Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration announced 1,529 new known cases of the coronavirus statewide, including 82 additional deaths. The number of deaths in Illinois now stands at 462 since the beginning of the epidemic, and the statewide known case count is 15,078.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a sweeping curfew order on all liquor sales across Chicago, banning sales after 9 p.m. in the city’s latest attempt to curb the coronavirus pandemic that is still growing every day. The new curfew takes effect Thursday night throughout the city.
Here are the latest updates Wednesday on the new coronavirus in the Chicago area and Illinois:
8:44 p.m.: How 1 sick person led to 16 likely coronavirus cases and 3 deaths
Before shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures had been implemented in Illinois to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, a man with a mild respiratory illness shared a takeout meal with a couple of close friends mourning the death of a relative in Chicago.
The next day, the man attended the funeral. A few days later, he joined another family for a birthday party.
Within a matter of days, he had close contact with several people at these family gatherings and apparently infected 10 people, according to an investigation by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Once those individuals went home and attended other social functions, health officials suspect at least 16 people, between the ages of 5 and 86, had contracted the coronavirus (seven confirmed through testing, nine with suspected symptoms). Three died after catching the virus, according to the report published Wednesday. Read more here. —Tony Briscoe
8:21 p.m.: Are heart attack patients avoiding hospitals because of the coronavirus? Some Chicago doctors think so
Many people are trying to avoid emergency rooms as the novel coronavirus continues to spread, but there’s at least one group of people whose recent disappearance from hospitals is worrying doctors: heart attack patients.
Chicago-area doctors say they’ve seen dramatic decreases in the numbers of those patients in recent weeks as state and federal officials have urged most people to stay home.
It’s possible fewer people are having heart attacks because they’re stuck inside, sitting on their couches all day. But doctors say people who are suffering symptoms may also be avoiding hospitals out of fear of catching the coronavirus or consuming precious medical resources. And that may put some at greater risk of dying. Read more here. —Lisa Schencker
7:21 p.m.: New prediction for Illinois: Fewer deaths, earlier peak
A prominent research group that forecasts the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced its estimates for how many Illinoisans will die – news welcomed by state officials who also cautioned that projections, in general, are tricky and uncertain.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, at the University of Washington, on Wednesday projected 1,588 Illinoisans will die from the new coronavirus through Aug. 4. The institute also revised its prediction on when the peak of cases will hit, now predicting that for April 11.
7:08 p.m.: Logan Square woman gunned down while social-distancing outside 7-Eleven
A “vibrant’’ Logan Square woman who “loved the city’’ was shot dead while waiting in a social-distanced line outside a 7-Eleven Tuesday night, only blocks from her apartment, her family and police said. Read more here. —Rosemary Sobol
6:20 p.m.: Chicago Food depository launches coronavirus crisis grant program, suspends charges to pantries for food, seeking volunteers
The Greater Chicago Food Depository on Wednesday set up a $1 million grant program to help food pantries across Cook County remain open and is seeking volunteers to help pack boxes of food for food pantries.
The grants will be between $1,500 and $5,000 each and will be made available to pantries in need, according to the agency. The first $600,000 will be available within a couple days, and the rest of the money will be distributed “in a second phase that will take into consideration special circumstances, such as organizations facing critical budget shortfalls and significant increased need,” said Jim Conwell, a spokesman for the agency. Read more here. —Peter Nickeas
5:06 p.m.: 2 more deaths reported in DuPage County, including 17th at long-term care facility
Two more people have died with the coronavirus in DuPage County, officials reported Wednesday, including one at a Burr Ridge nursing home.
There were 93 new known COVID-19 cases, making a total of 873 in the county. The death toll is at 28. Of those, 17 were residents of long-term care facilities, the DuPage County Health Department said.
The most recent deaths included a woman in her 80s who was a resident of the care facility in Burr Ridge and a man in his 60s who’d been living in the community in DuPage. Both victims had other medical conditions. Read more here. —Robert McCoppin
4:47 p.m.: Chicago’s Catholic archdiocese to air ecumenical Stations of the Cross on Good Friday; Mayor Lori Lightfoot among those featured
With people unable to able to gather at church because of the statewide stay-at-home order, Chicago’s Catholic Church is working with leaders from other churches and the community to offer an online experience of one of Good Friday’s most visible traditions—the Stations of the Cross.
