Note: Any news conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed in the video player above.
Chicago’s travel order is set for yet another update as city officials warn of “huge concern” in Wisconsin.
Though the state isn’t expected to be added back onto Chicago’s quarantine list Tuesday, it could be added soon if numbers don’t decline.
Meanwhile, Chicago-area suburbs have started looking ahead to Halloween. But will the coronavirus pandemic cancel trick-or-treating?
Here are the latest updates from around Illinois on the coronavirus pandemic today (Sept. 15):
Illinois Confirms 1,466 New Cases of Coronavirus, 10 Additional Deaths Tuesday
Illinois health officials confirmed 1,466 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, with 20 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the new cases reported Tuesday bring the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 264,210 since the pandemic began earlier this year.
The 20 new fatalities brings the statewide death toll to 8,332, according to officials.
Tuesday, officials reported 39,031 new test samples turned in to state laboratories, bringing the total number of tests conducted statewide to 4,810,827.
The seven-day positivity rate held steady at 3.6%, its lowest in recent weeks.
Hospitalization numbers in the state increased slightly, with 1,584 COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals statewide. Of those patients, 373 are in intensive care units, and 144 are on ventilators, per new figures released Tuesday.
Watch Live: Update on Chicago Travel Order, Coronavirus Data Set for 1 p.m.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is set to deliver an update on the city’s emergency travel order and COVID-19 data Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. at City Hall.
Watch it live in the player above.
Pritzker to Announce Second Round of Grants for Businesses
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to join local leaders to announce the second round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) Tuesday aimed as assisting small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. Watch live in the player above.
Will Coronavirus Force Many to Cancel Trick-or-Treating? Here’s What Chicago-Area Officials Say
With Halloween fast approaching, many are wondering: will coronavirus force the cancellation of trick-or-treating altogether?
Chicago has already said it is evaluating plans, but several suburbs and area health departments are also watching closely – and answers could be coming soon.
The DuPage County Health Department said it is awaiting guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which is being prepared.
“IDPH is planning to offer the details around the end of this month,” DuPage County Health Department spokesman Don Bolger said in a statement.
IDPH did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.
The Lake County Health Department said it is monitoring “for a possible rise in cases following the Labor Day weekend.”
“A lot can change in a few weeks,” said spokesperson Hannah Goering.
In suburbs like West Chicago, all events on city-owned property have been canceled through the rest of the year, which includes Halloween festivities like downtown trick-or-treating.
“It is a painful decision to have to make,” Mayor Ruben Pineda said in a statement. “Nobody loves a festival more than me, but nothing is more important than the health and safety of our residents and visitors. This decision was made in everyone’s best interest.”
In Naperville, spokeswoman Linda LaCloche told the Daily Herald “those who don’t want trick-or-treaters should leave their coach lights off.”
Meanwhile in suburbs like Elgin, city officials say no decision has been made on whether trick-or-treating will continue this year.
“We will continue monitoring the pandemic and its public impact as Halloween approaches,” said Communications Manager Molly Gillespie.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week the city is working on plans but details will come at a later date.
“We are working on plans to recognize and celebrate Halloween, which I know is an important moment for many, including the kids in my neighborhood, but we’re going to do it in a way that’s consistent with the public health guidance,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said while she doesn’t know what the city’s plans will be come October’s end, she doesn’t expect to see large groups of trick-or-treaters this year.
“Obviously it is a very different time and I don’t expect to see mass crowds,” Lightfoot said. “It’s not safe for the children, it’s not safe for the adults.”
Chicago Watching Wisconsin With ‘Huge Concern’ as State Could be Added to Quarantine List
Chicago health officials are watching Wisconsin “with huge concern” as they warn the state could soon return to the city’s quarantine list should their numbers not decline.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city plans to announce Tuesday that if Wisconsin’s numbers don’t begin to drop, the state will likely be added back onto Chicago’s travel order next week.
“If people can avoid travel, we will encourage that,” Arwady said, noting that the state saw its highest-ever case counts in recent days.
According to public health data, Wisconsin’s average daily case rate has soared in the last week, breaking an all-time record for average cases statewide on Thursday. Meanwhile, the state’s positivity rate climbed from 8.3% at the end of August to 14.1% as of Sunday.
As of Monday morning, the daily case average per 100,000 residents reached 19.6.
States are added to the list if they have “a case rate greater than 15 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 resident population, per day, over a 7-day rolling average.” If they fall below that threshold, they could be removed as well.
Wisconsin was first added to that list effective July 31, though the city noted exemptions for some people who worked over the border. It was removed on Aug. 18 as the state’s numbers started to decline.
