Coronavirus in Illinois updates: 18 new known deaths, 1,105 new cases in the state, officials say

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Illinois announced 18 new known deaths on Sunday and 1,105 new coronavirus infections, the state’s largest single-day increase. That brings the state total to 4,596 confirmed cases and 65 deaths.

The totals came a day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced an infant diagnosed with COVID-19 has died. The 9-month-old-child, whose medical history was not released, is believed to be the youngest person in Illinois whose death has been linked to the coronavirus.

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Here are the latest updates Sunday on the new coronavirus in the Chicago area and Illinois:

5:57 p.m.: Cook County jail cases spike to 101

Cook County jail officials on Sunday said the number of detainees testing positive for COVID-19 has risen to 101. The tally increased from the 89 confirmed cases reported on Saturday. Nine other detainees tested negative, but tests for 93 other detainees were pending, sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

The number of sheriff’s office staff who tested positive remained at 12. — William Lee

4:54 p.m.: 2 Cubs game-day employees test positive for the coronavirus

Two Cubs game-day employees who attended a March 8 training session at Wrigley Field have tested positive for the coronavirus, the team confirmed Sunday.

The team has lent its support to the employees, said Julian Green, the Cubs vice president of communication and community affairs.

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The workers alerted the team of their condition early last week. One was hospitalized, and the other is recovering at home.

The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the positive tests. Read more here. — Mark Gonzales

4:14 p.m.: Dozens dispersed at Far Northwest Side church

Chicago police on Sunday dispersed service at a Far Northwest Side church that appeared to violate the state’s stay-at-home order.

Officers noticed a large group inside the Saint Odisho Assyrian Church in the 6200 block of North Pulaski Road just before 9 a.m.

Police on the scene noticed between 42 and 60 people, with a large number of them elderly, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Officers also observed several congregants drinking from the same spiritual cup. Police “expedited” the completion of the church’s service and informed the participants of the stay-at-home order, which restricts movement for non-essential tasks and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people during the COVID-19 outbreak. Doctors say the elderly, especially with pre-existing health conditions, are particularly at risk from the highly contagious virus.

“This is sincerely the last thing we want to do but public health during this climate is vastly important for everyone,” Guglielmi said.

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No citations or arrests were made. Church officials couldn’t be reached for comment. — William Lee

4:13 p.m.: Naperville pastor hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus

The lead pastor of Calvary Church Naperville is asking members to pray for one of the church’s pastors who is hospitalized with pneumonia after he tested positive for coronavirus last week. Read more here. — Erin Hegarty

3:17 p.m.: 18 new known deaths, 1,105 new coronavirus cases in Illinois

Illinois announced it had 1,105 new known coronavirus infections in the state, and 18 new deaths, according to Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of state public health department. It was the largest single-day increase and brings the state total to 4,596 confirmed cases and 65 deaths.

Illinois is now administering an average of 4,000 tests per day, up from about half that on March 24, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Sunday, and hopes to get to 10,000 a day “in the coming days.”

Pritzker said getting up to 10,000 tests a day will be “significant” because it will give a “truly holistic understanding” of the virus.

Pritzker blamed the federal government for what he called a “profound failing” in not providing more testing sooner in February and the “exponential spread that followed.”

“Even though we’ve moved past the point of pure containment,” the governor said, expanding testing remains a priority and “we are not yet where I want to be.”

The expansion of testing includes adding second shifts at each of the three state-run laboratories, and the Illinois National Guard has opened a second drive-through testing site downstate.

Besides the state labs, there are now also four commercial laboratories and 15 hospitals producing tests, and 30 hospitals and clinics running the tests. In total, about 28,000 tests have been administered in the state so far.

On the death of infant, Pritzker and Ezike stressed that, while tragic, such cases appear to be extremely rare and that, more typically, small children have not experienced severe illness and death. Ezike said the investigation into that case is stil underway and declined to address whether the child’s parents have tested positive.