“As we respond to the threat to the health and safety of our neighbors by social distancing, we also find ourselves carrying each other’s crosses and joining together in common prayer,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a short interview Wednesday.
The Stations of the Cross trace the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. Stations of the Cross celebrations often draw thousands of people across the country, including on Chicago’s West Side.
In addition to Catholic clergy, the video will feature Mayor Lori Lightfoot, police, firefighters, teachers, healthcare professionals, and religious leaders from other denominations, according to archdiocese officials.
“We’re just trying to get people to focus on being together by praying together,” Cupich said. “I think we can build unity throughout the city.” —Javonte Anderson
4:22 p.m.: Groupon furloughs sales staff amid coronavirus pandemic
Groupon is furloughing “significant portions” of its sales and sales operations teams in North America as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic hits the Chicago-based daily deals site.
The company, which launched more than 11 years ago with a two-for-one pizza deal at a Chicago bar, was already facing obstacles. It ousted its CEO last month after reporting a disappointing fourth-quarter performance and plans to reduce costs.
Those cost-reduction efforts will not be enough, Groupon’s interim CEO Aaron Cooper said in a Monday email to employees. Cooper announced the job cuts in the email, and said he expects to “extend these and other actions, including layoffs.” Read more here. —Ally Marotti
4:13 p.m.: Next Chicago singalong will honor Bill Withers with ‘Lean on Me’ at 7 p.m. on Saturday
Like past singalongs in Chicago and other cities across the globe to raise people’s spirits amid the pandemic, residents are encouraged to lean out their windows or stand in their doorways for a bit of music and fellowship.
As first reported by Block Club Chicago, this Saturday’s song “Lean on Me” — an homage to friendship in trouble times — in honor of beloved crooner Bill Withers who wrote and sang the song and died last week from heart complications. —Lisa Donovan
3:55 p.m.: How to find a new normal and cope with coronavirus anxiety
Rebecca Resman’s kids have a new game they play, shaped by the strangeness of the coronavirus pandemic.
At 5 and 7 years old, the two siblings stand sentinel at each end of their parent-approved sidewalk turf, spanning a couple houses each way, binoculars in hand.
When someone approaches, they yell into walkie talkies, “Danger! People! Head to HQ!” Then they run, joyfully screaming, to their chalk-adorned makeshift clubhouse under their porch.
“It’s a weird combination of ‘Spy’ and ‘Pandemic,’” Resman said. “It’s a blend of funny and sad.”
She knows it’s a game to them, but “I hope they recover from that strange detail of social distancing,” she mused.
Now in their third week under the state’s stay-at-home order, the Roscoe Village family, like the rest of the world, is finding its way forward. Collectively, adapting to a life-altering pandemic has been hard on the psyche, and experts are seeing widespread spikes in anxiety and coping mechanisms as we all try to adapt. Read more here. —Ariel Cheung
3:09 p.m.: Lightfoot supports suspending FOIA deadlines during coronavirus shutdown, says saving lives more important
Efforts by reporters and others to get information from the city of Chicago through freedom of information requests should take a back seat to saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday.
Lightfoot is supporting a move by the Illinois Municipal League to get Attorney General Kwame Raoul to suspend deadlines for government bodies to respond to public records requests for as long as Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order remains in effect.
Though Chicago government has thousands of workers on its payroll, the mayor defended her stance on the grounds it will stop city employees from getting pulled away from more important life-saving efforts.
“That’s the mission. Saving lives,” Lightfoot said. “And when I think about, for example, the public health department where we’ve got epidemiologists and those are doctors who are trained in looking at patterns and viruses and other things that are relevant to this time who are crunching data, providing analysis and helping generate the information that is the foundation for our modeling and predictions about what the slope of this virus is, I want to ask the average Chicagoan: Would you like them to do their job or would you like them to be pulled off to do FOIA requests?”
The mayor invoked the Passover story of God sending the angel of death to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians in making her case that FOIA deadlines should be suspended.
“I think for those people who are scared to death about this virus, who are worried every single day that it’s going to come to their doorstep, and I’m mindful of the fact that we’re in the Pesach season, the angel of death that we all talk about is the Passover story, that angel of death is right here in our midst every single day,” she said.
