Stories by kristen thometz

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.

Illinois Health Officials: 20 Counties at Warning Level for COVID-19

(WTTW News)

As the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,208 new cases of the coronavirus across the state Friday, it said 20 counties, including two in the Chicago area, have reached a warning level for the virus.

Safety Group: COVID-19 Likely to be the 3rd Leading Cause of Death in 2020

(cor gaasbeek / Pixabay)

With more than 170,000 coronavirus-related deaths so far reported in the U.S. in 2020, the virus is on pace to becoming the third leading cause of death this year, according to the National Safety Council.

State Extends Deadline to Apply for Rental Assistance

After last week’s powerful storms knocked out power for more than 750,000 residents, Illinoisans struggling pay their rent due to COVID-19 will now have until Aug. 28 to apply for state assistance. 

Illinois Health Officials Launch COVID-19 Travel Map

(ivabalk / Pixabay)

To help Illinois residents make informed decisions about travel, the Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday launched a COVID-19 travel map, which indicates states and countries with increased risk based on COVID-19 case rates.

Health Care Workers Hit the Streets to Volunteer Their Time, Care During Protests

Health care workers volunteering as street medics set up a first aid tent during a rally held June 6, 2020 in Union Park. (Courtesy Dakota Lane)

As protests and rallies sprung up across the U.S. in the wake of George Floyd’s death, health care workers showed their support for the movement by volunteering as street medics to treat protesters. 

2,264 New COVID-19 Cases in Illinois, 25 Additional Deaths

(WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 2,264 new coronavirus cases and said 14 counties have reached a warning level for the virus.

$46M in Grants Awarded to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 that $46 million in grants have been awarded to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. (WTTW News)

Grants of $10,000 to $20,000 have been awarded to more than 2,600 small businesses throughout the state that have experienced financial loss or disruptions as a result of coronavirus-related closures.

Study: Electric Cooker Sanitizes N95 Masks

(Credit: Chamteut Oh / University of Illinois)

With limited supplies of critical protective equipment, University of Illinois researchers have found a new way to decontaminate N95 masks using a common kitchen appliance. 

Pritzker Anticipates ‘Tremendous Need’ as Application Period Opens for Rental Assistance

Governor says he will lobby federal government for additional funds

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

The state is providing $300 million in assistance to renters and homeowners struggling to meet ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic, but those funds won’t reach everyone who deserves help, Gov. J.B. Pritzker acknowledged.

Preckwinkle: 2020 on Pace to be Worst Year for Suicides in Black Community in a Decade

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle talks about the rise in deaths by suicide in the Black community at a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (Toni Preckwinkle / Facebook)

More African Americans in Cook County have died by suicide this year than during all of 2019, with a notable increase among young people, according to county officials. “This is horrifying,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Advocates Host Virtual Vigil to Honor Slain Homeless Man, Demand Housing Resources

A virtual candlelight vigil is held Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 for Aaron Curry, who was killed in July while living in Grant Park. Advocates for homeless individuals are calling on the city to dedicate additional resources to housing. (WTTW News screenshot via Zoom)

Advocates hosted a virtual candlelight vigil Wednesday morning to honor Aaron Curry, who was killed last month while living in Grant Park, and to call on the city of Chicago to dedicate an additional $100 million annually to housing resources. 

Pritzker: Without Local Action to Stop COVID-19 Spread, More Restrictions Could Come

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 about the coronavirus and implores local officials to take action to stop the virus from spreading in their communities. (WTTW News)

With coronavirus cases rising, Gov. J.B. Pritzker implored local officials to take action to stop the spread of the virus and warned if they don’t, more stringent regulations could be on the way, including another stay-at-home order. 

Pritzker: COVID-19 Pandemic is Now Worse in Carbondale Than Chicago

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives an update Tuesday, Aug, 4, 2020 on the coronavirus in Carbondale. (WTTW News)

When the coronavirus pandemic struck Illinois in the spring, Cook County was hit hard while areas downstate were largely spared. But that’s changing. “We’re seeing troubling signs,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday.

Rising Number of COVID-19 Cases Prompts New Cook County Guidelines

(JamesDeMers / Pixabay)

In an effort to curb COVID-19 infections, the Cook County Department of Public Health is asking bars, breweries and taverns that do not serve food to only serve customers outside.

Pritzker Launches $5M Face Mask Campaign: ‘It Only Works If You Wear It’

People wearing masks line up for a food drive in Brighton Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side on April 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

Despite a statewide mandate, not all residents are wearing masks. A new campaign aims to encourage folks to do just that. “A mask is like anything that keeps us safe. It only works if you wear it,” the governor said.

Returning to Work? Here’s How to Prepare Your Pets for Alone Time

(Michael Siebert / Pixabay)

The coronavirus has upended daily routines around the globe, but it’s not just humans who have been impacted. Our pets have grown accustomed to us being home around the clock.