Chicago entered phase four of reopening plan on June 26
Coronavirus

Coronavirus Coverage

Our most up-to-date info and news on COVID-19.

Your Daily Dose

The TRiiBE Team will be posting daily updates about COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus.

July 9, 2020

  • Nearly two weeks after Chicago’s transition to phase four where nearly 200,000 Chicagoans were due to return to work, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force — co-chaired by Lightfoot and established in April to help guide city government’s planning efforts during COVID-19 — released an advisory report. The report outlines the city’s health, economic and social responses to address decades of inequities highlighted during the pandemic.

  • Lightfoot reported that the city is now averaging under 200 new cases of coronavirus per day — this takes Chicago “out of the high-risk category and into the moderate-risk category,” she said during an afternoon press conference. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CPDH), the city has a total of 54,050 cases and 2,653 fatalities as of July 8. Lightfoot also said the city is seeing smaller declines in business revenue and unemployment numbers are lower than other cities like New York and Los Angeles at this time.

  • We knew from the start that we had to think and act for both the short-term and long-term and do so holistically,” said Lightfoot during the press conference at the South Shore Cultural Center. The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force consists of 16 committee co-chairs, over 150 Recovery Task Force members and contributors, 200 industry experts, policymakers and regional government leaders, according to Lightfoot.

  • Lightfoot reported that as of April 20, the city lost nearly $900 million due to cancelled events like Lollapalooza and the 51st Annual Pride Parade. Hospitality, food and retail industries were hit hard, she said, due to the state’s stay-at-home order — first put in place on March 20 and extended through May 30 — where several businesses shut down and many residents were sheltered in place.

  • To help the economy recover from its financial devastation of the pandemic, the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force created 17 recommendations and four current initiatives for successful recovery outcomes for the city. Those outcomes include: addressing past and present traumas, expanding economic opportunities, financial security and better jobs, recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities made by the pandemic and sharing Chicago’s story locally and nationally to draw positive attention to the city. The Task Force is also focused on implementing more projects from the Invest South/West Initiative to improve 10 neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides.

  • According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), as of today, the state saw 1,018 new COVID-19 cases and 20 more deaths, bringing statewide totals to 150,450 and 7,119, respectively. The state has performed 1,878,756 tests to date.

June 22, 2020

  • Chicago will be moving to phase four this Friday, June 26 after nearly three weeks of the city being in phase three of the Protecting Chicago’s Framework plan, announced Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

  • During phase four — where the city expects more than 200,000 Chicagoans to return to work — businesses must still maintain a limit of 25% capacity and indoor gatherings have increased from 10 to 25.

  • Residents can visit www.chicago.gov/reopening for more information on the city’s transition into phase four. In phase four, residents can now visit museums, zoos, summer camps, youth activities and dine indoors at restaurants and bars. The city will not reopen spectator sports and conventions that require large gatherings during this phase.

  • Chicago’s decline in metrics is what expedited the city’s transition to phase four, which was originally scheduled for July 1, according to Chicago Department Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. She said that the city “hit our metrics sooner than we thought we would” due to the city’s downward trajectory in hospital cases, new deaths and emergency room visits since early May.

  • Arwady said that the percentage of testing in the city was set at 7% and is just below 4.9% as of this morning, and that fewer than half the beds in Chicago hospitals are taken up by patients with COVID-19. Testing is continuing to grow to meet the city’s goal of 4,500 tests per day, she added.

  • Chicago is still seeing disproportionate cases and deaths in the Latinx and Black communities, said Arwady. However, she said the progress in numbers are “excellent” and numbers are declining.

  • According to CDPH, out of the city’s current 50,287 cases, the Latinx community now makes up 18,787 (47.7%) of those cases and the Black community makes up 11,691 (29.7%). The city has a total of 2,485 fatalities, with 776 fatalities (31.4%) from the Latinx community and 1,090 deaths (44.1%) from the Black community.

  • According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the state currently has 137,224 cases and a total of 6,671 fatalities. The state has performed 1,379,003 tests to date.

June 15, 2020

  • After nearly two weeks of the city’s transition to phase three of the Protecting Chicago’s Framework plan — where businesses have begun to reopen after 10 weeks of closure due to the state’s stay-at-home-order — the city announced that bars and breweries can open outside service on Wednesday, June 17, and the Lakefront Trail on Monday, June 22. This decision followed the positive trend in data monitored by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

  • On Wednesday, June 17, bars, taverns, lounges, breweries and other drinking establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption can reopen as long as patrons are seated at tables six feet apart with six or fewer people for a maximum of two hours. All establishments must close by 11:00 p.m. and the sale of alcohol for carryout and delivery must end at 9:00 p.m. each night.

  • On Monday, June 22, the Lakefront Trail will reopen east of Lake Shore Drive daily from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Residents are required to comply with the “keep it moving” strategy that allows for walking, rollerblading, running and biking. Congregating, use of park amenities or gathering will not be allowed, said a spokesperson for the Chicago Park District. Only about half of the more than 50 access points to the Lakefront will reopen as a way for the city to effectively monitor and control use of the area.

  • According to CDPH, out of the city’s current 49,465 cases, the Latinx community now makes up 18,404 (48%) of those cases and the Black community makes up 11,368 (30%). The city has a total of 2,384 fatalities, with 730 fatalities (31%) from the Latinx community and 1,058 deaths (45%) from the Black community.

  • According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the state currently has 133,016 cases and a total of 6,326 fatalities. The state has performed 1,209,612 tests to date.

June 9, 2020

  • After nearly a week of the city’s transition to phase three of the Protecting Chicago’s Framework plan — where businesses have begun to reopen after 10 weeks of closure due to the state’s stay-at-home-order — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she will present a proposal to the City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations for $1.13 billion in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) grant funding.

  • The funding will help city residents who are struggling because of the pandemic, including renters, small business owners, homeowners, homeless residents and those who are in need of mental health services, said Lightfoot.

  • “We will be seeking city council approval to appropriate eight CARES ACT grants which will provide needed assistance across multiple investment areas,” said Lightfoot. Chicago has incurred expenses for quarantine, testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), case investigation, reopening costs and support for small businesses, especially in Black and Latinx communities that have experienced disproportionate amounts of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

  • According to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), out of the city’s current 48,585 cases, the Latinx community makes up 17,867 of those cases and the Black community makes up 11,136 of those cases. The city has a total of 2,306 fatalities with 698 fatalities from the Latinx community and 1,024 deaths from the Black community.

  • Chicago is also preparing for another surge of coronavirus cases due to massive numbers of people who have been out gathering and protesting in recent weeks, said Lightfoot.

  • The city is proposing that the funding will be allocated as follows: $43 million for housing assistance and preventing homelessness, $35 million for small businesses on the brink of closing, $4.5 million for food assistance, $10 million for mental health services for residents impacted by the pandemic, $10 million for violence prevention, and $10 million for workforce development.

  • The financial impact of the pandemic on city revenues, according to Lightfoot, has been “significant,” due to a change in consumer behavior ( i.e. less driving and less shopping), the closings of businesses and the change in income for workers. She said city officials are projecting that the 2020 budget shortfall will be nearly $700 million. That shortfall could widen if Chicago sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, she added.

  • In thinking of ways to close that budget gap, Lightfoot mentioned an additional $100 million in refinancing savings that was secured at the beginning of 2020. She also mentioned prioritizing city layoffs and hiring freezes in 2020 as a way to save money within departments, identifying additional refinance savings when market conditions improve and raising property taxes.

  • She also said the city will consider pushing out its projects as a way to close the budget gap.

  • “While this budget shortfall is grim, what would have been worse is if we would have seen more people die and more people infected by the virus if we hadn’t sheltered in place,” said Lightfoot.

  • Lightfoot said that while she doesn’t want to raise property taxes or lay off city government workers, she still has to consider these options. “Those are the last choices and tools that I don’t want to use, but I can’t take any of them off of the table,” said Lightfoot.

  • When asked by reporters if she’d consider defunding the police, “When I hear it [in Chicago], what I believe we are really talking about is what I ran on and why it’s so important that we follow through on the commitment and investment in Black and Brown neighborhoods,” said Lightfoot. “We are on the right path.”

  • Additionally, in a press release, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the cancellation of events and festivals through Labor Day, including the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza.

June 2, 2020

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago is ready to move to phase three tomorrow as planned — despite the ongoing uprisings, lootings and vandalism taking place across the city and the country in response to the recent police killings of unarmed Black people.

  • After ongoing protests, which started in Chicago on Friday evening, hundreds of businesses have been damaged and hundreds of people arrested. At a Tuesday press conference, Lightfoot said she visited a number of neighborhoods on the South and West sides impacted by the uprisings. She saw people protecting businesses from looters and neighbors banning together to clean up debris and board up windows.

  • Lightfoot said she asked business owners if they should reopen on June 3 or delay. With universal acclaim, she said, business owners told her that they need to reopen for their employees and for their customers, who need to see them being resilient.

  • “I want to tell the city… we will reopen tomorrow,” Lightfoot said.

  • Meanwhile, the Chicago fire chief said his department has responded to more than 86 structure fires and more than 3,000 medical calls. Additionally, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city is still seeing new cases of COVID-19, but the number of new cases each day is on a steady decline, along with hospitalizations, deaths and the positivity rate. As of today, there are 45,912 COVID-19 cases and 2,135 COVID-19 deaths.

  • “As we’re moving into Phase 3, we have reached all of the public health metrics.” Arwady said. She told city residents to continue to wear face coverings, keep a six-foot distance, and to monitor their health and symptoms if they’re recently been participating in the protests.

  • “Thank you for getting us this far, and please keep doing the right thing,” Arwady said.

May 29, 2020

  • “As a black woman it is impossible for me not to take this personally,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a personal statement regarding the police killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, and the subsequent unrest reverberating throughout the country. She urged protesters to practice social distancing and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during demonstrations throughout the city.