“So what I think most people want is for us to be focused on saving people’s lives so that we don’t have to bury another grandmother, another mother, father, a policeman, a fireman, a city worker. That is what we are focused on and in this time where we are all straining, where we are paired down to just the essential services, it is difficult, it is difficult for many city agencies to be able to respond to the FOIA requests that have heightened.” — John Byrne
3 p.m.: Chicago’s top cop calls spike in violence a ‘pandemic’ that is draining resources from fighting coronavirus outbreak
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck decried Tuesday’s spike in gun violence in Chicago, saying the shootings strain the city’s health services at a time when hospitals need to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.
“Violence of any kind is never acceptable,” Lightfoot said. “But the fact that this is especially urgent now as our ability to treat all Chicagoans is being stretched to the breaking point, we cannot allow this to happen and we will not allow this to happen.”
At least 21 people were shot Tuesday, including a 5-year-old girl who was sitting on a porch on the South Side. A man with her was killed. Six other people were shot to death across the city, the deadliest day from gunfire in nearly two years.
Beck underscored Lightfoot’s dire message, declaring “there are two pandemics in Chicago and only one is virus induced. Read more here. —Gregory Pratt, Paige Fry and Jeremy Gorner
2:41 p.m.: 82 additional deaths and 1,529 new known cases of COVID-19
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration announced 1,529 new known cases of the new coronavirus statewide, including 82 additional deaths.
The number of deaths in Illinois now stands at 462 since the beginning of the epidemic, and the statewide known case count is 15,078.
The state fell short of a testing capacity goal Pritzker set out late last month, and he said Wednesday that researchers are working to get new testing online.
On Wednesday, Illinois surpassed 6,000 tests in a 24-hour period, Pritzker said, and the state will not reach its goal of 10,000 tests this week.
“Ten days ago I said to you every day we aren’t hitting 10,000 tests or more is another day that we’re not able to get the answers that help us get past the current crisis,” Pritzker said. “So today I’m standing in front of you and saying we are not there yet.”
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said while numbers are continuing to grow, the rate at which they’re increasing is “less,” which she called a good sign.
“We are not seeing the exponential growth that we were seeing before,” Ezike said.
She continued to urge people to stay six feet away from others, wear a face mask in public and wash their hands frequently. —Jamie Munks
2:38 p.m.: Lightfoot discusses 2 new deaths among ranks of city employees
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday said a worker in the Department of Assets, Information and Services has died from complications due to the coronavirus.
The announcement of David Veloz’s death comes a day after the Chicago Fire Department announced Mario Araujo, 49, had become the first firefighter to die from the virus.
“Both of these individuals serviced our city proudly, and we honor their dedication and public service,” Lightfoot said. “It is that very dedication and selflessness that held us together through this terrible moment. Our deepest condolences go out to these two individuals’ families and friends and colleagues, who themselves are grieving, and whose own lives have been torn apart by these terrible losses. These deaths are yet another reminder of the danger of this disease, and the devastating impact it is having on individuals and families across our city. That is why we need everyone to continue to stay safe, remain vigilant and save lives.”
Joining the mayor at her Wednesday news conference, Fire Department Commissioner Richard Ford II said the department’s mourning for Araujo will not stop firefighters and paramedics from performing their duties during the pandemic.
“We will still respond, we will still serve, and we will still take care of this great city of ours,” Ford said. —John Byrne
1:29 p.m.: Lightfoot has stern warning for Chicago Airbnb operators
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday threatened to shut down any Airbnb users whose renters are using their services to hold large parties.
“It has come to our attention that some renters have been holding large parties,” Lightfoot said.
Though Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order rules Airbnbs essential, meaning they can remain open, Lightfoot said, “The stay-at-home order means you are not exempt from the social distancing rules that have already been put in place.”
“To those holding large gatherings in rental properties, Airbnbs and the like, make no mistake, if we find you, we will shut it down,” Lightfoot said.