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“It is fair to say that most of the models that I’ve seen … show that we will be peaking sometime in April in Illinois,” Pritzker said. He added it’s clear the state needs more hospital capacity, which is why new triage centers are being added around the state and efforts are in the works to transform McCormick Place in Chicago, for example, into a coronavirus treatment facility.

3:15 p.m.: Coronavirus a factor in permanent closure of MacMurray College after 174 years

MacMurray College, a Springfield-area four-year college with an enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students, this weekend announced it will permanently close at the end of the spring semester, shuttering the 60-acre, 174-year-old institution, in small part due to the “economic disruption” caused by the new coronavirus.

In a video announcement posted to the school’s website, Beverly Rodgers, college president, and Charles O’Connell, the chairman of the school’s board of trustees, said the main issues were declining enrollments, rising competitive costs, and a small endowment.“

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic disruption were recent factors that complicated MacMurray’s financial condition, but they are not the principal reasons for the Board’s decision to close,” O’Connell said in a statement.

The school is located in Jacksonville, about 30 miles outside Springfield. It touts itself as a career-directed school with a strong liberal arts tradition, known for its nursing, deaf education, homeland security, criminal justice, and social work degrees.

In addressing students, faculty, and alumni, O’Connell said the board’s vote during a March meeting was unanimous.“

Despite our best efforts over the last several months, the board has determined we have no viable financial path forward and the board has voted unanimously to close MacMurray College at the end of the spring term,” he said. “The reality is this: We were left with no alternative and had only one responsible option.”

Rodgers, who took the helm in 2019, said she knew when accepting the position the school had a weak financial footing.“

No doubt this was one of my toughest challenges and I am tremendously disappointed we could not find a solution,” she said. “Our best efforts weren’t good enough. … Our task now is to close MacMurray with compassion for its family, and care for its legacy.”

Rodgers expressed sympathy for current seniors, who will be the last graduating class in the school’s history. She said the administration was working to make the transition to new schools as painless as possible for the remaining students and its roughly 100 faculty members.

The annual tuition for was $28,540 and the school had an endowment of $10.2 million, but it was unable to stay afloat. O’Connell, who graduated from the school in 1969, lamented the decision, which was made after more than a year of searching for ways to increase funding.

“We wish nothing but the best for the entire Mac community. As a fellow Highlander, I hope you will look back on your time at MacMurray College as fondly as I do. And while MacMurray College may cease to exist the impact Mac has had on all of our lives will last forever,” he said.

–Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

11:30 a.m. Chicago baby who died of COVID-19 was 9 months old

Illinois’ youngest coronavirus victim was 9 months old.

The death of the infant – possibly the youngest in the United States to die of COVID-19 – was announced by a shaken Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Saturday, among the 13 new Illinois deaths reported that day. On Sunday, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health said on Sunday, revealed that the child was 9 months old.

No information about the child’s medical history has been released. Arwady called the death of an infant to COVID-19 “very, very unusual.” –Cecilia Reyes, Stacy St. Clair

11:15 a.m.: Cook County Forest Preserve District closes all facilities, restrooms; cancels all events

The forest preserves of Cook County will remain open but Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Sunday she will close all public buildings and restrooms and cancel all event permits through May 11.

The closures will include all visitors centers, six nature centers and all forest preserve campgrounds. Permitted events and volunteer activities have been canceled through May 11.

Officials said they will strongly enforce social distancing and that police will break up any crowds that form. Preckwinkle said other areas of the system could be closed if crowds gather in those areas.

“If and when we see that a specific location is no longer tenable, due to the behavior of visitors, we will add it to the list of sites we have shut down,” she said in a press conference at the Dan Ryan Woods pavilion.

The county park district has already closed its public buildings, visitors centers, nature centers and campgrounds, but Preckwinkle said the list could grow longer if patrons grow too numerous or do not follow proper social distancing. Read more here.

–John Keilman

10:35 a.m.: In Indiana, Lake County coronavirus cases rise to 85; Porter County up to 14

Both Lake and Porter counties saw their positive coronavirus case numbers go up Sunday morning, but the two counties’ death toll remained unchanged at one in Lake County.

Porter County’s positive case number nearly doubled, to 14 cases from eight Saturday, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s update released Sunday morning. Lake County’s rose by 17 cases to 85 from 68 Saturday, keeping it as the county with the second-highest number of cases in the state, the ISDH said.

Marion County remains the hardest hit, now with 676 cases, up 92 from Saturday, while Hamilton County added 19 cases, bringing it to 83, the ISDH said.The statewide death toll increased only by one as of Sunday morning, bringing the count to 32, according to the ISDH. Of 9,830 people tested for the virus, 1,514 have tested positive. Read more here.

–Michelle Quinn, Post-Tribune

Saturday, March 28

7:30 p.m.: COVID-19 sickens 51 more Cook County Jail detainees, 12 staffers

There are now a total of 89 detainees in the Department of Corrections custody who have tested positive for the coronavirus, as of 5 p.m. Saturday, a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Twelve sheriff’s office staffers are also stricken.

The numbers at the jail have been spiking daily. As of Friday at the same hour, 38 detainees and nine workers tested positive, an earlier statement said. —Rosemary Sobol

6:51 p.m.: Lake County alerts about cases involving North Shore Christian Quad City Revival in North Chicago in mid-March

6:41 p.m.: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assesses Tinley Park Convention Center

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday assessed the Tinley Park Convention Center in the event it needs to be pressed into service to house some coronavirus patients, according to Pat Carr, the village’s assistant manager who oversees emergency management.

No decision has been made whether to use the 75,000-square-foot facility, northeast of the interchange of Interstate 80 and Harlem Avenue, the largest such convention center in the south suburbs, Carr said. Read more here.

6:40 p.m.: McHenry County announces first COVID-19 case involving a long-term care facility

McHenry County Health Department announced Saturday its first COVID-19 case involving a resident of a long-term care facility. The patient is hospitalized in isolation. McHenry also had its second death among the 13 announced by IDPH today.

6:30 p.m.: Pritzker pushes back cannabis license application deadline

Pritzker pushes back the deadline to submit applications for cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses from Monday to April 30 and requires it by certified mail.

4:29 p.m.: Heinen’s grocery store temporarily closes Glenview location after employee tests positive for COVID-19

Heinen’s grocery store has temporarily closed its Glenview location after a worker tested positive for COVID-19, the chain announced Saturday.

The store associate who tested positive for the coronavirus last worked March 23, according to a message posted to the store’s website. The store’s owners began the process of closing the Glenview location after finding out about the result.

“The store will remain closed while we do a deep clean performed by a professional crew using a food-approved antiviral cleaner,” the statement reads. “We will be cleaning the sales area and the backroom areas in accordance with CDC guidelines.”

No date was given for when the store will reopen, but the owners said they will announce on social media when it does.

The grocery chain’s other locations remain open and are following sanitation and increased cleaning practices, according to the statement.

2:33 p.m.: Gov. Pritzker announces an infant and an Illinois state employee diagnosed with the new coronavirus have died

The death of an infant diagnosed with COVID-19 prompted another stern warning Saturday from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and public health officials about the importance of obeying the week-old stay-at-home order.

The child, whose exact age and medical history was not released, is believed to be the youngest person in Illinois whose death has been linked to the coronavirus.

The infant’s death clearly shook Pritzker, as state officials confirmed 12 other deaths, including a state employee, and 465 new cases. The death toll announced Saturday marks the state’s highest single-day death total since the state began tracking the virus on Jan. 21.

Illinois now has 3,491 total known cases and 47 deaths.

A state employee also was among the deaths announced Saturday.

“I know how difficult this news can be, especially about this very young child,” the governor said at his daily news conference Saturday. “Upon hearing it, I admit that I was immediately shaken. It’s appropriate for any of us to grieve today. It’s especially sorrowful for the family of this very small child for the years stolen from this infant. We should grieve … We should grieve for a sense of normalcy we left behind just a few short weeks ago.

“More than 85 percent of corona-related deaths in Illinois occur in people 60 or older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

However, people of all ages are susceptible to the virus, officials said.

The IDPH would not release any additional details about the infant, including whether the child had any underlying medical conditions.

“There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.” Read more here. —Stacy St. Clair and Cecilia Reyes

12:32 p.m.: Indiana health department reports 31 deaths, 1,232 COVID-19 cases

One person has died from COVID-19 in Lake County as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Indiana continues to sharply rise.

Lake County also saw an additional 21 residents test positive for COVID-19. The new numbers bring Lake County’s total number of positive cases to 68, making it the county with the second-highest number of infected individuals in Indiana, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s new numbers released Saturday.

Marion County added another 100 cases, for a total of 584. Hamilton County saw 12 more cases, bringing its total to 64.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Porter County remains at eight, said Porter County Health Administrator Letty Zepeda in a news release Saturday.

“Some of the reported positives are receiving treatment in a health care facility and the remainder are self-isolating at home,” Zepeda said. “The individuals that are self-isolating at home are being contacted twice a day by staff at the Porter County Health Department to closely monitor their condition for any deterioration.”

Seven more people have died from the virus in Indiana, bringing the state total to 31, according to the state health department. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indiana now stands at 1,232, up from 981, according to the state.

The number of people tested now stands at 8,407, up from 6,936 Friday.

Late Friday afternoon, the city of Hammond announced that its first employee had tested positive for COVID-19. A Hammond police officer has tested positive for the virus, Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. said, while two others who were in close contact with that officer were sent home.

The two other individuals won’t be ordered into quarantine, he said, because the city can’t afford to lose first responders at a time like this.

“Just because you’ve been exposed but are not showing symptoms, I can’t have them quarantined for two weeks,” McDermott said. “Imagine if one of the firefighters got sick, and then we quarantined all 12 on a shift because they’ve been exposed.” Read the full story. —Michelle L. Quinn

11:42 a.m.: Chicago child killed by COVID-19, Dr. Arwady says

A young Chicago child has died from coronavirus, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health said.

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“Obviously, our hearts go out to that family,” Arwady said, adding that the county’s medical examiner is doing a full investigation.

She stressed that while the death is likely to raise concern among parents and caregivers, Arwady said, “local data is not looking different in any way than in settings that have seen more cases.”

So far, 12 residents in Chicago have died from the coronavirus, with nine of those people over 60 years old. The median age among confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 47 years old, according to city data.

Arwady announced the latest deaths in a daily Q&A event broadcast by city hall, where she also said people could go on drives or bike rides only to get essentials, and said people who have recovered from coronavirus should wait until three days with no symptoms to break a strict quarantine. —Cecilia Reyes

10:55 a.m.: Big Star, Publican, Avec and more shutting down carryout, delivery

Citing the need to ensure the safety of its guests and staff, the One Off Hospitality Group announced Friday that it will curtail carryout and delivery service for its restaurants — that is, the ones that were offering those services.

“This is an unprecedented time in our history,” the group behind such high-profile restaurants as Publican, Blackbird and Avec announced in a statement posted on Facebook. “As the severity of COVID-19 continues to escalate in Chicago, we must prioritize the safety of our guests and our staff.

“It’s with this in mind that we feel it’s the right time to temporarily postpone all delivery and carry out across our restaurants, beginning with avec this evening, and for Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, Pacific Standard Time and The Violet Hour following service on Saturday night. Our hope is that we can return to doing what we love sooner rather than later.” Read more here. —Phil Vettel

For more than 1,300 area restaurants offering takeout and delivery, see our story here

10:26 a.m.: U. of C. pledges $2 million to deliver meals, support South Side

The University of Chicago plans to provide 225,000 meals over the next 10 weeks to South Side residents in nine-communities, and $1 million in direct cash support to over 100 local businesses and non-profits, according to a press release. The efforts will begin March 30.

Residents and businesses must be within the University’s footprint, in Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn to qualify.

The University will use on-campus dining facilities to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinners and is partnering with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to publicize food distribution locations.

Local businesses in the nine communities can apply for $7,500 cash relief grants. Locations that lease property from the University or its partners can receive up to $7,500 in rent relief.

10:20 a.m.: Aurora area officials implore residents to stay at home

The first week of the state’s stay-at-home order included scattered complaints of gatherings and group activities in the Aurora area, prompting some public officials to remind residents to remain home.

Aurora police officers and Kane County sheriff’s deputies reported no widespread problems, but some park districts in the Fox Valley received complaints of groups at the parks or tennis courts.

Despite the order, suburbs throughout the region saw residents flock to public places as the weather warmed midweek. Crowds prompted Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to close the city’s lakefront and ban contact sports.

The Fox Valley didn’t see the same size and numbers of groups, but both the Geneva Park District and the Fox Valley Park District received reports of gatherings.

Fox Valley Park District officials heard of a tennis practice taking place at Washington Middle School in Aurora, Executive Director Jim Pilmer said. Tennis courts at the school are maintained by the park district and Pilmer did not know who had organized the practice.

As a result, he said, the courts would be locked due to “social distancing and poor judgement by members of the community.”

The park district had already locked dog parks, though open spaces and trails remain accessible. Recently, Pilmer received a request from a resident to put volleyball nets up in the park district’s sand court, but he said the agency would not do so to prevent large gatherings.

The Orchard Valley Golf Course, which is owned by the park district, was briefly open, but that, too, has since closed. Read more here. —Sarah Freishtat, Megan Jones and Linda Girardi

9:10 a.m.: People over 60 with symptoms can now be tested at Northwest Side site

People over 60 who are showing symptoms for COVID-19 can now be tested at a Northwest Side testing location for first responders, officials said.

Starting Saturday, people that qualify can join first responders and health care professionals for testing at 6959 Forest Preserve Dr., according to the Chicago Fire Department. Testing is first come, first served.

The Illinois National Guard on Monday started testing first responders and health care workers at that site, which is a former vehicle emissions testing center near Harlem Avenue and Irving Park Road. —Madeline Buckley

8:00 a.m.: Outdoor weather disappears, for now, as officials implore Chicagoans to stay inside

In a hazardous weather outlook, officials warned of possible thunderstorms, large hail and up to 60mph winds through Sunday.

The outlook for north central and northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana warns of a significant thunderstorm risk, golf ball-sized hail and elevated damaging winds up to 60 mph. Officials also added risk of flooding and fog in the region.

Moving into the afternoon and evening hours, an outbreak of severe thunderstorms with the possibility of very large hail and tornados including a threat of “significant tornadoes,” officials said.

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Officials said it appears that the greatest threat for tornadoes will be along and south of the Interstate 88 corridor, including the Dixon, Rochelle, DeKalb, Peru, Pontiac, Morris and Kankakee. Read more. —Deanese Williams-Harris

Breaking coronavirus news

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Friday, March 27

Thursday, March 26

Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates in the Chicago area and Illinois from Thursday:

Wednesday, March 25

Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates in the Chicago area and Illinois from Wednesday:

Tuesday, March 24

Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates in the Chicago area and Illinois from Tuesday:

Monday, March 23

Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates in the Chicago area and Illinois from Monday:

Sunday, March 22

Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates in the Chicago area and Illinois from Sunday:

Saturday, March 21

Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates in the Chicago area and Illinois from Saturday:

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