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Illinois

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…

Illinois COVID-19 cases continue to drop

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday announced 867 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including 43 additional confirmed deaths. Sunday's deaths include 33 Cook County: a man in his 30s, five women in their 60s, six men in their 60s, five women in their 70s, six men in their 70s, two women in their 80s, a man in his 80s, four women in their 90s, three men in their 90s. There have been 127,757 cases of COVID-19 statewide, including 5,904…

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…

Illinois reports 982 new cases of COVID-19

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Public Health, on Wednesday, announced 982 new cases of COVID-19, including 97additional deaths. Wednesday's deaths include a Winnebago County main in his 70s and 56  people in Cook County. Deaths were also reported in DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Peoria, St. Clair, Stephenson County, Union and Will counties. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 123,830 cases, including 5,621 deaths, in 101 counties.…

Rockford’s Riverfront Museum Park included in capital improvement bill

Staff Report ROCKFORD - Rockford's Riverfront Museum Park will receive state funding to improve its facility. Funding will come from a bill passed last week by the Illinois General Assembly, marking $13.3 million for the  Illinois Arts Council and  $50 million for the Arts Alliance Capital Coalition that will fuel 36 projects dedicated to permanent improvement in cultural infrastructure across the state. Rockford’s Riverfront Museum Park is among the 36 coalition members set to receive…

Peaceful Rockford protest ends with destruction of property, arrests

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Peaceful, yet boisterous protests became destructive Saturday as more than a thousand demonstrators converged on Rockford Police District 1 headquarters. The events began just before 4 p.m., at Haskell Park, where a crowd of a few dozen quickly became several hundred within the hour. Some held signs honoring George Floyd that bore phrases like "I can't breathe" and "Say his name," while the Black Lives Matter slogan was even better represented.…

J.B. Pritzker: Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, homophobe and xenophobe

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker minced no words Friday when asked about President Donald Trump's tweets regarding the death of George Floyd and rioting that's erupted in Minneapolis. "From the very moment I announced my decision to run for governor three plus years ago, I said that this president is a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe, a xenophobe," Pritzker said. "I was right then, and I am right now." Pritzker was responding to tweets in which Trump accused…

Restore Illinois: Pritzker walks back restrictions on church services

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Illinois houses of worship are no longer restricted by Gov. JB Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan. Instead, the governor's office, on Thursday, released non-mandatory guidelines for places of worship to reopen, including recommendations for indoor services. The state recommends outdoor worship gatherings including drive-in services, where congregants remain inside vehicles, and indoor meetings of 10 people or fewer. However, for churches where those…

Winnebago County Health Department releases guidelines for bars, restaurants and churches in Phase 3 of ‘Restore Illinois’ plan

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - The Winnebago County Health Department, on Wednesday, released guidelines for bars, restaurants and churches as they enter Phase 3 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan. Starting Friday, bars and restaurants are permitted to offer outdoor dining and drinking after more than two months of carryout only. Tables must be six fee apart; those who are not seated must wear face coverings and practice proper social distancing, the health…

Chicago-area churches hold services, say they’re taking precautions

By Sophia Tareen Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois churches holding services Sunday despite warnings about health risks during the coronavirus pandemic said they're taking precautions to protect congregants, from scrapping communion to requiring masks.  While President Donald Trump's Friday order declaring houses of worship essential prompted some to expand, others said it was simply time to reopen as more people suffer in the pandemic.  "It's like a physician knowing that…

Elderly, congregate communities still hardest hit by COVID-19

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Although numbers are improving, the COVID-19 outbreak continues to take its toll on area congregate settings. Statistics released by the Winnebago County Health Department Tuesday show that about 66% of COVID-related deaths have been linked to outbreaks in places like nursing homes, group homes, shelters, assisted-living centers, and jails. As of Tuesday, 20 local congregate facilities are considered areas of concern. That means there have been at…

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…

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"…

Pritzker may withhold federal funding from municipalities that flout reopening plan

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is considering a number of penalties for those who do not follow his five-phase plan to reopen the state, including withholding federal funding. "These people do not follow science or data," Pritzker said Tuesday during his daily press briefing, referring to bars and restaurants in Quincy, which were open for business last weekend. "They’re just listening to partisan rhetoric perhaps, and following their own instincts, but not…