The city also will pursue license revocations where possible, Lightfoot said, adding: “I have no qualms about doing that.” —Gregory Pratt
1:10 p.m.: All liquor sales banned after 9 p.m., Lightfoot orders
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued a sweeping curfew order on all liquor sales across Chicago, banning sales after 9 p.m. in the city’s latest attempt to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not punitive. It’s protective,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot’s liquor store curfew is the latest step taken by the city to stem COVID-19. On March 26, she closed Chicago’s lakefront, The 606 elevated trail and the Riverwalk after widespread flouting of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
At least three liquor stores on Chicago’s West Side previously agreed voluntarily to close early to encourage people to stay home. Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th, also announced Tuesday that liquor stores in his ward voluntarily agreed to shut down at 5 every afternoon. Read more here. —Gregory Pratt
12:51 p.m.: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle not ready to consider layoffs as ‘economy falls off a cliff’ because of coronavirus crisis
The double whammy of plummeting tax revenue and high health care costs thanks to the coronavirus will hit Cook County’s budget hard, county board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday, but she wouldn’t predict whether she will need to consider layoffs to cope with the financial disaster.
On a conference call with other county officials from around the country, Preckwinkle said her finance team is working to figure out how bad the 2020 budget shortfall will be. The county gets about 65% of its revenue from “economically sensitive” sources such as the sales tax, which will take a deep dip as people stay home, she said.
“We hope to have those projections by late April,” said Preckwinkle, who announced Wednesday that she is self-isolating for the rest of the week because a member of her security team has the virus.
Cook County has more than two months of of expenses in reserve, Preckwinkle said. “But clearly, when the economy falls off a cliff, even people who have the recommended reserves are challenged,” she said. “So crunch time for us, I think, is May, and my financial staff is working very hard to find out where we are financially and what projections are for revenue and expenses beyond May.”
She also noted that of the more than 200 patients currently at Stroger Hospital, about half are there because they are suffering from symptoms of COVID-19. “And I can’t tell you whether any of those or all of them are insured, either private insurance or through a Medicaid expansion program or Medicaid itself,” Preckwinkle said.
Cook County likely will resort to short-term borrowing to make ends meet, through a line of credit county commissioners recently activated, Preckwinkle said.
“We’re not going to have sufficient reserves to keep all of our employees on forever, so the question is how long will the shelter-in-place order continue, and then what is our fiscal situation,” she said. Read more here. —John Byrne
11:49 a.m.: With Bronx Zoo tiger catching coronavirus, should pet owners be concerned about COVID-19? Health experts weigh in
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to surge worldwide, scientists and health experts, including University of Illinois researchers who helped diagnose a New York zoo tiger with the disease, are now looking into how animals are affected by the new coronavirus.
“There’s no evidence that pets, including cats and dogs, can spread COVID-19 to people,” said Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.
But while health experts say there is no evidence to suggest pets can transmit coronavirus to humans, they are encouraging people who have the disease or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to remain socially distant from their pets. Read more here. —Javonte Anderson
11:20 a.m.: Fund established to help Chicagoans amid pandemic announces 2nd round of grants to groups helping those hit by COVID-19 crisis
Organizers of a Chicago-area fund set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic announced Wednesday it is making its second round of grants, this time handing out $5.3 million in grants to 103 local nonprofits.
The Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund was set up as a partnership between the city, the Chicago Community Trust and the United Way of Metro Chicago. It has raised more than $21 million since its March 17 launch, according to a news release. Notably, more than $8 million was raised in a single day.
In its first wave, $3.5 million went to provide grant support to 42 local nonprofits that represent “a mix of broad reach organizations” that have experience working with the most vulnerable communities. When the second round is complete, more than 140 organizations will have received more than $8.8 million in funding.
Nonprofits in the second round include: Thresholds, Beyond Hunger, Erie Neighborhood House, El Valor, Franciscan Outreach, PLOWS Council on Aging, and the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, according to a news release from the fund. Read more here. —Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas
11:10 a.m.: McDonald’s executives take pay cuts as COVID-19 pandemic causes sales plunge
McDonald’s president and CEO Chris Kempczinski will cut his base salary by half as restaurant sales plunge due to COVID-19, the fast food giant said Wednesday in a regulatory filing.
Sales declined significantly starting mid-March as many governments instituted stay-at-home orders and banned restaurants from dine-in service. While 99% of McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. remain open for delivery, drive-thru and pickup, globally only 75% remain open in some capacity as a result of complete closures in several markets including Italy, France and Spain.
