Stories by kristen thometz

As State Reports Most Daily COVID-19 Deaths Since June, Officials Discuss Vaccine Rollout

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 at the state’s daily COVID-19 press briefing. (WTTW News)

State health officials on Wednesday reported 69 coronavirus-related deaths – the highest number in a single day since June, when Illinois was coming off its initial peak in COVID-19 infections.

Restricted Visitor Policies at Hospitals Lead to Creative Solutions in Patient Care

Planning to visit a patient in the hospital? Check first.

(WTTW News)

Like everything else in the era of COVID-19, visiting a friend or family member in the hospital has changed. Here’s what you can expect.

COVID-19 Restrictions Return to Chicago’s South, Western Suburbs

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update on the coronavirus in Illinois on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (WTTW News)

Starting Friday, indoor service at bars and restaurants will halt in DuPage, Kane, Kankakee and Will counties due to rising coronavirus positivity rates. But Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he is ruling out another stay-at-home order at this time.

Officials Again Urge Residents to Wear Masks as State Moves in ‘Wrong Direction’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 on the spread of the coronavirus in the state. (WTTW News)

With confirmed coronavirus cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths rising statewide, Gov. J.B. Pritzker pleaded with residents to wear a mask. “It takes care of most transmission issues that we have,” he said. 

Holidays During COVID-19: Officials Issue Guidelines for Safer Celebrations

(Image by vivienviv0 from Pixabay)

With the holidays fast approaching and positivity rates rising throughout the state, health officials released guidelines to help families celebrate safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Illinois Surpasses 9,000 Coronavirus-Related Deaths

A pedestrian walks along a tree-lined street in Chicago on Oct. 12, 2020. As fall arrives, the state is entering its ninth month of a pandemic that has infected nearly 325,000 Illinois residents. (WTTW News)

Health officials on Tuesday reported 29 new coronavirus-related deaths in Illinois, bringing the statewide death toll to 9,026 since the first virus-related death was reported on March 17.

As Illinois Surpasses 6M COVID-19 Tests, Pritzker Says ‘Progress Has Cooled Off’

(WTTW News)

Illinois hit a milestone Wednesday in its battle against the coronavirus, surpassing 6 million tests. But Gov. J.B. Pritzker said regional positivity rates are no longer showing the “promising declines” he touted a week earlier.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Candidates Ranked by 3 Bar Associations

(WTTW News)

To help navigate the options, three local bar associations have screened and ranked each candidate. Here are their recommendations. 

Officials Release Halloween Guidance as Illinois Reports 2,273 New COVID-19 Cases

(Anne & Saturnino Miranda / Pixabay)

Trick-or-treaters and those passing out candy should maintain 6 feet of social distance and wear face coverings. Costume masks are not a substitute for cloth masks, according to guidance released by state health officials.

University Libraries, State Museum Want Your COVID-19 Stories

(Dean Moriarty / Pixabay)

Share your experiences through written stories, art, videos and more. “This is a case where if you save it, I’m happy to receive it,” said Eileen Ielmini of the University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center.

Halloween, Holidays May Look Different This Year, But There Are Safe Ways to Celebrate

“We are not canceling Halloween,” said Dr. Allison Arwardy, Chicago’s top doctor.

(Pexels / Pixabay)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines Tuesday to help people understand the potential risks associated with common fall and winter traditions, like trick-or-treating and holiday travel.

COVID-19 Positivity Rates Declining in Most of State, But Rising in Rockford Area

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update on the coronavirus on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker provided an update on the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois on Wednesday, touting the state’s success with testing for the virus — and noting one particular geographic area that’s at risk of tighter restrictions.

6 Chicagoans Infected with West Nile Virus Mark City’s 1st Cases This Year

(FotoshopTofs / Pixabay)

Chicago has reported its first cases of West Nile virus this year. Earlier this month, a DuPage County woman became the first known person in Illinois to contract the virus, which is transmitted through mosquito bites.

Preckwinkle Urges Residents to Register, Vote in ‘Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes’

(WTTW News)

“If you’re not registered to vote, it’s not too late,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday as she urged people to participate in the November election.

What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Testing

(WTTW News)

Who can get a test? Where can you get one? And how much do tests costs? Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus testing in Illinois.

COVID-19 Risk for Daily Activities Rated by Illinois Physicians

(WTTW News)

Going to a bar. Dining at a restaurant. Sending children to school. What’s the risk of these activities in terms of COVID-19 exposure? In a new survey, more than 100 physicians weigh in.

Pritzker: ‘We’ve Reached a Critical Juncture For Our Own State Finances’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks about the need for the federal government to provide relief to state and local governments impacted by the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday warned of looming cuts to state government, including potential layoffs, without help from the federal government.

Durbin Raises COVID-19 Testing Concerns, Shortfalls in Letter to HHS

(WTTW News)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is raising concerns about coronavirus testing at the nation’s schools, colleges and universities in the wake of incidents in which he says the federal government “commandeered” supplies.

Pritzker Pushes Residents to Complete Census: ‘We Have 21 Days Remaining’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks Wednesday, Sept., 9, 2020 at a press conference in Decatur, urging residents to fill out the 2020 Census. (Gov. J.B. Pritzker / Twitter)

A census undercount of just 1% in Illinois could result in the loss of $195 million in federal funds, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday as he urged residents to participate in the once-a-decade count.

Pritzker: No Set Date for Phase 5 of Reopening Plan

People wearing face masks walk along a street in downtown Chicago on Sept. 2, 2020. (WTTW News)

With the race for a vaccine underway and President Donald Trump claiming one could be available before the November election, Gov. J.B. Pritzker reiterated Wednesday that safety would guide the state’s reopening.

DuPage Resident Marks 1st Case of West Nile Virus in Illinois This Year

(FotoshopTofs / Pixabay)

With people spending more time outdoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the state’s top doctor is urging people to protect themselves from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

More than $31M Distributed by Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund

Gov. J.B. Pritzker talks Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 about the final round of funding distributed by the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. (WTTW News)

More than 1,650 organizations throughout the state have received grants through the fund, which distributed $7.5 million in its final round of funding to organizations primarily serving Black and Latino communities.

Preckwinkle Urges Municipalities to Apply for ‘Use It or Lose It’ COVID-19 Funds

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 at a press conference in Oak Lawn. (Toni Preckwinkle / Facebook)

Cook County officials are urging suburban municipalities to apply for $51 million in CARES Act funds before the Sept. 30 deadline. “This is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition,” said Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

IDPH Reports 5,368 Cases After Resolving Backlog of COVID-19 Tests

(WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported thousands of new cases of the coronavirus after fixing an issue that affected the reporting of tests and created a backlog, which has now been cleared.

Pritzker Announces New Statewide Policy on Face Masks for Restaurant, Bar Patrons

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Starting Wednesday, people visiting bars and restaurants in Illinois will be required to wear face coverings during all of their interactions with staff, whether they are sitting indoors or outdoors, according to a new policy.

UIC Launches Clinical Trial for COVID-19 Vaccine

(Angelo Esslinger / Pixabay)

A handful of Chicago residents became the first in the city to participate in a national clinical trial to test a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the University of Illinois at Chicago launched its study on Monday.