  • Further details of Phase 3 of the “Protecting Chicago Framework” were outlined just five days ahead of its implementation in the city at today’s coronavirus press briefing. Lightfoot was joined by Commissioners Gia Biagi and Rosa Escareno from the Chicago Departments of Transportation (CDOT) and Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), respectively, and Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association. The information provided in the conference pertains mainly to the cautious re-opening of dine-in establishments including a limitation of six diners sitting six-feet apart, allowing dine-in options for outdoor seating only, and an initiative designed to allow restaurants in certain areas to expand their dining outdoors.

  • Biagi explained that the “Our Streets” Initiative is an element of Phase 3 that involves repurposing residential and commercial streets for alternative uses. Designated segments of six streets that represent major commercial corridors throughout the city will be reserved for cyclists and pedestrians and allow restaurants to open outdoor dining.

  • The six streets pilot streets included are: 75th Street from Calumet Avenue to Indiana Avenue in Chatham, Broadway from Belmont Avenue to Diversey Parkway in Lakeview, 26th Street from Central Park to Harding Avenue in Little Village, Rush Street from Oak Street to Cedar Street, Taylor Street from Loomis Street to Ashland Avenue on the Near West Side, Randolph Street from Expressway no further than Elizabeth Street in West Loop.

  • BACP’s Escarena committed to a less-complicated permitting process in order to allow businesses not previously permitted for outdoor dining to be able to take advantage of the opportunity presented in Phase 3. Beginning June 1, chambers of commerce, business associations and restaurants can submit an application for Expanded Outdoor Dining. Restaurants that wish to take their operations outdoors completely should apply for a sidewalk cafe permit.

  • Malls and shopping centers across the Chicagoland area have begun to reopen in accordance with Phase 3. Extra precautions are being taken, including making PPE mandatory and certain establishments only being open for in-store pickup.

  • On the first day of Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that he’s signing a new executive order — the Community Recovery Order — that will reflect the changes during Phase 3. This order will bring an end to the Illinois stay-at-home order, which began March 20, extended until April 30 and then extended again until today.

  • Phase 1 was the strict stay-at-home order in effect from March 20 and April 30. Phase 2 was the modified stay at-home-order in effect across Illinois right now — including physical distancing, only going out for essentials, taking walks near home and wearing face coverings. Phase 3, which starts today, includes a cautious reopening of offices, barber shops and salons, offices and manufacturing companies, all with limits on capacity — along with gatherings of up to 10 people. Phase 4 will allow for gatherings of up to 50 people, along with the reopening of restaurants and bars, childcare facilities and schools. And Phase 5 means Illinois is completely restored, with new safety guidelines and procedures put in place for conventions, festivals and large events.

  • “The success of the last phase is evidenced by the declining positivity rate, the declining hospitalizations, the declining ICU bed-use and the declining number of deaths,” said Pritzker.

  • Starting today, Illinois residents can dine outdoors at restaurants and bars. Retail offices, child care services, service counters, some health and fitness centers and personal care services — like hair salons and barbershops — can open their doors for business. Illinois residents can also go camping, boating, and participate in other outdoor supports in groups of 10 or less. As of today, all state parks, golf courses and horse racetracks are open. With all the reopenings of businesses today, Pritzker encouraged the continuous use of face coverings and social distancing, but said the “safest choice of all, especially for our most vulnerable population, is to stay home.”

  • Pritzker said that his new executive order will extend the ban on residential evictions, the moratorium on utility shut-offs and the suspension on repossession of vehicles. He said the state will also continue to offer the ability to conduct marriages and notarizations remotely and the suspension of many in-person licensing and training requirements to ensure workers can keep their professional credentials active.

  • Pritzker said that although we are moving forward to phase three, this is no indication that the virus is over. “The virus is still out there and it is still very dangerous,” he said.

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported that the state has performed more than 850,000 tests, with 21,796 tests performed in the last 24 hours. She also reported that the state now has a total of 5,270 fatalities, with 86 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours. There are now a total of 117,455 cases in the state with 1,622 reported in the last 24 hours.

May 28, 2020

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot set June 3 as the date Chicago businesses will begin to cautiously reopen under the city’s phase three of its “Protecting Chicago” reopening framework. According to city officials, more than 130,000 Chicagoans will be able to return to work in various industries, including hair care, real estate, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, restaurants and more.

  • Phase one was the strict stay-at-home order in effect from March 20 and April 30. Phase two is the modified stay at-home-order in effect across Illinois right now — including physical distancing, only going out for essentials, taking walks near home and wearing face coverings. Phase three, which starts tomorrow, includes a cautious reopening of offices, barber shops and salons, offices and manufacturing companies, all with limits on capacity — along with gatherings of up to 10 people. Phase four will allow for gatherings of up to 50 people, along with the reopening of restaurants and bars, childcare facilities and schools. And phase five means Illinois is completely restored, with new safety guidelines and procedures put in place for conventions, festivals and large events.

  • Lightfoot said phase three is a partial reopening of businesses, with an emphasis on restaurants and bars with outdoor spaces and limiting capacity. Personal services, including hair salons and barbershops, will reopen with strict guidelines to protect employees and clients from COVID-19 spread. City services will have a delayed reopening, Lightfoot said, setting June 8 as the date for libraries and park facilities west of Lake Shore Drive to reopen.

  • “Under no circumstances should our move to phase three be confused with this crisis being over, because it is not,” Lightfoot said at today’s press conference. “As we reopen, please understand that we are doing so with the full knowledge that we cannot totally eliminate the risk of this virus.”

  • Lightfoot said only after evaluating the city’s first few weeks after entering phase three will she consider reopening summer programs, youth activities and the city’s lakefront and beaches. Residents can learn more about the industry guidelines by visiting chicago.gov/reopening.

  • The city will be launching a public service campaign via social media, billboards and radio — Be Safe Chicago — to get the word out about what phase three entails and ensure that residents understand guidelines during the phases and future phases. Lightfoot also announced a new partnership with local comedy group The Second City to produce a weekly web series to inform residents about the city’s five phase framework for Chicago’s reopening, called Protecting Chicago. The show — “Second City’s Phased and Confused ”— will premiere on Thursday, June 4 on Facebook on both Mayor Lightfoot’s and The Second CIty’s Facebook pages, featuring music, comedy sketches, animation and more.

  • The city encourages residents to take a survey to offer input on Chicago’s recovery planning. Residents can access the survey at chicago.gov/coronavirus/recoverysurvey

  • During Lightfoot’s press conference, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady reported just in the last 24 hours that the country has passed 100,000 deaths, the state has passed 5,000 deaths and the city has passed 2,000 deaths.

  • The state has reported 829,966 tests with 25,933 given in the last 24 hours, said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike during Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing. She also reported 1,527 cases in the last 24 hours with a total of 115,833 cases in the state. Illinois reported 5,185 deaths, with 104 in the last 24 hours — just one day after the state announced surpassing 5,000 deaths and one day before the state moves forward to phase three in the “Restore Illinois” plan.

May 27, 2020

  • Two days before Illinois moves on to phase three of the five phase reopening plan, the state has now passed 5,000 deaths with a new total of 5,083 deaths, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced during his daily coronavirus briefing. He also reported that 160 of those deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

  • Illinois has now administered more than 800,000 tests — 17,179 in the last 24 hours — with a single-day positivity rate of 6.47%, said Pritzker. The state also reported 1,111 new cases, with a total of 114,306 cases across the state.

  • “The vast majority of those individuals who tested positive have already recovered or are experiencing a mild enough case where they are recovering at home,” said Pritzker.

  • Pritzker also announced a new partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the St. Clair County Health Department in East St. Louis that will help expand contact tracing.

  • The Jackie Joyner Kersee Center in East St. Louis will be one 46 testing sites across the region as part of Restore Illinois, the states’ five-phase reopening plan. It is one of the first of two major contact tracing locations across the region. Each day, the drive thru site can receive up to 500 samples from “anyone who needs a test,” said Pritzker.

  • “We want testing to be as easy as possible for Illinoisians,” he said.

  • The new partnership will allow free testing to first responders, essential workers, symptomatic residents, anyone who has had known contact with an infected person and any residents with compromised immune systems, said Pritzker. Residents can learn more about this testing site and others in the state by visiting coronavirus.il.gov.

May 26, 2020

  • At today’s press conference, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a $56 million Request for Proposals (RFP) to aid in the expansion of contact tracing across Chicago to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have come in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, and collecting information that would detail how the virus is spreading from person to person.

  • The city is looking for organizations to submit proposal applications for the RFP. The winning agency will lead the contact tracing process. The lead organization also must sub-grant 85% of contact tracing funding to at least 30 neighborhood-based organizations that primarily serve communities of color that are experiencing economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, the neighborhood organizations will be responsible for recruiting, hiring and supporting a workforce of 600 contact tracers, supervisors and coordinators that will perform 4,500 contact traces each day.

  • Lightfoot said contact tracing is one step she and her team is taking to support Black and Latinx communities hit hardest by the pandemic. As of today, out of the city’s 1,940 deaths due to COVID-19, Latinx people represent 563 of those deaths and Black people make up 867 of those deaths.

  • Throughout the contact tracing process, according to Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, people exposed to COVID-19 will remain confidential. Contact tracers will interview people who have tested positive for the virus and create a list of individuals whom they have been in contact with during their 14-day infectious period. Contact tracers then reach out to those individuals to share guidance about protecting themselves and the public through self quarantining. Public health officials then stay in touch with these individuals through text services and web/mobile platforms.

  • “That is protected health information,” Arwady said.For more information about the RFP, and to apply to be a contact tracer, visit http://chicago.gov/coronavirus

  • At a later press conference, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said all Illinois regions are continuing to meet the metrics to move to phase 3 of the state’s “Restore Illinois” reopening plan (more information on the state’s reopening plan below). The state is seeing an average positivity rate of 9.2% for the last seven days. The goal is a statewide positivity rate below 20%. For additional information on the criteria for each region, visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19.

