Coronavirus Blog 3/22/20: Dietz Offers Video Message To ISU Community | WGLT

Coronavirus Blog 3/22/20: Dietz Offers Video Message To ISU Community

Mar 22, 2020

The coronavirus story is developing quickly in Illinois. Here are updates from WGLT's newsroom and our partners at Illinois Public Radio, NPR, and The Associated Press.

You can also see (or add to) our list of cancellations, closures, and rescheduled events. Find all of our coverage at WGLT.org/Coronavirus.

HY-VEE ADJUSTS DROPS RETURNS AND RAIN CHECKS

5:02 p.m. Monday, March 23

Hy-Vee said it is dropping rain checks, refunds, and returns because of the pandemic as of Tuesday, March 24.

“The health and well-being of our customers and employees remain our highest priority,” Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee chairman, CEO and president, said. “Because we can’t trace where our products go after they leave our store, we can no longer accept certain products for return. With this change, our customers can feel safe knowing that all products they purchase at their local Hy-Vee have been in our stores the entire time.”

Hy-Vee said it is dropping rain checks for now because certain high-volume items are hard to keep in stock.

—  Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

TOWN OF NORMAL ASKS RESIDENTS TO HOLD OFF ON GARBAGE

3:08 p.m. Monday, March 23

The Town of Normal is asking residents to hold on to their garbage and recycling until they have full containers and to limit the bulky waste they put on the curb. That’s because the town is limiting crew sizes during the pandemic. The moves will speed up collection.

The Town will delay the usual springtime start of landscape waste collection until at least April 7th.

—  Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

HOME SWEET HOME MISSION MART CLOSED PERMANENTLY

4:45 p.m. Sunday, March 22

Home Sweet Home Ministries has ended its Mission Mart operation to reduce financial losses. The service provider to the homeless and low-income people said a poor retail environment and the coronavirus shutdown prompted the move. Workers can seek other jobs at Home Sweet Home Ministries. CEO Mary Ann Pullin said some are already working at the homeless shelter because the not for profit agency has barred volunteers during the pandemic.

Pullin said Home Sweet Home will evaluate whether to continue its clothing and household goods salvage operation in the future, but, in any case, won’t take donations during the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency has also suspended the Bread for Life Food Co-op during the pandemic.

Pullin said Home Sweet Home Ministries is providing sack lunches and emergency food boxes to those in need.

—  Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

MCLEAN COUNTY'S FIRST COVID-19 DEATH
3 p.m. Sunday, March 22

A woman in intensive care in Bloomington-Normal has died of COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The McLean County Health Department said she was in her 70s and tested positive last week.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss. Within McLean County government, our hearts go out to the family and friends who are mourning the loss of their loved one. We cannot even begin to understand how they feel, and we send our sincerest condolences,” McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said in a statement.

Read the story.

—  Charlie Schlenker | WGLT

LIVINGSTON COUNTY REPORTS FIRST PERSON WITH COVID-19
10:40 a.m. Sunday, March 22

A woman in her 60s with a history of travel is Livingston County's first confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) said on Facebook the woman is currently recovering at home and is in isolation.

"LCHD officials continue to work closely with OSF HealthCare and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), investigating and notifying any individuals who may have had exposure to the individual who tested positive for COVID-19," the health department said.

As of Saturday, there were 753 confirmed cases in Illinois, with six deaths.

— Ryan Denham | WGLT

DIETZ OFFERS VIDEO MESSAGE AS ONLINE LEARNING BEGINS
9:45 a.m. Sunday, March 22

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz is thanking students, faculty, and staff for their patience as the campus begins its shift to online learning on Monday.

In a new video, Dietz said he knows Redbirds will "rise to his challenge." He acknowledged that the coronavirus has disrupted classroom learning, friendships, and even commencement.

With the enlongated spring break about to conclude, online learning begins Monday.

"I expect there will be confusion, perhaps some frustration, and many, many questions. While it may not be our preferred method of learning and teaching, it's a critical step for the health and well-being of our campus community," Dietz said.

Learn more at Coronavirus.IllinoisState.edu.

— Ryan Denham | WGLT