Sales at U.S. restaurants open at least a year dropped 13.4% in March compared to a year earlier, after rising 8% during the first two months of the year, and were down 22.2% globally, the company said.
Kempczinski, who took the helm of the Chicago-based chain in November and has an annual base salary of $1.25 million, said in a note on the company’s website that he volunteered for the 50% pay cut because “this was the right thing to do.”
Other executives including Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ozan, McDonald’s USA President Joe Ehrlinger, McDonald’s International President Ian Borden and General Counsel and Secretary Jerry Krulewitch, agreed to reduce their base salaries by 25%, Kempczinski said. Read more here. —Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz
10:20 a.m.: With financial fallout from coronavirus growing, Illinois colleges seek more federal relief money
Illinois’ 12 public universities are asking members of Congress for additional funding to offset the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, saying they have not received enough federal money to cover initial expenses of at least $224 million.
A letter to the Illinois delegation sent Tuesday said costs continue to grow from refunding room and board, transitioning work and classes to online formats, constant cleaning of campuses and canceled events that would have brought in revenue.
“With over 180,000 students, more than 48,000 employees and a collective economic impact of greater than $21 billion, our institutions have a crucial role to play in helping Illinois manage and recover from this grave challenge,” said the letter, signed by presidents of the universities.
They said they anticipate receiving $140 million in relief from the recently passed stimulus bill, known as the CARES Act, but warned that more support is needed. In all, the CARES Act set aside $14 billion in aid allocated for higher education across the country – a fourth of the amount originally requested.
The schools signaled support for an additional funding request of $47 billion made by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Schools said they would also benefit from receiving refundable tax credits to pay for expansions of employee paid sick leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act. While the Families First Coronavirus Response Act offers this assistance to private companies, public employers are apparently exempt, according to the presidents. Costs for covering the workplace benefits are estimated to be $195 million.
The letter was signed by presidents of University of Illinois System, Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University System and Western Illinois University. —Elyssa Cherney
9:46 a.m.: The self-employed are still waiting for help from the federal stimulus law
Self-employed Illinois workers like Uber drivers and piano teachers who have lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic will have to wait weeks before they can apply for financial assistance under the federal relief law.
The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which includes benefits for the self-employed, was signed into law March 27. Late Sunday, the federal government provided 79 pages of instructions to states for administering unemployment assistance under the relief act, including aid for the self-employed.
On Tuesday, Illinois was unable to provide any guidance on when applications will open. Creating a system for the self-employed, who are not usually eligible for unemployment benefits, will take time, Rebecca Cisco, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, said in an email. Read more here. —Mary Wisniewski
9:25 a.m.: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle self-isolating after security detail member tests positive for coronavirus
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’ is self isolating for the rest of the week after a member of her security detail tested positive coronavirus, she announced in a news release.
The employee was last in the building and in one of the county’s security detail vehicles on March 27, Preckwinkle said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with my colleague and their entire family during this challenging time,” Preckwinkle said. “While I have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, in an abundance of caution, and to follow public health guidance, I will self-isolate until end of day Friday, April 10.”
The county already has deep cleaned affected areas of the 5th floor and the vehicle will be taken out of service for a cleaning, she said.
“Cook County has a large workforce and unfortunately, like all large workplaces and communities, we are likely to continue to learn of more positive test results involving County employees or their loved ones as more tests become available and the virus continues to spread,” Preckwinkle said. “We are all navigating uncharted waters, but while we continue to be challenged now and in the days and weeks ahead we remain one community, we remain one Cook County and we will get through this difficult season together.” Read more here. —Gregory Pratt
9:04 a.m.: Alton’s mayor told police to crack down on people violating Illinois’ stay-at-home order. They cited his wife at a downtown bar.
The mayor told his police department to crack down on anyone violating the Illinois “stay-at-home” order. The police did just that – and cited the mayor’s wife at a downtown tavern.
Alton Mayor Brant Walker revealed in a Monday Facebook post that one of several people cited at a downtown bar early Sunday was his wife, Shannon Walker. Walker said the Alton police chief contacted him about 1 a.m. Sunday to say they were investigating and stopping a gathering at a bar downtown that was in violation of Illinois’ stay-at-home order.