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 1,178 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the state’s total to 113,195 cases. Ezike also reported an additional 39 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide death toll to 4,923.

  • Ezike also announced that the state has received its third shipment of Remdesivir, the experimental drug to speed up recovery from COVID-19. Ezike said 353 cases of Remdesivir have been distributed to hospitals across the state, allowing for each hospital to treat approximately five patients.

May 22, 2020

  • Chicago won’t be ready to move to phase 3 of the city’s five-phase reopening framework, called “Protecting Chicago,” until early June, despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to move all four state regions to phase 3 on May 29, Mayor Lori Lightfoot emphasized at her daily press conference.

  • “I cannot give you a date certain on which our transition to phase 3 will happen,” Lightfoot said. “We’re hoping and believe it will be in early June.”

  • Lightfoot said moving from phase to phase will only happen if the city has a clear set of criteria and guidelines to help businesses, customers and residents stay protected during the pandemic — including contact tracing, adequate support systems for vulnerable populations, increased testing and hospital capacity to handle a possible surge. Although she’s aware that Pritzker plans to lift the current stay at home order on May 29, Lightfoot said COVID-19 won’t magically disappear on that date.

  • Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner (CDPH) Dr. Allison Arwady said Cook County currently has the most cases of COVID-19 out of any other county in the U.S. However, for the first time, Chicago has been seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases dating back to May 5. The city is also seeing a significant decline in hospitalizations, and the number of people coming to the emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Still, there are many cases — in the last 24 hours, Chicago had 973 new cases, Arwady said. The city set a goal for 15% positivity rate, and right now, the city is seeing a 19% positivity rate in COVID-19 cases. Also, the city is now testing 4,300 people per day, just shy of the city’s 4,500 test goal.

  • “We’re on track, but we need people to continue to stay home and save lives this weekend, and next week while the stay-at-home order is in place,” Arwady said.

  • Once the city moves to phase 3, people will still be required to wear face coverings and physically distance from each other. Small gatherings of 10 people or fewer will be allowed. Anyone who is sick must absolutely stay home, Lightfoot said, and anyone who’s come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms must immediately reach out to their healthcare provider.

  • Also, in phase 3, the following industries will be able to reopen with capacity limits: childcare and in-home daycares, parks west of Lake Shore Drive, libraries, office-based jobs and professional services, hotels and lodging, limited outdoor attractions, non Lakefront golf courses, barbershops, hair and nail salons, and restaurants and coffee shops with outdoor seating.

May 21, 2020

  • One day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois restaurants and bars can reopen outdoor seating on May 29, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago restaurants won’t be ready to open on that date.

  • “I need to be certain that restaurants have a means to protect employees and the public,” said Lightfoot. “May 29 is not a magic date. It is an expiration date of the state’s stay-at-home order. I am very worried about a spike and surge in cases when we do open back.”

  • Chicago now has a total of 38,783 cases of the coronavirus with 1,788 total fatalities, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Lightfoot said that the city has its “own responsibility to craft health policies.”

  • In response to a reporter’s question about Lightfoot’s statements during Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing, he said “A decision like a municipality like Chicago to not have outdoor dining is completely up to them. They can do something that is more stringent and decide to not allow certain activities because they are a hotspot.”

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 29,307 tests have been performed in the last 24 hours — the highest total number of tests performed in 24 hours to date. She also reported that the state now has a total of 4,607 fatalities —with 87 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours. There are now a total of 102,686 cases in the state with 2,268 reported in the last 24 hours.

  • During her press conference, Lightfoot also announced a new package of mental health support offered by the CPDH, providing $1.2 million to expand access for residents living with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. CDPH has partnered with community organizations including Friend Health, Thresholds, Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and Healthcare Alternative Systems.

  • The new services offered by CDPH are an extension to Lightfoot’s Framework for Mental Health Equity that she unveiled last year. This framework creates an outline for better mental health support for residents. These new services will have a focus on Chicago’s West and South sides, where, according to Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, “Even before COVID, behavioral health hospitalizations are concentrated in Black Chicago and in populations in Chicago with high economic hardship.”

  • The new mental health support services provided by CDPH and its partners are divided into three categories. The first category is community-based treatment, which will support mental illness with an evidence-based approach in partnership with community organizations to expand access to people who are living with mental illnesses.

  • The second category is telemedicine. CDPH is partnering with Doxy.ME telemedicine software, to offer a tool to enhance mental health services through psychotherapy and case management services regardless of a resident’s insurance, income, or citizenship status. To access these services, residents can call 312-747-1020.

  • The third category is self-care resources. In partnership with Ten Percent Happier, an online meditation platform, the city will launch a new website, Windy City Wellness, that will offer wellness talks, activities, sleep support and relaxation and meditation techniques. To learn more, residents can visit www.tenpercent.com/Chicago.

  • Dr. Arwady also reported that out of the 38,783 cases in Chicago and 1,788 fatalities, an estimated 26,983 — approximately 70 percent — are “through the disease” and are “no longer infectious.” Approximately 10,012 people are still in the recovery phase, still potentially infectious and are “getting over” COVID-19.

May 20, 2020

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot hosted a virtual City Council meeting today, with 47 members present. During the meeting, she announced a $1 million investment to support paid job training programming for residents returning to the workforce. She introduced an ordinance that requires landlords to give tenants who have lived in their units for more than six months 90 days’ notice before either terminating or deciding not to renew their lease. She also announced an ordinance designed to expand housing access for thousands of residents in Chicago. During today’s meeting, the City Council approved measures including the Aviation Relief Package, created to provide financial support to airport workers during the pandemic. The council passed an ordinance to protect city workers during the pandemic. This ordinance will ensure that workers can remain home if they have COVID-19 symptoms or they are allowed a period of isolation without jobs being able to fire employees.

  • The council also approved an ordinance to provide financial relief to businesses during COVID-19 that will extend the expiration date for licences that would have otherwise expired during the pandemic. The city council also approved new measures to create more than 200 units of affordable housing on the North and South sides of the city, along with a relief package to stabilize affordable housing during the pandemic.

May 19, 2020

  • Illinois is now the leading state in testing per capita in the last seven days, said Gov. J. B. Pritzker in his daily coronavirus briefing. So far, the state has performed 621,684 tests, he added.

  • “Illinois has now overtaken New York as the number one state in the nation for per capita testing overing the last seven days,” said Pritzker.

  • During Pritzker’s briefing, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 1,545 new COVID-19 cases and 146 new fatalities statewide. Totals across the state are 98,030 cases and 4,379 deaths.

  • According to Pritzker, all four of the state’s regions are “on track to meet metrics” to move to phase three of the state’s reopening plan, Restore Chicago. Just last week, he announced that the northeast region — including Chicago — had met its metrics to move forward in the reopening plan.

  • Restore Chicago is a five-phase reopening plan. Phase one was the strict stay-at-home order in effect from March 20 and April 30. Phase two is the modified stay at-home-order in effect across Illinois right now — including physical distancing, only going out for essentials, taking walks near home and wearing face coverings.

  • Phase three, which starts in 10 days, includes a cautious reopening of offices, barber shops and salons, offices and manufacturing companies, all with limits on capacity — along with gatherings of up to 10 people. Pritzker said that the state must meet all the metrics for 28 days before moving to the next phase.

  • “It is critical we observe the full 28-measurement day period before moving on to phase three,” said Pritzker. “We will be providing safety and mitigation guidelines for workplace and activities that are reopening.”

  • Phase four will allow for gatherings of up to 50 people, along with the reopening of restaurants and bars, childcare facilities and schools. And phase five means Illinois is completely restored, with new safety guidelines and procedures put in place for conventions, festivals and large events.

May 18, 2020

  • This morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot highlighted that two of the city’s six new community testing sites have administered more than 800 tests since opening last week. She spoke about this benchmark during her press conference at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, an elementary school in Belmont Cragin, which was in its second day of operation as a testing site. The other location, Maria Saucedo Scholastic Math and Science Academy, an elementary school in Little Village, was on its fourth day of operation as a testing site. The city is working to open its next site soon at Guaranteed Rate Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox baseball club, which will serve symptomatic residents with a focus on frontline workers such as first responders and healthcare staffers.

  • “These tests are free. They are free of charge,” Lightfoot said at the press conference. She was joined by actor and humanitarian Sean Penn, cofounder of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), Yusef Jackson of The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward), Jose Andres of World Central Kitchen, and the Chicago Department Public Health (CPDH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

  • “You can get tested regardless of your citizenships status,” Lightfoot added. She also mentioned that residents don’t need health insurance or a doctor’s note to be tested. Residents are encouraged to make an appointment for testing, but walk-ins are welcome. Click the “Testing Sites” tab below to find additional testing locations in the Chicagoland area.

  • The city first announced its partnership with CORE on May 11. The goal of the partnership is to bring medical supplies to underserved neighborhoods that are most impacted by COVID-19. According to IDPH, the city’s Latinx and Black communities currently make up 44% and 32% of coronavirus cases. Lightfoot also discussed an additional partnership with World Central Kitchen, who will provide fresh meals to medical workers and teams that will be staffing the city’s six community testing sites.

  • At Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily afternoon briefing, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 2,294 new COVID-19 cases and 59 new fatalities statewide. Totals across the state are 96,485 cases and 4,234 deaths.

  • Pritzker also detailed the state’s latest efforts in contact tracing methods to help control the spread of the virus. The Illinois Contact Tracing Collaborative will require contact tracers to interview individuals who test positive for the coronavirus to determine who they’ve been exposed to in the last 48 hours. Those individuals will then be contacted to educate them on safety practices after being exposed to someone who has tested positive. Throughout this process, the person who tested positive will remain anonymous.

  • “This straightforward process truly does reduce the number of new infections,” said Pritzker. He said this is a “locally driven effort” with other departments statewide. The initiative will include disease reporting software that allows for reporting and aggregating information, a common management platform that operates in a unified manner to investigate and trace contacts, and a mobile app used by patients and medical staff. Pritzker said that if residents are interested in being a contact tracer, they should submit information through the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19.

  • Before the closing of Pritzker’s briefing, he announced a new order that will make it easier for law enforcement to cite and shut down businesses disobeying the state’s stay at home order. Pritzker said that this tool will “give [state officials] a lighter enforcement mechanism than the ones that already exist.”

May 15, 2020

  • Only a day after announcing that the northeast region of the state — including Chicago — is now eligible to join all other state regions in moving forward to phase three of the state’s five-phase reopening plan. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new testing sites in Champaign, Rolling Meadows, Peoria and on Chicago’s South Side including Little Village, Englewood, Chatham and Bridgeport. Pritzker said testing is important as the state prepares to move toward phase three — a cautious reopening of offices, barber shops and salons, offices and manufacturing companies with limits on capacity, along with gatherings of up to 10 people — on May 29.

  • During his daily COVID-19 press briefing, Pritzker said that expanding testing is “fundamental to [the state’s] ability to reopen the economy while controlling the spread of the virus.” So far, Illinois has doubled the amount of testing required by the White House — which calls for 2% of the state’s population at a 4.7% rate. The state has now performed 538,602 tests, with 26,565 in the last 24 hours, according to Ezike and Pritzker.

  • Pritzker said that expanding testing allows for the expansion of testing eligibility for essential and frontline workers, child care staff, nursing home residents, paramedics, lawyers, staff at correctional facilities, individuals with compromised immune systems and those who have been exposed to the coronavirus.

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported a total of 130 deaths in the last 24 hours. She also reported 4,058 total deaths, 2,432 new cases of coronavirus and 90,369 total cases across the state.

  • Ezike also discussed the need to expand coronavirus testing for pregnant women whose pregnancy symptoms could “mimic or cover up” COVID-19 symptoms.” She stated that knowing if a woman giving birth has COVID-19 will help “inform the medical plan, [make] medical decisions and determine what personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to protect the mother, the doctors and the newborn baby.” Finally, she explained that knowing whether or not a pregnant woman has COVID-19 will also help doctors care for the baby after birth.

May 14, 2020

  • During Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing, a reporter asked him if he could confirm that all regions are meeting the state’s metrics and are on track to move on to phase three of the state’s five-phase plan on May 29.

  • In prior briefings, Pritizker had announced that all regions except the northeast region — including Chicago — was not ready to move on to phase three. However, for the first time he announced that the northeast region has joined all others to move forward to phase three. Phase one was the strict stay at home order that was in effect between March 20 until April 30. Phase two is the modified stay at home order in effect across Illinois right now — including physical distancing, only going out for essentials, taking walks near home, and wearing face coverings. Phase three is a cautious reopening of offices, barber shops and salons, offices and manufacturing companies with limits on capacity, along with gatherings of up to 10 people. Phase four would allow for gatherings of up to 50 people, along with the reopening of restaurants and bars, childcare facilities and schools. And phase five means Illinois is completely restored, with new safety guidelines and procedures for conventions, festivals and large events.

  • Pritzker said, “every region so far is meeting all the metrics.” He added that “each region needs to go through a time period where there needs to be an averaging of those metrics during that time period,” he said.

  • “That is true, on the [IDPH] website, you can see that Chicago and the regions surrounding Chicago has now dropped below 20% in terms of positivity rate and that’s a gating factor for moving on to the next phase.”

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported a total of 138 deaths in the last 24 hours. She also reported 3,928 total deaths in the state. She also reported 3,239 new cases of coronavirus and 87,937 total cases across the state.

  • During his briefing, Pritzker announced that the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has processed more than one million claims between March 1 and May 9. This is “six times as many claims” as there were during the 2008-2009 Great Recession, he noted.

  • Pritzker also gave an update on the new Pandemic Employment assistant program that opened on Monday. This program allows for IDES to process claims for 10-99 workers, self employed individuals, and contractors who don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. Pritzker said since the program opened on May 11, more than 50,000 applications have been filed.

  • Pritzker said that the Departments of Employment Services and Commerce and Equal Economic Opportunity are working together to launch a new and updated “one-stop shop” dedicated to connecting residents with jobs. The online portal, Get Hired Illinois, is for employers and residents seeking employees and jobs, respectively. The hub will offer employer hosted virtual job training and virtual job fairs. Residents can learn more at il.gov/gethired.

May 13, 2020

  • A day after Illinois saw its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases with 4,014, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported a record 192 deaths — the highest number of fatalities within a 24-hour period.

  • “This is the largest one-day increase we have recorded thus far,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

  • Ezike shared these numbers during Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing. In addition to 192 deaths, there were 1,677 new COVID-19 cases since yesterday. Statewide totals are currently 84,698 cases and 3,792 deaths.

  • Pritzker discussed current plans to continue efforts for employees and residents at long-term care facilities in the state. Since March, he said that the state has implemented restrictions on visitors to veterans homes and modified guidelines for long-term care facilities. He said the state has expanded testing at those facilities and that IDPH is providing testing of all employees and residents at long-term care facilities to avoid widespread cases.

  • In March, Illinois partnered with Quest Diagnostics to administer more tests to employees and residents in the state’s long-term healthcare facilities. The state has also partnered with hospitals and healthcare facilities, such as the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) including KN95 and N95 masks (respirator masks), gloves, hand sanitizer, face masks and shoe coverings, to long-term healthcare facilities across the state. IEMA and IDPH have decided to directly deliver PPE to 1,200 long-term care facilities beginning on April 30th, and, according to Pritzker, 85% of these facilities have received PPE and the other remainder should be receiving more PPE in the “coming days.”

  • “These are some of our most vulnerable Illinoisians,” said Pritzker in regards to senior citizens (65 or older) in Illinois. According to IDPH, seniors between the ages of 60 and 69 currently make up 17% of COVID-19 cases in Illinois with a total of 10,858 total cases. There are currently 65,163 seniors between the ages of 60 and 69 that have been tested and 943 seniors between the ages of 60 and 69 have died due to coronavirus.

May 12, 2020

  • Illinois saw its largest spike in new COVID-19 cases within a 24-hour period. Health officials reported 4,014 news cases and 144 more deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said this is the first time the state reached the “4,000 range” in new reported cases.

  • Ezike gave this update during Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing. She also reported the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths to be 83,021 and 3,061, respectively.

  • So far, the state has administered 471,691 COVID-19 tests, with 29,266 of those tests being administered in the last 24 hours — the most tests administered in a single day to date, Ezike said. She attributed today’s spike in COVID-19 cases to the increase in testing.

  • Pritzker announced The Fast-Track program, a program with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) that would expedite $25 million in state grants to cities and towns in Illinois to help support construction projects including school districts, townships, and other entities that may have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

  • He said he wants to “support the return of skilled labor” and, starting today, “shovel-ready” projects can apply for this funding through June 30. The Fast-Track program receives its funding from Rebuild Illinois, the state’s multi-year capital plan, as a way to provide funds to shovel-ready projects during the summer construction months. Pritzker encouraged representatives from underfunded areas and opportunity zones to apply on the DCEO website.

May 11, 2020

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Public Department of Health (CPDH) announced six new testing sites on the city’s West and South Sides to address the Latinx and Black communities that are being hit the hardest during COVID-19. New partnerships with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and Curative-Korva, a network of doctors, emergency workers and government officials, to make the new testing sites more accessible for residents. These partners will help expand staffing at new sites and help with reporting test results, available online in both English and Spanish. Curative will also work to reach residents who do not have computer access.

  • The city has identified locations near public transportation and large testing areas to allow for social distancing. First responders who are asymptomatic can access drive-thru testing at Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side. There will be five other sites that will be in Latinx and Black communities for symptomatic residents. These testing sites will be located at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Math and Science Academy in Little Village, Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy in Belmont Cragin, Kennedy King College in Englewood, Senka Park in Chicago Lawn, and Gatley Park in Pullman.

  • Lightfoot’s goal is to increase testing from approximately 3,000 to 10,000 tests per day. The increase in testing is one of many solutions that will help Chicago advance from stage two to stage three of the city’s five-phase reopening strategy, “Protecting Chicago.”

  • “As we look toward Chicago’s gradual reopening, a crucial piece would be increased testing so that we can better understand COVID-19 and know when to safely move to the next phase,” Lightfoot said at an afternoon press conference.

  • During a virtual press conference today, Gov. Pritzker announced that one member of his senior staff tested positive for the coronavirus who had not been exhibiting any symptoms. “The rest of our team is working from home for the time being,” he said. “The governor’s office is very much still in full operation and all aspects of the executive branch will function as they have been.”

  • During his press conference, Pritzker said, “We haven’t passed our peak yet. We are not seeing significant declines in key metrics like hospitalization.” According to Pritzker, Illinois’ previous peak projection has gone from mid-May to now, mid-June.

  • The state has reported 1,266 new cases of coronavirus. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported a total of 79,007 cases including 3,459 deaths.

May 8, 2020

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Public Department of Health (CPDH) announced the “Protecting Chicago” framework, a five-phase plan that will safely reopen Chicago amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The framework outlines how city officials are thinking about reopening, with each phase being determined by “the science and the data,” said Lightfoot. The city announced new partnerships with industry leaders like Sam Toia, president and CEO of Illinois Restaurant Association and other industry working groups, health experts and the public. The five phases of the “Protecting Chicago” framework are:

  • Phase one, Strict Stay-at-home: Chicago residents are to stay at home and maintain safe physical distances away from anyone outside of their home. Phase two, Stay-at-home: Chicago is currently in phase two, according to Lightfoot. Residents should continue to maintain safe physical distances and only go out for essential activities, to take walks near their homes and wear masks.

  • Phase three, Cautiously Reopen: Lightfoot described this phase as a limited reopening, where non-essential workers can begin returning to their jobs.This phase allows for a “limited reopening of some amenities and gatherings” with 10 people or fewer. Face coverings and physically distancing will still be necessary and if sick, residents should stay home. Members of vulnerable populations — including individuals with pre-existing conditions, elderly individuals, and pregnant women — are advised to stay home. If someone has come in contact with someone who has tested positive, they are also encouraged to stay home.

  • Phase four, Gradually Resume: Lightfoot said this stage will allow Chicago to reopen a little further. The city will begin to open additional businesses and amenities during this phase and that residents will still need to wear masks. Vulnerable populations should continue to shelter in place, she added.

  • Phase five, Protect: Lightfoot said in this phase, the city will be near completion and recovery. She’d like to see schools reopen and her and other city officials are starting a conversation on when that can safely happen. Here, Chicago will experience more businesses reopening, non-essential workers returning to work, most activities and events resuming and implementing workplace screenings and tests.

  • Lightfoot said there will be specific metrics to determine transitions for each of the phases. These metrics will include a decreased rate of the coronavirus spread, the availability and administering of tests, support systems in place for the vulnerable populations and Chicago’s healthcare system having the capacity to handle a potential case surge. Chicago is “not at the point where we can begin to reopen our city yet. We have a long way to go before we can safely return to things the way they were,” said Lightfoot.

  • The mayor encouraged Chicago residents to take an online survey to offer input on the city’s reopening plans. Residents can take the survey at www.chicago.gov/coronavirus. The state has reported a total of 73,760 cases of coronavirus and a total of 3,241 deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

May 7, 2020

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a total of 70,873 cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including 3,111 deaths. Today marked the 60th consecutive day of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker daily coronavirus briefings.

  • The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has processed one million unemployment claims since March 1, 2020, according to Pritzker, who spoke at the daily coronavirus briefing. The state has also paid out $2 billion in unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Pritzker announced a new federal benefits program, called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA is a federal benefits program that provides 100% federally-funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19 related reasons. These individuals — including independent contractors and sole proprietors — are not eligible for the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, the Extended Benefit (EB) program under Illinois law, or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC). Workers can get up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits with the PUA program.

  • Through PUA, workers who believe they may be eligible must apply for unemployment insurance prior to applying for benefits under PUA. “This is a mandatory first step,” Pritzker said, adding that workers do not need to wait until Monday — the launch date for PUA — before applying for the PUA program.

  • According to Pritzker, “IDES were unfit to handle the surge of unemployment cases caused by COVID-19, causing millions of Illinoisans to have to wait.” Because of this, Pritzker said IDES has implemented new and improved systems to help expedite claims including a new call center with 100 new staffers, updated phone lines, and collaborations with new partners like IBM and Google.

  • Illinois is now “paying benefits in a timely manner to 99.9% of Illinoisians,” Pritzker said. So far, approximately 75% of Illinoisians have received their first unemployment payments within two weeks. The Federal Cares Act allows for an additional $600 for unemployment benefits. Starting next week, Illinois will begin to process 1099 workers, according to Pritzker.

May 6, 2020

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 2,270 new cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois, including 136 new deaths.

  • Chicago has “reached another critical moment. Chicago’s Latinx community is seeing a surge in cases in Latinx residents,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at her daily press conference.

  • Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said that, one month ago, the city had 5,043 cases of COVID-19. Today, Arwady said, the city has 26,611 cases of COVID-19 and 1,096 deaths due to the virus.

  • “We’re still at the stage where we are flattening the curve, [which is] not yet coming down,” she said. “Following city of Chicago data, at the beginning of the outbreak it took less than two months [before] seeing cases double. [Now] cases are doubling every 15 days.”

  • Lightfoot and CDPH have announced new union partnerships with SEIU Local 1, UNITE HERE Local 1, and the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity to work with the city’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team on implementing more efforts to better protect the Latinx community while addressing health care inequities impacting them during COVID-19.

  • According to a city press release, 14% of COVID-19 cases and 9% of COVID-19 deaths were in Chicago’s Latinx community. Today, the Latinx community represents 37% of cases and 25% of deaths. Meanwhile, African Americans continue to represent a disproportionate number of cases and deaths, with 36% and 52% respectively. However, the Latinx community now represents the largest percentage of COVID-19 cases in Chicago.

May 5, 2020

  • Today, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a five-phase plan to reopen regions across the state, using health metrics and hospitalization data as the framework for a safe reopening.

  • Open the “Restore Illinois” tab below to see the full plan. As of today, Pritzker said, all regions across Illinois are in the second phase of the five-phase plan.

  • Health officials announced the highest number of COVID-19 deaths (176) in a single day.

April 29, 2020

  • Illinois surpassed 50,000 COVID-19 cases. At the daily coronavirus briefing, the state’s Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike called the increase an “unfortunate milestone.”

  • IDPH also reported 2,215 total fatalities across the state.

  • Earlier that afternoon, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city’s Housing Solidarity Pledge. With this pledge, housing lenders and landlord associations are working together to provide relief to tenants and building owners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Lenders and landlords are encouraged to offer grace periods for rent and mortgage payments, rent repayment plans, no late fees on missed payments, foreclosure suspensions and neutral reporting to credit agencies.

  • Lightfoot said the pledge covers Chicago residents who are undocumented, as well. However, Lightfoot said, there is no way the city can mandate that landlords follow the pledge. It is her hope, she said, that landlords will take advantage of the pledge and work together with tenants to provide relief.

April 28, 2020

  • Health officials announced 2,219 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 144 more deaths. The total numbers statewide are 48,102 cases and 2,125 deaths.

  • Today is the greatest increase in single-day deaths within a 24-hour period, according to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 14,561 tests for a total of 242,189.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new partnership with Airbnb to support residents fleeing domestic violence during the pandemic.

  • Over the past few weeks, according to a city press release, the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline has seen an increase in calls. In March, there was a 6% increase in hotline calls in the Chicago area compared to March 2019. Same time, the Chicago Police Department reported an increase of approximately 12% in domestic violence related calls between January through mid April compared to the same period last year.

  • The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline will coordinate with Airbnb and HotelTonight, a member of the Airbnb family, to place hotel reservations on behalf of the caller. And The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence will cover the costs of these stays with funding from the state of Illinois. The process ensures security and privacy for callers. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, at 877-863-6338 (TTY 877-863-6339).

April 27, 2020

  • Health officials announced 1,980 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 50 more fatalities. The total numbers statewide are 45,883 cases and 1,983 deaths.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with the city’s Department of Public Health, launched a new mobile app to help residents with the fight against COVID-19.

  • The “Chi COVID Coach” app is a way for residents to check-in with local health officials about their COVID-19 symptoms, testing information and pre-registration for a COVID-19 vaccine and antibodies test when they become available. Resident information is private and will only be shared with the Chicago Department of Public Health. Click here to learn more: https://covidcoach.chicago.gov/

April 24, 2020

  • Today, health officials reporting highest number of cases in a single day: 2,724 (including 108 more deaths).

  • Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting a total of 39,658 cases, including 1,795 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois.

April 23, 2020

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended the state’s stay-at-home order from April 30 to May 30, citing new models projecting that the state will hit its peak number of deaths between late April and early May, he announced at a Thursday, April 23 press briefing.

  • He’s also strengthening some public health measures. Anyone over the age of two will be required to wear a mask when in a public place where social distancing isn’t possible. This will begin on May 1.

  • Without the stay-at-home order, experts said, modeling estimates found that there would have been 10 to 20 times as many deaths in Illinois to date. The peak death rate and peak resource usage also would have shifted 20 to 30 times what we’re seeing now with the stay at home order and other mitigation efforts by state and local leaders. If accounting for the number of deaths due to lack of access to healthcare, experts said these numbers would likely have been even higher.

  • At an earlier press conference on April 23, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she worries about low-income residents having access to masks and face covering should the governor require everyone to wear them. She said once she sees the guidance from Pritzker, her administration will work hard to help city residents comply.

  • Lightfoot announced the creation of the COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce to advise city government as economic recovery planning efforts get underway in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • The Taskforce is comprised of Chicago-based policy makers and leaders with experience in key issue areas which have already started to see demonstrable effects from COVID-19. Five working groups will offer policy recommendations and plans to the Lightfoot administration. In recognition of the fact that Chicago’s economy is interconnected with that of the region as well as the state, these subgroups will also include participants representing the Chicagoland regional economy.

April 22, 2020

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called out some of the city’s alderpersons this afternoon after they called for a delay on a vote that would give her emergency powers during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • According to the Block Club Chicago, a proposed budget ordinance would give Lightfoot an unprecedented amount of power, including the ability to reallocate funds within the city’s 2020 budget; lease and occupy property at no risk to the owners; and enter million-dollar contracts — all without City Council approval.

  • At a press conference, Lightfoot called the delay a “grand gesture” and called them the group “selfish.” As the city competes with countries and municipalities worldwide for basic and necessary resources to combat COVID-19, the mayor said she doesn’t have time to wait for City Council members to convene and vote on her proposals. However, the City Council held a virtual meeting earlier that day which, the group said, showed that council members can still meet and vote.

  • In a statement from the group, which includes Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th), Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) and Lightfoot’s own neighborhood alderman, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), they called the mayor’s ordinance a “power grab.”

  • “Today, alongside Ald. Raymond Lopez (15), we took legislative action to postpone Mayor Lightfoot’s power grab ordinance because we have a responsibility to ensure that millions in federal emergency dollars reach Chicago’s hardest-hit communities on the West and South Sides,” the group said in an emailed press release. “The mayor is asking [the] City Council to abdicate its oversight responsibility with no guarantee that emergency dollars will be appropriated through an equity lens. We must prioritize Black Chicagoans who are 30% of our city’s population but 60% of our city’s COVID-19 deaths. We must prioritize our neighbors who are deciding between paying rent and putting food on the table. We must prioritize recovery for those who need it most during this crisis.”

  • At another afternoon press briefing, Illinois health officials and Gov. J.B. Pritzker reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day, at 2,049. Statewide totals are 35,108 cases and 1,565 deaths. According to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, at least 2,500 cases were healthcare workers. Health officials believe that potentially eight COVID-19 deaths were associated with healthcare workers.

  • Pritzker announced the opening of two new drive-through testing sites in Aurora and Rockford. The Aurora site is located at the Chicago Premium Outlets, and it opened on Wednesday. The Rockford location is located at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and it opens on Friday. Visit our “Testing sites” tab below to learn more about these new locations.

April 21, 2020

  • As of today, Illinois still hasn’t hit its peak number of COVID-19 cases, according to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. When asked about reports of new models showing the peak could hit in mid-May instead of April, Pritzker said his team will speak more about models in the coming days.

  • Pritzker shared these details alongside Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike at his daily coronavirus briefing. The governor said his staff is in conversation with epidemiologists and experts to understand what he can do when it comes to changing the current stay-at-home order, which is set to expire on April 30.

  • Within the past 24 hours, IDPH reported 1,551 new cases of COVID-19 and 119 new fatalities in the state, bringing total numbers to 33,059 and 1,468, respectively.

  • At the briefing, Pritzker announced that the state had secured relief options with 20 private student loan service companies to expand federal protections to student loan borrowers. Previously, the federal CARES Act only provided relief to students with federal loans — including suspension of monthly payments, interest and involuntary collection activity — until Sept. 30.

  • Now, the following relief options are available for borrowers with private and non-federal student loans: a minimum 90 days of forbearance; waiving late payment fees; not being subject to negative credit reporting; no debt collection lawsuits for 90 days; enrollment in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

April 20, 2020

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced today that the state is bending the curve in the right way in the war against the coronavirus. In mid-March, modeling showed that, without social distancing, the state would have exceeded its overall hospital capacity by more than 25,000 beds by April 6.

  • But because of Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and other social-distancing efforts, state officials have prevented worst-case scenarios. As of April 19, there were 4,599 Illinoisans in the hospital battling COVID-19 — a slight increase from the 3,680 hospital patients Illinois had on April 6.

  • Pritzker also said that only 40% of the now 3,100 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Illinois are occupied. Back on April 6, when the state had 2,700 ICU beds, 43% were occupied.

  • At today’s daily press briefing, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ezike Ngozi announced 1,151 new COVID-19 cases and 59 new fatalities, bringing statewide totals to 31,508 and 1,349, respectively.

  • Pritzker is working to ramp up testing at long-term residential facilities, which will include testing all residents and staff in facilities without any known or reported COVID-19 cases in an effort to detect cases early and isolate infected people before widespread transmission. State teams delivered tests to two long-term living facilities over the weekend, and delivered tests to 10 more homes today, with more deliveries to come.

April 17, 2020

  • All schools in Illinois will remain closed through the rest of the 2020 school year, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced today. He made the announcement as Illinois health officials reported the largest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day with 1,842. They also reported another 62 deaths.

  • As of today, the statewide totals are 27,575 cases — including 1,134 deaths — across 92 counties in Illinois.

  • “I’ve said time and time again, our decisions must follow the science. And the science says our students can’t go back to their normal routine this school year,” Pritzker said.

  • Remote learning will continue throughout Illinois for the 2020 school year. The state received approximately $569 million in federal funding for pre-K-12 schools as part of the CARES Act. Pritzker said each school district will receive CARES Act funding proportional to the number of low-income students they serve. Also, the funding will assist with equipping students with their technological needs and internet access to continue remote learning plans.

  • As of April 15, students statewide will have access to 200 internet hotspots that they can use for e-learning during the pandemic. Wi-Fi hotspots are available at various locations across the state, including local libraries and colleges. Click here to find a hotspot near you.

April 16, 2020

  • Today, Illinois health officials saw the greatest increase in COVID-19 deaths statewide within a 24-hour period. Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ezike announced 125 more deaths and 1,140 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide totals to 1,072 and 25,733, respectively.

  • Additionally, at Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing, he announced a new formal partnership with six Midwest states. Together, they will all work to reopen the Midwest region based on four factors: sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations; enhanced ability to test and trace coronavirus; sufficient health care capacity to handle any resurgence of the disease; and best practices for social distancing in the workplace. States included in the partnership include: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky. Pritzker said Iowa, which still doesn’t have a stay-at-home order in place, chose not to participate.

  • Pritzker also announced new efforts to expand testing in Illinois, especially within communities of color that are adversely impacted by the virus. In collaboration with the Illinois Primary Healthcare Association, new state testing sites will open in Roseland, Chatham, Englewood, Hyde Park, Austin and Little Village, Humboldt Park, some surrounding Chicago suburbs and more.

  • The University of Chicago Medicine is expanding its capacity by testing 1,000 symptomatic people daily, which is a roughly fivefold increase over the average 200 daily tests they performed daily since screenings began on March 15. Also Howard Brown Health is partnering with Project VIDA to expand free testing in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

  • Click on our “test sites” tab below to see all testing sites for communities of color.

April 15, 2020

  • Today, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sent her condolences to two more city employees who died due to COVID-19. One of the city employees was a plumber with the city’s Water Department, she said, and the other was a firefighter.

  • At a 1:00 p.m. press conference, Lightfoot and city health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady announced that Chicago is in the beginning stages of “flattening the curve.” According to new data, the rate of increase for new COVID-19 cases has “considerably slowed.” Just a month ago, the rate of COVID-19 cases was increasing by 25% to 50% each day. Now, the rate of increase is down to 8% per day.

  • “We are on the right path and our work is paying off,” Lightfoot said. She added that the city would be experiencing upwards 2,000 deaths and 62,000 cases if not for mitigation efforts such as the stay-at-home order and shutting down the lakefront, 606 Trail and city parks.

  • As of today, Dr. Arwady said, the city has 9,666 cases of COVID-19 and a death toll of 347. At a later press conference, state health officials announced 1,346 new COVID-19 cases and 80 more deaths, bringing statewide totals to 24,593 and 948, respectively.

  • Additionally, Dr. Arwady spoke about new data from BlueDot, a healthcare company that’s working with the city to trace population movement based on mobile device data. In February and early March, an average between 59% and 64% of cellphones checked in at home throughout the day. By last week, Chicago’s average increased to 79%, which means more people are staying home, Dr. Arwady said.

April 14, 2020

  • Today, Illinois health officials announced 1,222 new COVID-19 cases and 74 more deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 23,247 and 868, respectively.

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike shared updates about an electronic survey the department is using to identify the number of people who have recovered after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The survey tracks the recoveries of people who are seven, 14, 21 and 28 days post diagnosis.

  • According to Ezike, 44% of respondents indicated a recovery at sevendays, 50% indicated a recovery at 14 days, 61% indicated a recovery at 21 days and 69% indicated a recovery at 28 days.

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined Ezike at the press conference. He said he is in conversation with governors on the East Coast and those in surrounding Midwest states about what needs to be in place before considering whether to allow certain businesses to re-open and certain employees to return to work.

  • In a separate press release from the governor’s office, Pritzker announced new protections for Illinois residents receiving a federal stimulus check. Beginning today, he is suspending laws that allow services to garnish wages or citations to discover assets as part of the consumer debt collection process.

April 9, 2020

  • Today, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tackled questions about the future of the statewide stay-at-home order.

  • At Pritzker’s daily coronavirus briefing, a reporter asked what advice he would give to the organizers of big summer events, concerts and festivals.

  • “I think everybody needs to think seriously about canceling large summer events,” Pritzker said.

  • Within the past 24 hours, the Illinois Department of Public Health saw 1,344 new cases of COVID-19, including 66 more deaths. Today, the statewide total is 16,422 cases and 528 deaths in 81 counties across Illinois.

  • He also said that he doesn’t see the Illinois “stay-at-home” order being lifted before April 30. If anything, Pritzker and state health officials are thinking about rules and restrictions that will need to be put in place after April 30.

April 8, 2020

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Fire Department (CFD) Commissioner Richard C. Ford II announced the deaths of two more city employees due to the novel coronavirus.

  • Mario Araujo, 49, a CFD worker, and another man who worked as a member of the Chicago Department of Asset Information and Services are the latest city employees to die due to COVID-19.

  • Illinois health officials saw the most single-day deaths on Wednesday, reporting 82 additional lives lost. The total number of COVID-19 cases statewide are 15,078, with 462 deaths.

  • At Mayor Lightfoot’s 1 p.m. press conference, she also took a moment to acknowledge the gun deaths that occurred throughout the city yesterday.

  • “Unfortunately the epidemic of gun violence continues to plague is everyday, every hour of the day,” she said. ”Just taking yesterday as example, a warm day where people came outside, individual trigger pullers slaughtered people in a totally heinous way.”

April 6, 2020

  • With the COVID-19 expected to peak sometime this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new initiative with Chicago’s professional sports teams to remind residents to stay home as much as possible and to help get the city back up and running after pandemic subsides.

  • “We Are Not Playing” is a two-phase marketing campaign led by the city’s new Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Fassnacht. The first phase is intended to use the popularity of Chicago athletes to drill home the importance of social distancing. The second phase of the “We’re Not Playing” campaign seeks to attract business and tourism to Chicago once the pandemic ends.

  • Lightfoot thanked the McDonald’s Corporation, headquartered in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, for donating 750,000 N95 face masks to healthcare professionals and personnel and first responders as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • According to a press release, the city will add these masks to its repository. In the coming days, city officials will decide where to allocate these masks.

April 1, 2020

  • This afternoon Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the death of a Chicago city employee to COVID-19. She did not identify the employee out of respect for the worker’s family, but did say they were a long-standing employee who was beloved by family and colleagues. She also asked reporters not to publish any details about the individual while officials are working to notify family and friends.

  • At a later press conference, Illinois Gov. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nogozi Ezike announced an additional 986 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 42 more deaths. There are now a total of 6,980 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 141 deaths in Illinois.

  • Prtizker also took a moment to remind everyone, no matter their legal status, to fill out the 2020 Census. According to the mayor, Illinois receives $34 Billion every year from the federal government, but even a one percent undercount can potentially lose the state up to $195 million per year in federal funding.

  • Earlier today, at a separate press conference, Lightfoot also announced new measures and programs to assist families struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is deferring rent for thousands of tenants at this time. Illinois First Lady M.K. Pritzker and Chicago First Lady Amy Eshleman are leading a new fund, called the Chicago Arts for Illinois Relief Fund. The fund is a collaboration between the city, the state and private philanthropic organizations that will support the arts community during the COVID-19 crisis.

March 31, 2020

  • Today Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended the statewide stay-at-home order from April 7 to April 30.

  • At his daily press confrence, Gov. Pritzker stated his number one priority is to keep as many people safe as possible and stated that on April 1, he will sign an executive order extending the disaster proclamation, stay-at-home order and school closures across Illinois.

  • Also, officials at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced an additional 937 confirmed COVID-19 cases and another 26 deaths. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 5,994 and 99 deaths.

  • At an earlier press conference, Mayor Lightfoot announced a partnership with the iconic Hotel Essex, located at 800 S. Michigan Ave., to house police officers, paramedics, firefighters, 911 operators and dispatchers during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • A total of 274 rooms are reserved for first responders who have been in direct contact with the public during the coronavirus pandemic. Rooms are on a first come, first serve basis and to reserve one, first responders will have to provide proof employment.

March 30, 2020

  • An inmate has died from COVID-19 while incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet.

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike made the announcement at Monday’s coronavirus briefing with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

  • An apparent COVID-19 outbreak is taking place at the state prison. As of Monday, 12 male inmates have been hospitalized — with several in the Intensive Care Unit and on ventilators. Additionally, 77 other inmates are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are isolated within the prison. Eleven prison staff are showing symptoms and are isolated, too.

  • The inmate’s death is among eight more deaths related to COVID-19, which brings Illinois’s death toll to 72. Ezike also said there were 461 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the state total to 5,056.

  • In an effort to increase healthcare capacity, Gov. Pritzker announced that the National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers will assist in turning McCormick Place in downtown Chicago into a field hospital. By the end of April, Gov. Pritzker hopes to have 3,000 beds at McCormick Place, which will be dedicated to non-acute COVID-19 patients — those who are not likely in need of a formal ICU.

March 29, 2020

  • Illinois health officials announced 1,105 new COVID-19 cases and 18 more deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 4,596 and death toll to 65 on Sunday.

  • These numbers come a day after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the loss of a nine-month-old Chicago infant to COVID-19.

  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike shared Sunday’s numbers at the daily coronavirus briefing with Gov. Pritzker. During the briefing, Pritzker said the state has currently administered nearly 28,000 tests for the novel coronavirus.

  • Previously, healthcare officials were only able to run about 2,000 tests a day. Today, Pritzker said, they are running an average of 4,000 tests a day at 30 hospitals and clinical labs across the state.

  • The goal, and standard according to experts, is 10,000 tests a day. Pritzker said Illinois will be at that goal very soon. This data will help state officials assess how well coronavirus interventions are working.

March 27, 2020

  • On Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new relief program for Chicago residents struggling to pay rents and mortgages during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The relief program, called the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant, is a partnership with the city’s Department of Housing (DOH) and the Family Independence Initiative. In the coming weeks, DOH will use $2 million from its Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund to support one-time grants for those impacted by the novel coronavirus.

  • As of now, there will be 2,000 grants of $1,000 each awarded through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant. Half of the grants will be given out through a lottery system. The other half will be distributed by nonprofit organizations across Chicago.

  • Applicants can apply online at www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or through participating nonprofit organizations. The application deadline is April 1st at 11:59 p.m. central time.

  • On Friday afternoon, Illinois health officials reported 488 new COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths across the state. That brings the total number of cases to 3,026 and the death toll to 34.

March 26, 2020

  • On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the closing of Chicago’s Lakefront, Riverwalk and 606 Trail in response to reports and social media photos of hundreds of people congregating in these areas the day before. The executive order, Lightfoot said, is effective immediately and will last until further notice.

  • Also, on Thursday, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois shot up to 2,538. Of those, 1,149 cases are in Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

  • In total, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), there were 673 new cases on Thursday, including seven new deaths. Now the death toll is at 26 statewide.

  • “Your conduct is posing a direct threat to our public health,” Lightfoot said at the press conference.

  • Lightfoot also announced the launch of “Stay Home, Save Lives,” a campaign meant to educate residents on COVID-19. She’ll be calling on celebrities and community leaders to assist with the new campaign.

March 23, 2020

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 236 new COVID-19 cases at a Monday press conference, which brings the total number of Illinois cases to 1,285.

  • IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike also announced three new deaths as a result of the novel coronavirus. The total number of deaths in Illinois is 12.

March 19, 2020

  • There are 422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

  • Additionally, three more people have died from the novel coronavirus in Cook County, Will County and Sangamon County.

  • The Cook County woman was in her 80s, according to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who spoke at a daily press briefing on Thursday.

  • Unfortunately we do anticipate additional deaths,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Health.

March 18, 2020

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 128 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total number of cases statewide to 288.

March 17, 2020

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the first death related to COVID-19. The Chicago woman was in her 60s, and had been in contact with another person who tested positive for the coronavirus.

  • She was hospitalized at the time of death. She’d been hospitalized since she presented symptoms, according to Chicago Department of Public Health director Dr. Allison Arwady.

  • According to Block Club Chicago, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the woman as 61-year-old Patricia Frieson of Auburn Gresham, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

  • At the Tuesday press conference, Pritzker also announced a COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Willowbrook, which is located in DuPage County. At the time of the press conference, at least 18 residents and four employees had tested positive for the virus at the long-term care facility.

  • As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death related to the virus in Illinois.

March 15, 2020

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois increased from 66 to 93, state health officials announced at a Sunday afternoon press conference.

  • Additionally, at the same press conference, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants statewide to close to the public beginning Monday evening through the end of March. Pritzker is working with restaurant owners to allow drive-through, curb-side pick-up and delivery throughout the closure.

  • As for food access to children during the statewide school closure, Pritzker said the State Board of Education has received waivers to distribute two meals a day to children who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Soon, local districts will contact families and provide more information on what distribution will look like for their specific community.

  • Same time, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will use its buildings to distribute grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to children between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. every day. Children will be able to go to any CPS school building to pick up food, Pritzker added.

  • In Illinois, there have been 1,025 COVID-19 tests administered. Of those tests, 93 came back positive and 932 came back negative.

More info

Phase IV: Gradually Resume

Chicago will be moving to phase four this Friday, June 26 after nearly three weeks of the city being in phase three of the Protecting Chicago’s Framework plan, announced Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

 During phase four — where the city expects more than 200,000 Chicagoans to return to work — businesses must still maintain a limit of 25% capacity and indoor gatherings have increased from 10 to 25.

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Residents can visit www.chicago.gov/reopening for more information on the city’s transition into phase four.

Phase III: Cautiously Reopen

On May 26, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), industry leaders, labor leaders, and public officials, released industry-specific guidelines for safely operating within Phase III: Cautiously Reopen. This phase of reopening is set to begin in early June.

Aligned with the State of Illinois but tailored to Chicago’s context, these guidelines advise employers and residents of Chicago on how to cautiously exit from shelter-in-place while continuing to prioritize the health of our most vulnerable residents.

Within Phase III, the following industries are opening first with specific safety guidelines. Click each industry to read the guidelines.

Restore Illinois

 

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Click here to learn more about Restore Illinois.

Click here to learn more about the State of Illinois’s industry guidelines for reopening in phase 3.

Stay-at-home order

On March 31, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended the stay-at-home order to April 30, following the new social distancing timeline from federal government officials.

The stay-at-home order was initially set to expire on April 7. Pritzker made that order on March 20 in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases. The order went into effect on Saturday, March 21 at 5:00 p.m.

Under the order, residents are able to go outdoors for essential needs or business, including trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, medical clinics, gas station and restaurants for takeout or curb-side pickup.

Testing sites

As of May 18, here is a list of the city’s six new community testing sites with opening dates.

Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy:  2850 W 24th Blvd, Chicago

Opening date: May 13

Symptomatic residents; Asymptomatic with known exposure to COVID, Drive-Thru, Walk-Up

Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy: 2231 N Central Ave, Chicago

Opening date: May 15

Symptomatic residents; Asymptomatic with known exposure to COVID, Drive-Thru, Walk-Up

Guaranteed Rate Field Lot A: 3417 S Normal Ave, Chicago

Tentative opening date: May 26

Asymptomatic first responders and healthcare workers, Drive-Thru Only

Columbus Park: 5701 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago

Tentative opening date: May 19

Symptomatic residents; Asymptomatic with known exposure to COVID, Drive-Thru, Walk-Up

Gately Park: 744 E 103rd St, Chicago

Tentative opening date: May 22

Symptomatic residents; Asymptomatic with known exposure to COVID, Drive-Thru, Walk-Up

Kennedy-King College: 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago

Tentative opening date: TBD

Symptomatic residents; Asymptomatic with known exposure to COVID, Drive-Thru, Walk-Up

Senka Park: 5656 S St Louis Ave, Chicago

Tentative opening date: TBD

Symptomatic residents; Asymptomatic with known exposure to COVID, Drive-Thru, Walk-Up

On Wednesday, April 22, Gov. Pritzker announced two new mobile test site locations in Aurora and Rockford. These sites joined three existing state-run drive-through testing sites in Markham, Bloomington and Harwood Heights.

