Note: Press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the video player above.
Chicago’s top health official is expected to deliver an update on the city’s latest COVID-19 data and emergency order requiring travelers to quarantine.
Her update comes one day after Illinois health officials released a new map for residents highlighting states that pose a “higher risk” of the virus when traveling.
Here are the latest coronavirus headlines from around the state today, Aug. 18:
Wisconsin Falls Off Chicago’s Quarantine List, But Some States Return
Chicago’s travel order was updated once again Tuesday, with Wisconsin falling off the city’s quarantine list, but another neighboring state returning.
Wisconsin and Nebraska were both removed from the quarantine list, effective Friday, but Iowa and Kansas have both returned. Arizona and North Carolina were also noted for dropping below the threshold to require a quarantine, but those states will need to stay below the mark for another week in order to be removed from the list.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is expected to deliver an update on the order, along with the city’s latest coronavirus data, at noon at City Hall.
As of last week, the list stood at 20 U.S. states and territories. Both Wisconsin and Nebraska were noted for dropping below the threshold required to remain on the list, but they needed a second week of numbers below the mark to be removed from the order.
Navy Pier to Close After Labor Day Due to Coronavirus Pandemic: Report
Navy Pier will reportedly close after Labor Day as the iconic Chicago attraction faces restrictions and budget shortfalls during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Chicago Tribune, pier officials plan to announce Tuesday that the pier will shut down Sept. 8 and won’t return until at least the spring.
Last week, officials said Navy Pier was exploring its options, including the potential for closure as the attraction faces a $20 million deficit in its budget due to the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson said.
According to Communications Director Payal Patel, no decisions had been made at that time but the pier was “exploring and considering some options at this time to help preserve the long-term vitality of the Pier.”
In a statement, Navy Pier said the loss of earnings “has been devastating to the organization’s budget,” citing the ongoing closure of the pier’s iconic Centennial Wheel and other attractions as well as decreased parking revenue, rent relief for tenants and the cancellations of all private events.
The pier was forced to close from March 17 through June 10 “to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.” Since then, it has implemented a phased reopening plan that has seen the return of 15-20% of its typically summer attendance.
“Our hope was that once we reopened, revenues would be restored at a more sustainable level. Unfortunately, that has not been realized,” the statement read.
Chicago’s Top Health Official to Provide Update on Emergency Travel Order
Chicago’s top health official is expected to deliver an update on the city’s emergency travel order and the latest COVID-19 data on Tuesday.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is scheduled to hold a news conference at 12 p.m. at City Hall, her office says.
She will provide new information and the updated list of states on the city’s travel order that requires a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the city or returning from more than a dozen states in the U.S.
Her news conference can be watched live in the video player above.
Chicago Bears to Play Games Without Fans to Start 2020 Season
After trying to come to a solution with city officials on allowing a limited number of fans into games this season, the Chicago Bears announced Monday that the team will play games in an empty Soldier Field to begin the year.
The announcement comes as NFL teams continue training camps around the country, albeit with many coronavirus restrictions in place.
The Bears are currently in Lake Forest, but will not play any preseason games due to the NFL’s cancellation of the exhibition slate due to the virus. Their first home game is scheduled for Sept. 13 against the New York Giants.
IDPH Launches Travel Map Showing Which States Are ‘Higher Risk’
Illinois’ public health department on Monday released a new map for residents highlighting which U.S. states are the highest risk for travelers.
The map aims to “help inform residents of potential risks associated with traveling during the pandemic.” The states and countries listed as “higher risk” are based on case rates, according to IDPH.
Locations with an average daily case rate of 15 or more cases per 100,000 residents are marked as an increased risk. As of Monday, U.S. states included Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
Globally, only the U.S., Brazil, the Bahamas, Israel, Kuwait, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Suriname were listed.
“Travel may increase the chance of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “To help inform residents where they might be at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when they travel, IDPH has launched a map that clearly shows states and other countries where case rates are elevated. While staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, we know that it may not be possible to avoid all travel. We encourage people who are traveling, whether for work or otherwise, to check out the map before making plans.”
IDPH emphasized that airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are among places where people may be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.
“The more people you come into contact with, for longer periods of time, the greater your risk of infection if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19,” IDPH said in a release.
Officials urged anyone who is traveling to avoid traveling while sick and to also “think about the destination.”
“It is also important to think about needed precautions for moving through bus, train, or airport terminals, check-in and security lines, as well as the actual bus, train, or plane ride,” the release stated. “Remember to take precautions when stopping for gas, food, and bathroom breaks when traveling by car or RV and as you interact with others and frequently touched surfaces.”
The criteria for “higher risk” states mirrors Chicago’s and Cook County’s current travel order, which requires anyone entering or returning to the city or county from such states to quarantine for 14 days.
Coronavirus Mitigation Restrictions Go Into Effect in Region 4
The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced a series of new mitigation efforts and restrictions in southern Illinois due to ongoing increases in the coronavirus positivity rate in one of the state’s healthcare regions.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the new mitigation efforts go into effect for Region 4 on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Region 4 includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties.
For the three days in a row before the mitigations were announced, the region reported consecutive days of positivity rates above 8%, automatically triggering the new restrictions under the state’s regional mitigation plan announced last month.
Those new restrictions include the closing of bars, restaurants and casinos in the region by 11 p.m., the closing of all party buses and the reduction of gathering sizes to 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity, whichever is lower.
The new restrictions will remain in effect for 14 days, and if numbers don’t begin to improve, more measures, including the closing of indoor bars and dining, could be implemented.
The region, adjacent to St. Louis, has frequently been mentioned by Pritzker in press conferences as one of the areas of the state where the positivity rate has been climbing in recent weeks.
Increasing positivity rate is one of the numbers that can automatically trigger additional restrictions, along with increasing hospital admissions, ICU availability and medical bed availability.
Illinois Reports 1,773 New Cases of Coronavirus, 12 Additional Deaths Monday
Health officials in Illinois confirmed 1,773 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, along with 12 additional deaths related to the virus.
According to new data from the Illinois Department of Health, the state’s total number of coronavirus cases during the pandemic has now risen to 207,854.
Monday’s 12 additional deaths bring the state’s death toll from the virus to 7,756 total fatalities.
According to officials, a total of 38,246 new tests were performed over the last 24 hours, bringing the statewide total to 3,405,097.
Monday’s new test results bring the state’s 7-day rolling positivity rate up by one-tenth of a percent, from 4.1% to 4.2%, according to newly available data.
Hospitalization numbers were down slightly on Monday, with 1,544 coronavirus patients currently hospitalized in the state. Of those patients, 340 are currently housed in intensive care units, while 126 patients are currently on ventilators.
See How Illinois’ Coronavirus Regions and Counties Compare in 7 Key Metrics
How do each of Illinois’ 11 regions and several counties across the Chicago area compare when it comes to key coronavirus metrics?
Dive into the most important data with this searchable tool that shows some of the numbers health experts examine when making decisions about potential restrictions and other efforts to slow the pandemic’s spread.
Updated every evening, this chart shows the number of cases each county or region has reported in the last seven days and its total number of cases since the pandemic began.
The chart also shows each area’s current positivity rate in testing, as well as two important figures adjusted for population: the total number of cases per 100,000 people, as well as the rolling average daily new case count per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.
Public health experts say that latter figure is considered the norm to examine any trendline and could signal a “hot spot” for spread of the virus. It’s also the threshold that some local and state officials are using to determine which states should be placed on any list for which travelers are required to quarantine when entering their jurisdiction.
This chart also shows the metrics for three states overall – Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin – at the top to allow for easy analysis of how a particular region or county is faring in comparison with the rest of the state.