“I was also made aware that my wife was in attendance at this prohibited social gathering,” Walker wrote. “I instructed the Police Chief to treat her as he would any citizen violating the “Stay At Home” order and to ensure that she received no special treatment.” Read more here. —Jeremy Kohler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
8:41 a.m.: Rahm Emanuel wrote a book about local governments stepping in for the fed. The coronavirus response is proving his point — and its limits.
In February, when the novel coronavirus pandemic seemed a distant, abstract threat, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel published “The Nation City.” It argues that local governments have stepped up to devise innovative policy solutions when the federal government failed to provide leadership.
In a nutshell: As our national political conversation has devolved into a rancorous, never-ending partisan feud, mayors are digging in to do the real work of governing.
Emanuel’s book largely glossed over the role of governors, but it still came to mind this weekend as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker sparred with President Donald Trump over the federal government’s response to COVID-19. States have been leading efforts to thwart the disease, blanketing much — but not all — of the country with a patchwork of stay-at-home orders and seeking out critical medical supplies on their own.
8:36 a.m.: Whimsical video game world of ‘Animal Crossing’ flourishes amid coronavirus lockdowns
Photographer Amber Gercken and her 10-year-old daughter Lily have been stuck in their Mokena townhouse since Illinois’ stay-at-home order took effect. Yet as their physical world has contracted, a virtual one has boomed.
The Gerckens are devotees of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” a social simulation video game released just as COVID-19 drove most of the country indoors. It has since become a cultural phenomenon on par with the Netflix show “Tiger King,” dominating countless social media feeds, breaking sales records and racking up more than 37 million hours of viewing time on the streaming platform Twitch.
But what especially matches “Animal Crossing” to the moment is that it replicate parts of everyday life that have been frozen by the pandemic. Players can build and decorate their homes, visit friends, even hold weddings and graduations. And they can do it all with a whimsical supporting cast of hedgehogs, owls and dodos.
Carly Kocurek, associate professor of digital humanities and media studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said while the game is popular largely due to its adorable landscapes and characters — “I think we can never underestimate how nice it is to have cute things” — it also makes an understated commentary on current events. Read more here.
7:05 a.m.: Wisconsin voters return 77% of absentee ballots in time
New numbers from the Wisconsin Elections Commission show voters have returned at least three-quarters of the absentee ballots they requested in time for them to count in the state’s spring election and more could be in the mail.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, voters had requested nearly 1.29 million absentee ballots. Clerks had issued nearly 1.28 million absentee ballots and had recorded 990,129 returned. That’s about a 77% return rate.
Voters had until 8 p.m. to drop absentee ballots off at the polls. Clerks also will accept any ballots postmarked Tuesday that they receive through the mail until April 13, which means clerks could be getting more ballots in the mail in the coming days. —Associated Press
7 a.m.: Chicago to announce new efforts aimed at preventing spread of coronavirus in neighborhoods
Mayor Lori Lightfoot will appear with interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck and the head of the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to announce measures to “prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago’s communities.”
The news conference will be at 1 p.m. on the fifth floor of City Hall.
6:55 a.m.: Federal stimulus checks may start arriving this week. Here’s who gets what and how.
The stimulus checks coming to taxpayers, probably starting later this week, are expected to help people for a little while.
And while most people will get payments, questions linger whether many others will receive them. How do divorced parents qualify? Newborns? College students? Read more here.
6 a.m.: Inmates with ongoing innocence claims sit in prisons threatened by coronavirus as courts shut down
Innocence claims from inmates in Cook Couinty are among the many legal matters potentially delayed by the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that has brought the Cook County court system to a virtual halt while also elevating the danger of sitting in prison or jail.
Last year, Illinois led the nation in exonerations with 30, and the state has cleared more than 300 convicts over the last three decades, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Now with the coronavirus gaining a foothold in the Cook County Jail and the state prison system, prisoners who may have been wrongfully accused or convicted could remain stuck behind bars and in harm’s way, just like the guilty. Read more here. —Dan Hinkel, Megan Crepeau
Tuesday, April 7
Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates from Tuesday:
Monday, April 6
Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates from Monday:
Sunday, April 5
Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates from Sunday:
Saturday, April 4
Here’s a recap of coronavirus updates from Saturday: