Afternoon Edition: April 20, 2020

Today’s update is a 4-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration released data that shows the extent to which COVID-19 has spread through Illinois’ nursing homes.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 4-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

Today’s weather is sure to cure your Monday blues: This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 63 degrees. Later, some clouds will move in along with a slight chance of showers tonight as we drop to a low of 37 degrees. Tomorrow, expect another beautiful day: Sunny with a high near 50 degrees.

Top story

Nearly one-fourth of state’s COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing homes

Deaths at nursing homes across Illinois now account for just under one-fourth of the state’s 1,290 coronavirus fatalities, according to new data released by the state.

Facing pressure to disclose the extent to which COVID-19 has spread through Illinois’ nursing homes, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office released new figures yesterday showing that 1,860 residents and staff members at long-term care facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 286 of them have died.

Long-term care facilities in Cook County have by far seen the largest number of cases and deaths. The data shows 804 residents and staff members at Cook County nursing homes have tested positive for the coronavirus, with 146 of them succumbing to the disease.

We’re making our vital coronavirus coverage free for all readers. See the latest news here.

Eight facilities in Cook County have seen at least 20 cases of COVID-19: Bridgeview Healthcare Center, Carlton at the Lake, Center Home for Hispanic Elderly, Elevate Care Chicago North, Glenview Terrace, Symphony of Bronzeville, Symphony of South Shore and Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center saw the most cases, with 43 people testing positive for the virus, and Elevate Care Chicago North followed with 42 cases.

Those living in nursing homes are at a higher risk of infection and can experience more severe symptoms because many have pre-existing medical conditions.

Some of the largest clusters of COVID-19 cases across the country have happened at retirement communities and other long-term care facilities, including a nursing home in Joliet, where more than 20 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported.

Read the full story from Tom Schuba.

More news you need

  1. Illinois has received a second shipment of personal protective equipment flown in from China to help the state battle the coronavirus outbreak. The latest shipment contained “lots of surgical masks.”
  2. Illinois health officials said another 59 people have died from the coronavirus today, while the state’s hospitalization levels remain relatively flat. There are also 1,151 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 31,508 positive cases.
  3. A Cook County corrections officer has died after contracting COVID-19. Sheila Rivera, 47, is possibly the first jail guard to die from complications related to coronavirus, her relatives said. She had worked as a corrections officer since 2012.
  4. Under a relief package proposed today, Chicagoans who have seen their paychecks shrink or disappear during the pandemic would have a year to pay back rent accumulated during the statewide stay-at-home order. Ald. Matt Martin plans to propose the ordinance at Wednesday’s virtual City Council meeting.
  5. Early U.S. Census Bureau numbers show more than half the forms mailed to Illinois households — and nearly half of those sent to Chicago — have been filled out, despite the pandemic’s crippling effect on outreach. The state’s 55.1% response rate is tenth-best in the country.
  6. Before Illinois can reopen its economy, it ideally should achieve the capacity to test up to 100,000 people a day for the coronavirus. Only then can there be some kind of certainty about getting and keeping the virus under control, writes our Editorial Board.
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A bright one

George Gruhn, a world-renowned guitar, banjo and mandolin dealer whose family lived in west suburban River Forest most of his high school years, had a 45-year friendship with John Prine.

The Grammy-winning folk singer, who died earlier this month of coronavirus complications, was a regular customer at Gruhn’s guitar store in Nashville.


John Prine bought three guitars, including this customized 1969 Martin D-35, at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, Tennessee, just three days before his New Year’s Eve midnight concert at the Opry House.

George Gruhn

And though he’s mourning the loss of his friend, Gruhn said he’ll remember Prine as someone who always raised his spirits.

“It was uplifting to be with him,” said Gruhn, 74, the go-to guitar dealer for everyone from hobbyists to Prine, Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, Keith Urban and others. “He had a very positive attitude. … He didn’t tell anyone how sorry he was about his health. He was thankful to be alive, hanging out with his friends and writing tunes.”

Read the full story from Sandra Guy.

From the press box

The first night of “The Last Dance” served up no shortage of entertaining moments for Bulls fans. Here were six that stood out from the premiere of ESPN’s documentary on Michael Jordan and the Bulls’ ‘97-98 title run.

Your daily question☕

Happy 4/20! How do you wish you could celebrate the first April 20th since Illinois legalized recreational weed?

Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Friday, we asked you to tell us what you think is the hardest thing about social distancing.Here’s what some of you said…

“Not being able to go to the dentist for my root canal procedure. I have been in pain and I can only take pain medicine.” — Melissa Dominguez

“Not being able to see my students.” — Mike Feinberg

“I live alone. Other than strangers during couple trips to the grocery store, I haven’t seen anyone in real life for almost a month.” — Laurel Purves

“Not being able to go to concerts that I had been looking forward to.” — Laurie Alfaro

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