Browsing Tag

Pandemic

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Rockford Park District closes pools, cancels summer concerts for 2020

Staff Report ROCKFORD - Because of coronavirus limitations, the Rockford Park District has decided to close Alpine Pool, Harkins Aquatic Center, and Sand Park Pool will be closed for the season, and the the 2020 “Sounds of Summer” concert series will be canceled. District officials say since the start of pandemic, the Rockford Park District has followed and supported guidelines and requirements established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health…

Pritzker urges Illinois churches to submit reopening plans

By Jim Hagerty Reporter SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged faith groups across the state to submit plans for reopening to his office. And the more comprehensive, the better. The governor said it has been a challenge during the pandemic to phase churches back to in-person worship and other gatherings, which is why he put a stamp of approval on the Catholic Church's detailed plan. "Every church is different--and mosque and synagogue," Pritzker said during his Thursday…

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…

Senate GOP leader files bill to reopen Illinois businesses by June 1

By Cole Lauterbach SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, has filed a measure that would require state officials to allow businesses to reopen next month, in addition to restricting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s emergency declaration powers. “The proposal put forward by the Illinois Chamber (of Commerce) is an important step in moving the discussion forward on how we safely reopen our state and get our economy moving forward more quickly,” he said. The language…

Online grocery ordering approved for 1.8M SNAP recipients

Staff Report SPRINGFIELD - Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services on Wednesday, announced the state's plan to enable 1.8 million SNAP recipients to purchase food from participating grocery retailers online has been approved by the federal government. The new purchasing option will begin on June 2. All Link customers will be alerted when they can use their card to make food orders online. "To keep more families safe and healthy, my administration is expanding…

Outdoor seating allowed May 29 at Illinois bars, restaurants

By Jim Hagerty Reporter SPRINGFIELD - Illinois bars and restaurants will be permitted to offer outdoor seating at the end of the month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday. The announcement moves the provisions for eateries and saloons from Phase 4 to Phase 3 of the governor's five-phase Restore Illinois plan to restart an economy that's been nearly decimated under what's now been a nine-week stay-at-home order. Beginning May 29, outdoor dining will be permitted with tables 6 feet apart,…

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…

Winnebago County leaders aim to open restaurants, churches June 1

By Jim Hagerty Reporter ROCKFORD - Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney and Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell announced Monday that leaders are working on a plan that would allow some businesses to open early with social distancing restrictions. The plan is for Winnebago County restaurants, day cares and churches to open by June 1, in Phase 3 of the five-phase Restore Illinois plan. As-is, however, the state plan does not permit those…

Manteno Veterans’ Home sees third COVID-19-related death

Staff Report CHICAGO - The Manteno Veterans’ Home reported Saturday that a third resident has died from complications of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 63 residents at the state-run facility have contracted coronavirus disease. They are among the 92,457 in Illinois to be diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 2,088 new cases Saturday, including 74 additional deaths, 54 of which were reported in Cook…

Pritzker criminalizes stay-at-home violations, Rep. John Cabello responds

By Jim Hagerty Reporter CHICAGO - Illinois businesses could now face jail time if they violate rules under Gov. J.B. Pritzker "stay-at-home" executive order. Pritzker filed an amendment to Illinois' public health laws Friday to include the section, "Pandemic or Epidemic Respiratory Disease -- Emergency Provisions." The section states restaurants are limited to carryout, and that gyms, salons and tattoo shops must close during a disease outbreak. Businesses owners who defy this law…