Anyone can be tested at the drive-through locations, even without a doctor’s order, according to Pritzker. However, anyone who will be tested must be seated at a functioning window inside of the vehicle. For the safety of testing personnel, the drive-through sites are not accommodating walk-up individuals. 

The service is free, but you will be asked to show a photo ID and a healthcare employee or first responder ID/badge, if applicable. There are significant wait times at these locations, and tests are available while supplies last each day. According to Pritzker, some test sites are administering up to 600 tests per day. 

 

Harwood Heights: 6959 W. Forest Preserve Road, Chicago, IL

7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily

 

Markham: 3824 W. 159th place, Markham, IL

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily

 

Aurora: 1650 Premium Outlet Blvd, Aurora, IL

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Bloomington: 1106 Interstate Drive, Bloomington, IL

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

Rockford (opens April 24): 1601 Parkview Avenue, Rockford, IL

8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

On Wednesday, April 16, Gov. Pritzker announced partnerships with more Federally Qualified Health Centers (FHQCs) to ensure that COVID-19 testing is available and accessible to Black and brown communities, the ones most impacted by the pandemic.

The new sites that will be opening for free screenings and testing soon include:

 

TCA Health in Roseland (1029 E 130th St, Chicago) and Chatham (8425 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago)

 

Howard Brown Health locations in Little Village (2659 S. Kedvale Ave), Englewood (641 W 63rd St, Chicago) , Hyde Park (1525 E 55th St, Chicago) and Austin

 

Heartland Alliance Health in Englewood (5501 S Halsted St, Chicago) and Uptown (1015 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago)

 

Aunt Martha’s locations in Chicago Heights (1536 Vincennes Ave.), Harvey, Joliet, and Chicago’s South Side

 

Erie Family Health Centers in the Evanston-Skokie region (1285 Hartrey Ave

Evanston), Humboldt Park (2750 West North Avenue Chicago), Waukegan

 

Quorum Health in Waukegan

 

VNA Healthcare in Aurora, Carol Stream, Romeoville and Elgin

 

Most locations ask that you call and make an appointment first before coming into the clinic for testing.

On April 14, Illinois opened its third state drive-through testing site. The new site, in Markham, administered more than 600 specimens in its first day of operation. 

University of Chicago Medicine also is up to 1,000 free tests and screenings daily at its Hyde Park campus and at Ingalls Memorial in Harvey. Testing is not available without an appointment. Call 773-702-2800 for more information about UChicago Medicine’s testing and 708-915-2683 for more information about testing at Ingalls Memorial.

Pritzker first announced the expansion of testing sites on Friday, April 10. This effort came days after health officials released data showing Black Chicagoans make up 72% of the COVID-19 deaths in the city, despite only comprising 30% of the city’s total population.

The initial new testing sites he announced were:

 

Lawndale Christian Health Center (3860 W Ogden, Chicago)

 

PCC Community Wellness

 

Chicago Family Health Center

 

Friend Family Health Center

 

“Generations of systemic disadvantages in healthcare delivery and healthcare access in communities of color, and Black communities, are now amplified in this crisis all across the state and across the nation,” Pritzker wrote in an April 10 press release. “We are making sure that our plans reflect equity in access, testing and treatment and we are asking the same of healthcare providers across the state.”

As of April 9, according to state health officials, 11,413 Black residents in Illinois had been tested for COVID-19. Among them, 36% tested positive for the virus. Of the 20,906 white Illinoisans tested, only 18.36% were positive. And of the 3,566 Hispanic Illinoisans tested, 35% were positive. 

Through a partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and four FQHCs, the state is expanding testing in Black and brown communities on the South and West sides. According to the April 10 press release, FQHC’s are community-based health centers that serve low-income, uninsured and underinsured people. 

Each site will administer an additional 400 tests per day. The swabs will be collected and sent to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital for testing. 

Another COVID-19 hotspot is the Metro East region of Illinois, which borders St. Louis, Mo. The Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation will offer up to 470 swabs per day at three locations in Metro East, and the swabs will be sent to Anderson Hospital in Madison County for testing. The Metro East region includes predominately-Black communities such as East St. Louis.

Parks + Lakefront + 606 Trail

On Thursday (March 26), Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the closing of Chicago’s Lakefront, Riverwalk and 606 Trail in response to reports and social media photos of hundreds of people congregating in these areas the day before.

Lightfoot’s executive order includes shutting down Lakefront adjacent trails, green spaces and facilities, fieldhouses, playgrounds and sport courts at city parks and the Riverwalk trail. The order also prohibits contact sports including basketball, football and soccer.

Under Lightfoot’s executive order, CPD will be aggressively ramping up patrols along the Lakefront, at city parks and along the Riverwalk. At any time of the day or night, Beck said, people can be cited or arrested for refusing to obey the order.

Local COVID-19 Relief

On Friday (March 27), Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new relief program for Chicago residents struggling to pay rents and mortgages during the COVID-19 crisis.

The relief program, called the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant, is a partnership with the city’s Department of Housing (DOH) and the Family Independence Initiative. In the coming weeks, DOH will use $2 million from its Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund to support one-time grants for those impacted by the novel coronavirus.

“Due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 crisis, we have a responsibility as a city to support our residents and families during their urgent time of need,” Lightfoot expressed in a press release. “This program represents a critical resource not only to our communities, but our entire city as we navigate this evolving challenge to ensure every Chicagoan remains safe, healthy and secure.”

As of now, there will be 2,000 grants of $1,000 each awarded through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant. Half of the grants will be given out through a lottery system. The other half will be distributed by nonprofit organizations across Chicago.

Applicants can apply online at www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or through participating nonprofit organizations. The application deadline is April 1st at 11:59 p.m. central time. Click here for the online application form.

In order to be eligible for funding, applicants must show a recent unemployment insurance claim, notification of employment status change and proof of household income at or below 60% of the area median income prior to job loss.

State officials also shared updates on support services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Department of Family & Support Services’ Homeless Outreach and Prevention program. According to Grace Hou, secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), monthly SNAP benefits will increase dramatically due to the recent passage of the Federal Family First Legislation.

Before COVID-19, a single person with a disability or an older adult with a monthly income less than $2,000 would be eligible for $16 in monthly SNAP benefits. Now, they’re eligible for $194, Hou said.

IDHS also has $6 million in new funding to support the continuance of care for those experiencing homeless and in need of shelter during the crisis.

On March 26, Penny Pritzker announced that she is chairing the new Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, and has already raised $23 million. The money will be dispersed to nonprofits across the state helping families, communities and individuals hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found at https://www.ilcovidresponsefund.org/

On March 29, Pritzker expressed concern about reports of nurses and health care workers being kicked out of apartments, or denied rentals, in other states over fears of infections. Although he hasn’t heard of this happening in Illinois, he had a message for the state’s landlords.

“Let me be clear, that will not be tolerated in our state.”

Evictions are prohibited in Illinois during the COVID-19 crisis, Pritzker continued. If any health care worker is experiencing difficulty with a landlord, Pritzker said they should immediately contact the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Volunteer Efforts

In an effort to increase healthcare capacity, Gov. Pritzker announced on March 30 that the National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers will assist in turning McCormick Place in downtown Chicago into a field hospital.

According to a press release from the National Guard, about 30 Illinois Air National Guard members will help with construction. And another 10 airmen arrived at McCormick Place today to help.

By the end of April, Gov. Pritzker hopes to have 3,000 beds at McCormick Place, which will be dedicated to non-acute COVID-19 patients — those who are not likely in need of a formal ICU.

She also called on Chicagoans with medical training to sign up for healthcare jobs and volunteer efforts. Anyone who is interested in delivering food assistance or childcare as well, are more than welcome to help out. Those interested in volunteering can visit the resources page at chicago.gov/coronavirus for more information.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined Ezike and Pritzker at the press conference. She said McCormick Place will help with the anticipated surge in COVID-19 case numbers.

Bars + Restaurants + Grocery stores + Events

State officials also are working with grocers who are seeing major surges in shoppers because of coronavirus fears. Pritzker said he’s asking grocery stores to end prohibitions on overnight grocery deliveries.

He’s also asking residents not to panic buy.

“Please do not hoard food. Buy what you need but please be reasonable,” Pritzker said. “There is enough food to go around.”

On March 15, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new measures for bars and liquor establishments.

“Due to concerns around St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the city is enforcing all businesses that sell liquor to have less than half of their regular max capacity,” Lightfoot wrote on Twitter. “Additionally, any establishments that sell liquor will have a max capacity of 100 people.”

Lightfoot made this announcement after disappointment over the long lines and crowds at bars during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. At a press conference last week, Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker cancelled St. Patrick’s Day parades across the city due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

Schools

All K-12 schools in Illinois will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17. In mid April, Pritzker announced that all schools in Illinois will be closed for the remainder of the 2020 school year.

CPS is using its school buildings to distribute grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to children between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. every day. Children can go to any CPS school building to pick up food, Pritzker said.

Travel

On March 14, Vice President Mike Pence announced an extension of the European travel ban to include the UK and Ireland. The ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or their family members.

This announcement created a surge of travelers returning to the U.S., which led to heavy crowds at international airports across the country.

“What should’ve happened, they should have increased the [U.S.] Customs and Border Protection [agent] numbers and then should have increased the number of [Centers for Disease Control] personnel on the ground doing those [coronavirus] checks,” Pritzker said March 15 on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

By Sunday afternoon, Pritzker had received news from Vice President Pence and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that CPB will be increasing its staff at O’Hare.

Anyone traveling back to the U.S. during the travel ban will be funneled through one of 13 U.S. international airports that are being equipped to do special screenings in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

John F. Kennedy International Airport;

Chicago O’Hare International Airport;

San Francisco International Airport;

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport;

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Honolulu, Hawaii;

Los Angeles International Airport;

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport;

Washington-Dulles International Airport;

Newark Liberty International Airport;

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport;

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW);

Boston Logan International Airport; and

Miami International Airport.

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