Chicago Officials Detail Coronavirus Contact Tracing Plans, Inform Residents How to Apply for Jobs
Chicago officials are expanding their contact tracing efforts amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the Department of Public Health aiming to create 600 full and part-time positions as part of the program.
Earlier this year, grants were distributed to recruit community-based organizations to assist in contact traffic efforts, and Monday city officials announced 31 groups that were chosen to help recruit candidates for those jobs, emphasizing hiring in communities suffering from economic hardship amid the pandemic.
The program is aimed not only to help recruit contact tracers, who will be paid $20 per hour, and supervisors, who will be paid $24 per hour, but also to help recruits develop professional skills that can be used to help gain entry into the healthcare field on a long-term basis.
“Contact tracing is a core part of our COVID-19 response, and it truly has been from day one,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “COVID-19 is still here, and we need to continue leaning into the important public health tools that have gotten us this far before we can even talk about the possibility of a recovery and life post-COVID, and contact tracing is one of those essential tools.”
City officials say that more than 100 job offers have been made through the contact tracing corps initiative, and that they are still seeking more than 500 employees for the new positions.
Those chosen for the program will go through a 12-hour certification process, and professional development trainings will be held to help boost skills necessary to secure jobs in the healthcare field moving forward.
Officials also reminded the public of the process that goes into contact tracing. According to officials, individuals who have been diagnosed with coronavirus will be contacted by tracers, and a list of individuals that may have been exposed to them will be constructed. Patients will be asked to recount any persons they were in contact with for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of six feet or less, in the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or before their positive coronavirus test was taken.
Once that list is built, contact tracers will get into contact with individuals who were potentially exposed to the virus, and will ask them whether they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. They will be asked to keep in contact with IDPH, and will be monitored for symptoms for up to 14 days after their last exposure.
Those who are asked to quarantine or to self-isolate will be connected to resources for food, housing, or any other needs that may arise during that time, according to officials.
To help avoid scams and to encourage participation in the program, all phone calls and texts will originate from the same number: 312-74-COVID (312-742-6843).
IHSA Waives Scheduling Limits for Games, Moves Up Summer Season by 2 Weeks
During its regularly-scheduled meeting Monday, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) waived in-season limits on games for winter, spring and summer sports, while also moving up the start of the summer sports season by two weeks.
According to an IHSA press release, the limit on games per week, instituted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, was lifted, meaning that schools will be able to schedule more than two games per week during upcoming sports seasons.
“We have preached that this school year will be fluid, and the changes made by the board today are a good example of that,” Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “Given how well our state is handling the pandemic, and the lack of setbacks in the fall sports we have conducted so far, there was a consensus that we could move forward with allowing schools to schedule winter, spring and summer sports without further restrictions.”
The summer season, which will include baseball, softball, track and field, girls’ soccer, lacrosse and boys’ tennis, will commence with practices on April 19 and games on May 3 under the new guidance.
The board also decided not to grant exemptions for athletes looking to participate in both scholastic and independent activities in the same sport at the same time, meaning that athletes playing sports like baseball and softball will not be allowed to play for their schools while also playing for traveling teams in the summer months.
“Concerns over safety and equity left them uncomfortable with providing an exemption to this rule,” Anderson said. “The board agreed that if a student-athlete chooses to leave their school team for a non-school team, it simply creates another opportunity for another student to step in and fill that role.”
Here’s When Your Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration Expire if You Live in Illinois
Wondering when your driver’s license expires? You’re certainly not alone.
With many deadlines being pushed back as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it has become a common question in recent months in Illinois and other states.
This summer, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced his office extended the expiration date for expired driver’s licenses until Nov. 1.
All ID cards, vehicle registration, restricted driving permits and monitoring devices that were set to expire by Sept. 30 have also been extended until Nov. 1.
“I am mindful of the heightened risks associated with seniors contracting COVID-19, and that is why I have authorized this important change during this challenging and unique time,” White said in a news release.
Seniors aged 75 and older are also being given a one-year extension on expiration dates amid the coronavirus pandemic. Letters were being sent to those who qualify, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Drivers with suspended or revoked licenses do not qualify for the one-year extension.
Illinois Confirms 1,373 New Cases of Coronavirus, 5 Additional Deaths Monday
Illinois health officials confirmed 1,373 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, with five additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the new cases reported Monday bring the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 262,744 since the pandemic began earlier this year.
The five new fatalities brings the statewide death toll to 8,314, according to officials.
Monday, officials reported 35,930 new test samples turned in to state laboratories, bringing the total number of tests conducted statewide to 4,771,796.
The seven-day positivity rate dropped to 3.6%, its lowest in recent weeks.
Hospitalization numbers in the state remained largely steady, with 1,431 COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals statewide. Of those patients, 335 are in intensive care units, and 131 are on ventilators, per new figures released Monday.