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Cornavirus

Illinois lawmakers forego vote on governor’s pandemic authority

By Greg Bishop SPRINGFIELD - While they passed a budget, expanded mail-in-voting and even approved cocktails to go amid a pandemic, Illinois state lawmakers didn’t provide a check on the governor’s authority to reshape the state’s economy. The Illinois General Assembly was scheduled for three days last week, but ran into overtime ending in the wee hours of Sunday. Things that were top of mind just a handful of months ago were left on the cutting room floor. Lawmakers passed a $40…

Northern Illinois Food Bank to host free drive-through food market this Saturday

Staff Report ROCKFORD - The Northern Illinois Food Bank will host a free "Pop-Up Market" from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 23, in the parking lot of the Winnebago County COVID-19 Donations Center, 5460 E. State St. The drive-through market is part of the food bank's ongoing COVID-19 relief response and was coordinated through a partnership with the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). "Thanks to continued generous donations from Walmart, Amazon and Trader Joe’s, the Food…

COVID-19 sacks Mike Ditka’s Gold Coast eatery

By The Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak has contributed to the closing of Mike Ditka's restaurant on Chicago's Gold Coast. Ditka's Restaurant Group announced Monday that it will permanently close the downtown location because of the ongoing economic impact of the outbreak and the impending end of its lease. "We have made the extremely difficult decision to close our Chicago restaurant due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and the short term left on our lease,"…

COVID-19: Illinois hospitalization, infection rates steady

Staff Report CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday announced 2,294 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the state including 59 additional deaths. Statewide deaths: Coles County: one women in her 90s Cook County: three men in their 40s, two women in their 50s, three men in their 50s, four women in their 60s, seven men in their 60s, four women in their 70s, eight men in their 70s, one unknown person in their 70s, one woman in their 80s, 10 men in…

J.B. Pritzker not shaken by Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker responded Thursday to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that did away with Gov. Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" extension. Though he expressed concern that Wisconsin's order blew up, he expects his stay-at-home edict that expires at the end of the month and restrictions laid out in his five-phase Restore Illinois plan to remain in place. "We’re well within the laws that exist in Illinois to have a disaster declaration, and there’s…

Pritzker issues more warnings for businesses that open before COVID-19 restrictions expire

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued more warnings Wednesday for businesses that open before executive orders issued during the COVID-19 outbreak expire. Repeating that businesses that are regulated by the state could have their licensees suspended for opening too soon, the governor added a call for local leaders to step up and prevent citizens from defying the stay-at-home edict that expires at the end of this month and the restrictions in his "Restore Illinois"…

COVID-19: Illinois numbers steady, Cook County reports 81 deaths

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - State officials reported 136 COVID-19-related deaths Wednesday, 81 of which occurred in Cook County. The deaths also included two Winnebago County residents in their 70s. Labs processed 14,974 tests in last 24 hours, resulting in 2,270 new cases or coronavirus disease and a statewide total of 68,232--a number the includes those who've already recovered. It also includes presumptive positives. There were 4,832 people with confirmed cases of…

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…

Illinois could see some regions re-open before June 1

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Although Illinois is expected to be under a modified stay-at-home executive order through the end of the month, some areas of the state could open sooner. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday regions "heading down the other side"of the COVID-19 curve could start opening up according to the plan presented by the White House last month. "If it's 14 days on a downslide of those numbers, then absolutely," Pritzker said during his daily press briefing as hundreds…

Loves Park suspends road projects amid COVID-19 uncertainty

By Jim Hagerty Reporter LOVES PARK- The City of Loves Park is halting a project to reconstruct a portion of River Lane and suspending its annual residential road resurfacing plan because of coronavirus shutdowns. "The pandemic has put many of our friends, businesses and residents in financial distress," Community Development & Public Works Director Steve Thompson said in an email. "The City is no different. The ordered closure of many of our retail tax generating business partners is…