

Trump: Coronavirus task force not disbanding

By Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin and Darlene Superville Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — One day after saying that the White House COVID-19 task force would be winding down, President Donald Trump said Wednesday it would continue indefinitely but focus more on rebooting the economy. Trump's reversal comes as deaths and infection rates outside of New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus, are rising even as states move to lift their lockdowns. Trump tweeted that the special task force's…

DHS: China ‘intentionally concealed the severity’ of coronavirus outbreak

By Will Weissert Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show.  Chinese leaders "intentionally concealed the severity" of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The…

Coronavirus infection rate, hospitalizations key to gauging curve

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Illinois officials announced 2,450 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the total number of infections to nearly 60,000. And while the number of cases continues to rise, it's not the figure that indicates where Illinois is on the curve. It's also not the number Gov. J.B. Pritzker will use to decide when to lift more stay-at-home restrictions. "I would look at the infection rate and not the total case numbers," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday…