As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Illinois at an unprecedented rate, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday announced new restrictions for North-Central Illinois.
Pritzker will be imposing a ban on indoor service at bars and restaurants, among other restrictions, this week for Region 2 — which covers 20 North-Central counties, including Rock Island, Kendall and Knox counties — after the area saw an average positivity rate above the 8% positivity threshold for three consecutive days.
That means, starting Wednesday, all 11 of the state’s regions will be operating under the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Pritzker, who hinted last week the peak of this outbreak is still nowhere in sight, said the mitigation measures are being put in place to help limit the spread of the virus.
“As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people we love,” Pritzker said in a statement.
11 a.m. Candy chutes and drive-thru treats: Chicagoans get creative for COVID-19 Halloween
Halloween looked a little different this year thanks to the pandemic, but the virus didn’t do much to wipe out the spooky spirit.
Drive-thru treats, homemade candy chutes and masks instead of face paint — those are just some of the ways Chicagoans got creative Saturday as they tried to make the most of the candy-grabbing and costume-wearing celebration despite a variety of restrictions with COVID-19 cases surging statewide.
After Mayor Lori Lightfoot decided not to cancel Halloween, some neighborhoods and schools hosted weekend events as a way to let families safely celebrate the holiday.
At “Halloween on Catalpa” hosted by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, hundreds of ghosts, goblins and other characters stopped at spaced-out tents for candy and other goodies over the course of the six-hour event, including the Walzer family.
Halloween is second to only Christmas as the Walzer family’s favorite holiday. They originally planned to go to a friend’s house in the suburbs to trick-or-treat, but with cases on the rise, they opted to stay close to home.
“It doesn’t seem like a great idea right now,” said Jennifer Walzer, who lives in Rogers Park. “[We’re] probably not going to do traditional trick-or-treating... We might do a scavenger candy hunt instead.”
9:56 a.m. Surging COVID-19 numbers spark Election Day concerns for polling places
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A surge in coronavirus cases across the country, including in key presidential battleground states, is creating mounting health and logistical concerns for voters, poll workers and political parties ahead of Election Day.
In Iowa, where both presidential campaigns are competing feverishly, county officials said they were preparing for scores of confirmed or potentially infected people to vote curbside. It’s an option typically used by disabled people that must be available outside every polling place.
Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, in Cedar Rapids, encouraged people to cast their ballot but said they should take safety precautions at polling places to protect themselves and their neighbors.
“We can’t afford to have Election Day serve as a superspreading event across the state and country,” he said.
At a news conference this past week, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said his office had distributed 145,000 gloves, 200,000 masks and 11,000 social-distancing markers for use by voters and poll workers.
7:20 a.m. Obama: Trump failed to take pandemic, presidency seriously
FLINT, Mich. — Calling Joe Biden his “brother,” Barack Obama on Saturday accused Donald Trump of failing to take the coronavirus pandemic and the presidency seriously as Democrats leaned on America’s first Black president to energize Black voters in battleground Michigan on the final weekend of the 2020 campaign.
Obama, the 44th president, and Biden, his vice president who wants to be the 46th, held drive-in rallies in Flint and Detroit, predominantly Black cities where strong turnout will be essential to swing the longtime Democratic state to Biden’s column after Trump won it in 2016.
7 a.m. Pritzker on rising COVID-19 numbers: ‘Peak of this surge is still nowhere in sight’
An astounding 7,899 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 across Illinois, public health officials said Saturday, taking the state’s coronavirus resurgence to new heights for a third consecutive day and shattering the previous daily record for new cases by nearly 1,000.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced the latest dizzying numbers while reporting 46 more deaths have been attributed to the respiratory disease that’s tearing through states across the Midwest this fall.
More than 117,000 people contracted the virus across Illinois in October, accounting for more than a quarter of the 410,300 cases that have piled up over the last eight months.
October’s count surpassed all the cases logged in April and May combined, when the state rose and fell from its initial pandemic peak.
But the peak of this surge is still nowhere in sight.
“Every day we now see these numbers going through the roof,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday. “This is an extraordinarily dangerous time, and as a result, we must do everything in our power to keep down the infection rate. That means reminding everybody not to have parties in your home, to make sure that you’re keeping your bubbles small.”
- COVID-19 protocols will prevent Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence from playing vs. No. 4 Notre Dame.
- Illinois’ average coronavirus testing positivity rate reached its highest point in five months Friday as public health officials announced a second straight record-breaking day of 6,943 new infections statewide.
- The soaring tally came along with a record-high 95,111 tests submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health, raising the statewide average testing positivity rate over the last week to 7.3%.
Analysis & Commentary
7:15 a.m. Why Chicago couldn’t avoid the state’s indoor dining restrictions
For generations now, Chicago has had its own separate set of state laws for just about every topic under the sun. The city’s mayor is allowed to appoint the school board, Chicago has its own “working cash fund” law, the state’s mayoral veto law does not apply to the city and Chicago has a unique exemption allowing it to deduct money from worker paychecks.
From big to archaic, the list is almost endless.
So, when you’ve grown accustomed to doing it your own way for a century or so, you may start thinking you’re a special case in literally everything. And that seems to be what happened last week.