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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: State passes 10,000 known cases of COVID-19, with 1,453 new known cases and 33 additional deaths

With more than 1,400 new confirmations across the state, Illinois has now surpassed 10,000 known cases of COVID-19, the state’s public health director said Saturday.

Illinois saw 1,453 new cases and 33 deaths, Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. There now have been 243 deaths attributed to the new coronavirus, she said.

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Two of the dead appear to be Walmart workers at an Evergreen Park store. The store, near 95th Street and Western Avenue, remains open to customers but will undergo a deep cleaning, according to Walmart spokesman.

Here are the latest updates Saturday on the new coronavirus in the Chicago area and Illinois:

6:44 p.m.: Amid coronavirus outbreak, Wisconsin election still on for Tuesday despite stay home order and a massive poll worker shortage

Thousands of poll workers have said they won’t work. Hundreds of voting locations have been consolidated. Tens of thousands of requests for mail-in absentee ballots are backlogged.

Wisconsin’s voting system is teetering under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, but Tuesday’s election is still scheduled to go on as planned after Republican state legislative leaders on Saturday rejected the Democratic governor’s 11th hour call to postpone voting and a federal judge ruled against rescheduling it.Ballots will be cast even as Gov. Tony Evers has issued a “safer at home” order directing Wisconsinites only to venture outside for essential tasks such as seeking medical treatment, buying food and, apparently, voting.

“We are in an unprecedented moment, and the statutes and laws weren’t written with a situation like this in mind,” said Charles Franklin, a political science scholar and director of polling at the Marquette University Law School. “We have had a gigantic surge in request of absentee ballots — more than 1 million — and we have no idea at this moment how many of those will get sent out in time or how many people will show up in person on Tuesday to vote. This is uncharted water.”

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For the last decade, Wisconsin’s state government has been dominated by a bitter partisan divide, but for weeks Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Republicans in the state legislature had agreed on one thing – voters should head to the polls Tuesday.

That changed late Friday when Evers reversed course, saying he now opposed in-person voting on Tuesday and calling state lawmakers to Madison for an emergency legislative session late Saturday afternoon. The governor asked legislators to vote to shutter polling places, mail every voter in the state a ballot by May 19 and extend the deadline for local clerks to receive those ballots until May 26.

Evers’ proposal effectively would have delayed the election by more than a month.Republicans showed up on Saturday, gaveled the legislature into session and promptly refused to take up the governor’s proposal. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, slammed Evers for “flip-flopping” on the election, painting him as a “feckless” leader who “caves under political pressures from national liberal special interest groups.”

“Hundreds of thousands of workers are going to their jobs every day, serving in essential roles in our society,” the Republican leaders said in a statement. “There’s no question that an election is just as important as getting take-out food.”

One of the only recourses now left for Evers to block voters from crowding into a limited number of election sites on Tuesday would be to issue an emergency public health order to close all of Wisconsin’s polling places.

Barring any last minute changes, Wisconsin will soldier on at a time when 15 other states have either delayed their elections or switched them entirely to vote-by-mail with later deadlines. Read more here. — Bill Ruthhart

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6:26 p.m.: As Illinois surpasses 10,000 coronavirus cases, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago health commissioner urge residents to wear face masks outside their homes

Illinois now has recorded over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, a milestone in the pandemic that Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Saturday while estimating the spread of the disease will peak later this month.

The governor and Chicago’s health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, also called for people heading out of their homes to wear face masks as officials focus on slowing the virus.

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“If you’ve been to the grocery store lately at any time other than three in the morning, you’re running into a fair number of people,” Pritzker said at his daily briefing on the outbreak. “There’s no need to take any risks. And by wearing a mask when you go to the grocery store, for example, you’re really protecting all the other people that are there, as much as you’re protecting yourself. In fact, more so.”

During her daily online Q-and-A session, Arwady said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that people cover their faces while out in public is “just one additional piece” to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“With or without a mask, I do not want you out,” Arwady said.

Arwady reminded residents that the CDC has asked people to use “cloth face coverings,” such as a scarf.

With more than 1,400 new confirmations across the state, Illinois has now surpassed 10,000 known cases of COVID-19, the state’s public health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Saturday. Illinois reported 1,453 new cases and 33 deaths on Saturday, Ezike said Saturday.

The new additions bring the total number of known coronavirus cases to 10,357 in 68 of Illinois’ 102 counties, Ezike said. There now have been 243 deaths attributed to the coronavirus, Ezike said.

There were 23 deaths in Cook County, three in Kane, two each in DuPage and Will and one each in Jackson, Kankakee and Lake Counties, the state health department reported. The age of those who died ranged from a Cook County man in his 20s to a DuPage County woman who was more than 100 years old, the department said.

“The number is sobering and reminds us that it’s critical that we all do our part,” Ezike said. “The more cases means the more hospitalizations. The more hospitalizations means more deaths.” — John Byrne, Madeline Buckley and Cecilia Reyes

5:38 p.m.: DuPage County cases surpass 600 with 19 deaths, including 2 more residents of nursing homes

Two more people with the novel coronavirus have died in DuPage County, both residents of long-term care facilities in Carol Stream, officials said Saturday.

That brings the county’s total death toll to 19, 13 of which are associated with outbreaks at care facilities.

Of the two new deaths, one was a woman who was more than 100 years old, according to a press release from the DuPage County Health Department. The other was a man in his 70s. Both had underlying conditions.

DuPage County on Saturday reported 111 new cases of the viral infection since the day before, bringing the county’s total to 606, according to a press release from the DuPage County Health Department.

More than 10% of DuPage County’s total diagnosed COVID-19 cases are associated with outbreaks at at least eight long-term care facilities.

A total of 51 residents and staff have been sickened at the Chateau Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook, according to the health department. Another 25 cases are attributed to outbreaks at seven other long-term care facilities, the department said. — Madeline Buckley

2:40 p.m.: Illinois surpasses 10,000 known coronavirus cases: state public health director

With more than 1,400 new confirmations across the state, Illinois has now surpassed 10,000 known cases of COVID-19, the state’s public health director said Saturday.

Illinois saw 1,453 new cases and 33 deaths, Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Saturday. There now have been 243 deaths attributed to the new coronavirus, Ezike said.

“The number is sobering and reminds us that it’s critical that we all do our part,” Ezike said. “The more cases means the more hospitalizations. The more hospitalizations means more deaths.”

12:59 p.m.: Chicago health chief says pets don’t seem to transmit virus, but be careful anyway

Chicago’s health chief on Saturday said pets don’t seem to be significant carriers and spreaders of the coronavirus, but urged people to keep their hands clean when touching animals or their toys or food.

In her daily online Q-and-A, Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said there have been isolated cases of pets that tested positive for COVID-19, in a few dogs in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium. But by and large, “among all the other kinds of animals they’ve tested, they’ve not really seen it, and again, not thought to be a significant source of spread.”

So recommendations for dealing with household pets are much like the recommendations for living life during the pandemic, according to Arwady. “If you’re healthy, you can interact with your animals in the way you normally would,” she said. “But please, lots of hand washing. Hand washing before and after, hand washing what your pets are eating. Everybody needs to be paying more attention to hygiene, broadly.”

Still, as scientists try to learn more about the disease that’s sweeping the globe, Arwady said sick people should probably try not to be all up in their pets’ faces.

“If someone is sick, if possible, abundance of caution, to try to be not getting up close and personal with your pet at that time,” she said. “If someone else is able — not be kissing and up close, if someone else is available to feed it in that time. Again, it’s more just to be cautious as we learn more about the virus.” —John Byrne

12:25 p.m.: Chicago public health commissioner says cloth face coverings ‘a good idea’

Chicago Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the CDC’s recommendation that people cover their face while out in public is “just one additional piece” to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“With or without a mask, I do not want you out,” Arwady said, speaking to Chicagoans Saturday morning during her daily question and answer sessions through Facebook Live.

Arwady reminded residents that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked people to use “cloth face coverings,” such as a scarf.

Surgical masks and N95 respirators that are considered “critical supplies” should still be reserved for health care workers, she said. But other face coverings are OK, she said.

“I think its a good idea frankly, but I recognize not everyone has it yet,” she said, of using scarves or homemade cloth masks.

Arwady also said Chicago is starting to see the impact of the statewide stay at home order, but cautioned that the area has not yet reached its peak.

“We’re seeing the beginnings of some flattening,” she said. “We’re not as flat as we need to be yet.” — Madeline Buckley

10:10 a.m.: 2 employees at Walmart in Evergreen Park die after falling ill to the coronavirus

Two employees of a Walmart in Evergreen Park who were last in the store more than a week ago have died after contracting COVID-19, a Walmart representative confirmed Friday.

The store at 2500 W. 95th St., near Western Avenue, remains open to customers but will continue to undergo a deep cleaning, according to Walmart spokesman Payton McCormick.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store and we are mourning along with their families,” McCormick said in a statement. “While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a thorough deep cleaning of a key area of the store.”

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He stated the Evergreen Park store had passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment, and a health department inspection within the past week.

The company also is bringing in an outside company to further clean and sanitize the store, McCormick stated.

“We will continue to assess the situation and take additional steps as needed,” he said. —Frank Vaisvilas

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Friday, April 3

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Wednesday, April 1

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Tuesday, March 31

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