Illinois | WGLT

Illinois

Headlines from around the state, curated by the GLT newsroom. If you want more state news, listen to Illinois Public Radio's The 21st on Mondays-Thursdays at 11 a.m., and Statewide at 11 a.m. Fridays.

Knox County is launching its emergency operation center to better respond to COVID-19.

With Illinois residents practicing isolation inside their homes, the marijuana industry is making adjustments to meet consumer needs.

Area businesses are working to cope with the “new normal,” life in the era of coronavirus at a time when schools and restaurants are closed with so many public venues cutting back hours and services.

Peoria-area health officials say they're tightening the criteria for who gets tested for the coronavirus.

The Illinois Funeral Directors Association says services should be limited to 10 or fewer people for the time being.

The worst pandemic in recent history, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the 1918 so-called “Spanish flu” pandemic, caused by a virus “with genes of avian origin.” This was caused by a different virus than COVID-19 – coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hopkinsmedicine.org. Spanish flu hit America in the spring of 1918 and wasn’t finished with us until the summer of 1919. 

Illinois’ closure of bars and dine-in restaurants has Springfield businesses worried as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the state.

Brent Schwoerer of Engrained Brewery, on the west side of Springfield, said his major concern is the survival of his employees.

On Wednesday, Erica Smith, the executive director of Helping Hands of Springfield, had a tough decision to make.

Washington Street Mission, which offers coffee, laundry and shower facilities, announced it is closing temporarily. St. John’s Breadline decided to hand out bagged lunches, instead of serving meals. Springfield’s Lincoln Library had closed its doors.

The closures follow new rules put in place by Illinois’ governor limiting the size of public gatherings and closing bars and dine-in restaurants. 

The tourism sector of Springfield is looking toward summer travel plans, rather than the spring conventions that usually bring millions of dollars into the city, because of gathering restrictions put in place to fight COVID-19.

Illinois health officials announced a surge of new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. The state’s Department of Public Health has confirmed 128 new cases across 17 counties, bringing the total to 288.

Nearly every week you see announcements of blood drives at businesses, churches, schools and other locations.  But with the current guidelines to stay home and close many of these locations, blood drives are being canceled at an unprecedented rate.  

That creates a big problem for the blood supply.

Bradley University students will not be returning to class after spring break. 

UPDATE:

As of March 20, an attorney representing the Homestead owners said they sent Sutton a full settlement on the wedding she booked through email.

Sutton said she never received any documents through mail or email on the matter, even after the attorney reached out to her through the phone.​

The ban on large gatherings has left many residents at a disadvantage, especially those planning to get married.

Despite fear and uncertainty amid a global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters turned out for Tuesday’s primary election. Overall, however, turnout was down significantly compared to the last presidential primary in 2016.

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rises, Sangamon County declared the county a disaster area this week, loosening rules for hiring and purchasing.

County Administrator Brian McFadden said the move will allow them to more quickly hire personnel or buy other equipment without having to wait for a county board meeting to approve it.

It appears most Peoria County voters prefer to keep the incumbents currently holding the state's attorney and county clerk's offices.

With all precincts reporting, Peoria County State's Attorney Jodi Hoos beat challenger Chris McCall 60 to 40 percent. Incumbent County Clerk Rachael Parker defeated Gabe McLeod with 56 percent of the vote.

All four candidates are Democrats. No Republicans are running for either seat in the November general election.

Joe Biden has won Illinois' Democratic presidential primary.

Tri-county governments are issuing a disaster declaration closing all city and county buildings to the public.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Tuesday announced Illinois’ first COVID-19 death – a Chicago woman in her 60’s with underlying medical conditions.

As widespread disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the country, Illinois retailers are asking residents not to buy more supplies than they need.

Public health officials announced Illinois' first COVID-19 death.

Central Illinois residents in need of resources amid the coronavirus pandemic can use the Heart of Illinois United Way's information and referral service.

Polls are open, even though far fewer voters than usual are expected to turn out for today’s primary election because of coronavirus concerns.

Bradley University is taking additional measures as part of its COVID-19 response. 

Peoria Public Schools will open food distribution sites for all people ages 18 and younger Tuesday through March 30.

Memorial Health System opened a drive through respiratory screening clinic in Springfield Monday. It’s part of an effort to reduce any COVID-19-related stress on local emergency rooms.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is ordering the cancellation of any event with more than 50 people. It’s the latest mandate in the ongoing effort to slow the spread of coronavirus disease.

Flights out of the Peoria International Airport will continue as scheduled, despite travel concerns amid the spread of COVID-19.

Governor J.B. Pritzker says the federal and state governments are working to blunt the blow of a two-week bar and restaurant closure as much as possible. 

Peoria County now has its first positive case of COVID-19. 

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