Stories by Kristen Thometz

Pritzker Slams Federal Government, Touts Illinois’ Efforts to Acquire Protective Gear

Officials urge people to stay inside, attend virtual religious services

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces the first novel coronavirus death in Illinois on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Illinois has only received a fraction of the personal protective equipment it requested from the federal government. “It’s our own state procurement initiative that’s making a difference” in the fight against COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday.

It’s Official: Chicagoan Jenny Doan Sets New World Record for Hula-Hooping

Wicker Park resident Jenny Doan poses for a picture Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, as she nears the end of her Guinness World Record attempt for longest marathon hula-hooping session. (Kristen Thometz / WTTW News)

The Wicker Park resident hula hooped for 100 hours last fall, hoping to set a new world record and raising nearly $5,000 for the nonprofit Mental Health America along the way. “It’s a big relief,” the 29-year-old said.

Chicago Athletes, Lightfoot Urge Folks to Stay Home: ‘We Are Not Playing’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot teams up with the city’s professional sports teams to launch a new campaign, “We Are Not Playing,” to encourage residents to stay at home. Lightfoot announced the new campaign Monday in an empty Soldier Field. (Chicago Mayor’s Office / Facebook photo)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is joining forces with the city’s professional sports teams to encourage people to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “They’re not playing and neither are we,” Lightfoot said. 

Pritzker Launches ‘All in Illinois’ Initiative to Encourage Folks to Stay Home

A quiet lakefront in Chicago on March 26, 2020. (WTTW News)

With COVID-19 cases rising in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he has taken every action possible to stop the spread of the virus. “Now the rest is up to you,” he said Thursday afternoon.

Grocery Shopping Tips in the Age of COVID-19

(Ben Schumin / Flickr)

How much food should you be buying per trip? How to draw the line between hoarding and stocking up? A Chicago dietitian shares her advice for grocery shopping during the pandemic.

21-Year Chicago Police Veteran Dies of COVID-19

Chicago police Officer Marco DiFranco (Chicago Police Department)

Officer Marco DiFranco, 50, has died of the novel coronavirus, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck announced Thursday.

Pritzker: Consider Illinois’ Future and ‘Take 10 Minutes’ for Census

Governor, Chicago mayor also announce arts relief fund

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a shelter-in-place rule to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, during a news conference Friday, March 20, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Amid a global pandemic that has grown to include 6,980 cases in Illinois and 141 deaths, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling on Illinois residents to think about the future on National Census Day.

Pritzker Extends Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Order to April 30

Empty benches in Logan Square on March 24, 2020. (WTTW News)

The expected three-week extension of the governor’s order mirrors a move Sunday by President Donald Trump to lengthen social distancing guidelines to April 30. Illinois now has 5,994 COVID-19 cases, and 99 deaths.

Preckwinkle: Cook County Jail is a ‘Petri Dish’ for COVID-19

(WTTW News)

More than 150 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Cook County Jail. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the situation poses the “biggest health problem in the county.”

McCormick Place to Be Transformed into 3,000-Bed COVID-19 Care Center

McCormick Place in Chicago (Courtney McGough / Flickr)

A portion of the convention center will become an alternate care center for patients with mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Chicago Animal Shelters Take Adoptions Online During Pandemic

Adler goes for a walk. (Courtesy of PAWS Chicago)

Animal shelters are offering innovative ways to adopt pets during the statewide stay-at-home order. We reach out to two Chicago shelters to find out how the pandemic is changing their operations – but not their missions.

Pritzker Calls on Health Care Workers to Sign Up for Emergency Alert System

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

There are 3,026 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, officials said Friday, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker is urging licensed health care professionals to join an alert system for urgent needs. “Your fellow Illinoisans need you. Your state needs you,” he said.

Pritzker Announces COVID-19 Relief Fund as Cases Soar to 2,538

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Illinois health officials on Thursday reported the largest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases in the state – 673 – surpassing a record set just a day earlier.

Pritzker Moves Illinois Tax Deadline to July 15 to Alleviate COVID-19 Burden

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces a shelter-in-place rule to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, during a news conference Friday, March 20, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

In a move aimed at softening the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, Illinoisans will have an additional three months to file their state taxes. Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the announcement as the state reported it’s largest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases.

Here’s What to Do if You Think You Have Coronavirus, Even if You’re Uninsured

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

People without health insurance can receive care if they think they have the novel coronavirus, and no patient will be turned away because of inability to pay, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Pritzker Outlines Worst-Case Scenario as COVID-19 Cases Reach 1,535

(Silas Camargo Silão / Pixabay)

While the number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois is rising, hospitals across the state are meeting the demand for beds and ventilators. But on Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined what could have happened without preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Pritzker Launches Task Force to Secure Medical Supplies as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Dr. Stephen Anderson, a physician who works in the Emergency Department at the MultiCare Auburn Medical Center in Auburn, Wash., wears a mask and face shield as he poses for a photo before starting his shift, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Auburn, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has launched a task force to ramp up production of personal protective equipment, or PPE. Meanwhile, cases in Illinois grew Monday to a total of 1,285, with 12 deaths. 

Gov. Pritzker Issues Stay-at-Home Order through April 7 as COVID-19 Cases Climb

Gov. J.B. Pritkzer announces the closure of all Illinois schools during an update on the coronavirus on Friday, March 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered Illinois residents to stay home as the number of novel coronavirus cases in the state climbed to 585 on Friday.

Illinois Health Officials Project 3,400 COVID-19 Cases by End of Next Week

This image from a transmission electron microscopic image shows a sample from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. The spherical viral particles, colored blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. (Image provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

If trends continue, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Illinois could reach 3,400 by next Friday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

COVID-19 in Illinois: 3 More Dead, Cases Soar to 422

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Three more people have died from the novel coronavirus in Illinois, where the number of people who have tested positive for the illness now stands at 422 across 22 counties, state officials said Thursday.

10 More Things to Do (at Home) This Weekend

(Shedd Aquarium / Facebook)

Adventurous penguins, art exhibits, live concerts, and plenty of podcasts – you don’t have to go out (and risk getting sick) to have a fun-filled weekend. Here are 10 things you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Lightfoot Orders All Sick Residents to Stay Home to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash)

For weeks, people have been told to stay home if they are sick. Now, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health are issuing a public health order making that a requirement.

128 More Test Positive for Coronavirus in Illinois, Bringing Total Cases to 288

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

State officials on Wednesday announced the largest single-day jump in the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Illinois. The total now stands at 288 positive tests for the virus across 17 counties in the state.

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Expects COVID-19 Cases to Rise

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

As of Tuesday, 63 of the 160 people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in Illinois are Chicago residents, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. We get the latest from CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

Pritzker Announces 1st COVID-19 Death in Illinois, Slams Federal Government

This image from a transmission electron microscopic image shows a sample from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. The spherical viral particles, colored blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. (Image provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A Chicago woman in her 60s marks the first reported death in Illinois related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the death Tuesday, as confirmed cases across the state grew to 160.