Coronavirus Spikes At Illinois Colleges; Pritzker Hosts Memorial

ILLINOIS — Parties, gatherings and “irresponsible and dangerous” behavior has led to a spike of nearly 800 coronavirus cases on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, school officials said, and the university is cracking down.

On Wednesday, the university announced 780 new coronavirus cases on the campus, the Chicago Tribune reported. The campus is now implementing mandatory testing twice a week for all students.

“The irresponsible, and I might add dangerous, actions of a small number of our students has created the very real possibility of ending an in-person semester for all of us here at Illinois,” Chancellor Robert Jones said during a news conference, echoing a message sent to students on Wednesday afternoon.

The university’s response has been to restrict activities on the campus, notifying students that “The university expects all undergraduate students to significantly restrict in-person activities until Wednesday, Sept. 16.” A notice to students went on, “To break the cycle, for the next two weeks the university is intensifying discipline efforts and swiftly removing individuals who have created this risk for the campus and the community.”

Students are to only leave their residences for essential activities, including taking twice-weekly coronavirus tests, buying groceries or food, attending classes, work, religious services, to seek medical attention or to engage in outdoor activity. The restrictions prompted some backlash from students, including one who called students “hostages” and said the measures are “#straightouttaOrwell.”

Illinois State University in Normal is also reporting that about 5 percent of students, or around 1,025, have tested positive since the start of the fall semester two weeks ago.

In Chicago, a coronavirus outbreak was also reported after a pool party attended mostly by high school students, which so far has infected 13 party guests and six other people who were not at the party, Block Club reported.

Pritzker to host memorial

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday announced that he and Chicago faith leaders will host a memorial for the more than 8,000 Illinois residents who have lost their lives to the coronavirus.

The event is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago.

Where Illinois stands

As of Wednesday, 1,596 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state, including 347 in intensive care and 142 on ventilators, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Thirty Illinois counties remain at a “warning level” for a surge in infections, including Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Cook, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Jasper, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Madison, Monroe, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Sangamon, Shelby, St. Clair, Union, Warren, White, Will and Williamson.

See how your region is doing here.

The statewide positive-test rate is 4.5 percent. The number is a rolling, seven-day average and represents an increase of almost half a percentage point from Monday. In the past 24 hours, labs in Illinois have processed 32,751 coronavirus tests, for a total of more than 4.1 million since the pandemic began. According to Johns Hopkins University, a positivity rate of less than 5 percent is a good measure of whether enough tests are being conducted, and state officials have said a rate higher than 8 percent will trigger new restrictions in a given region.

The United States now has more than 6 million confirmed coronavirus infections, and at least 184,803 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Based on the latest predictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 196,000 to 207,000 Americans could be dead from the disease by Sept. 19.

Globally, more than 25.8 million people have been infected, and 858,436 are known to have died.

Illinois Coronavirus Helpline:

Illinois officials say a state helpline has been set up to provide emotional support and quick answers to questions about the coronavirus pandemic. Illinoisans can test “TALK” to 55-2020 (or “HABLAR” for Spanish), and within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor. Residents can also text keywords such as “UNEMPLOYMENT,” “FOOD” or “SHELTER” to the same number to receive additional information about those topics.

Here’s what’s happening with the coronavirus in Illinois:

Parents Overwhelmingly Want In-Person Classes: IL Patch Survey

“The kids are miserable,” one Illinois parent said.

Coronavirus Exposure At York High School: Official

District calls the latest development a setback. It also has a message for media and social media.

Governor Grudgingly Applies For $300 Trump Unemployment Benefit

Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressed grave concerns about problems with the program the president created this month via executive order.

Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria And Pub Closing In Lemont

The restaurant said the “impact of the coronavirus has us changing course.”

Uptown Accepts New Regulations, Says ‘Change Is The New Norm’

According to restaurant partner Crissa Barriball, Pritzker’s new regulations will help “businesses stay open in the long run.”

Mobile Coronavirus Testing Unit Coming To Aurora This Week

Tests are set to be available Wednesday at the Centennial House and on Friday at Maple Terrace.

Aurora Facing $25 Million Deficit Due To Coronavirus: Officials

Though officials are projecting a large budget shortfall, Mayor Richard Irvin said there will be no coronavirus-related property tax hikes.

‘Mask-Free’ Policy At Coffee Shop Cues Warning From Health Dept.

The business has posted signs about its “mask-free environment,” warning customers to enter at their own risk amid the coronavirus pandemic.

University Won’t Allow Freshmen, Sophomores On Campus For Fall

Northwestern University officials announced a 10-percent tuition cut for all undergraduates while advising underclassmen to stay away from Evanston

Coronavirus by the numbers:

Illinois:

  • Total number of coronavirus cases: 238,643

  • Deaths: 8,091

  • People tested: 4,119,873

  • Recovered: Illinois does not provide exact numbers of recovered cases, but says the recovery rate is 95 percent.

Nationwide:

  • Total number of coronavirus cases: 6,117,725

  • Deaths: 185,782

  • People tested: 79,646,008

  • Recovered: 2,231,757

Global:

  • Total number of coronavirus cases: 26,072,551

  • Deaths: 863,933

  • People tested: No data available

  • Recovered: 17,332,234

Sources: Johns Hopkins University and IDPH

Tips from the CDC on dealing with coronavirus:

While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally recommends taking these actions to prevent the spread of viruses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

What to do if you’re sick:

Call head if you’re planning to visit your doctor:

  • If you have a medical appointment, call the health care provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Stay home unless you must see a doctor:

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.

  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home:

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

  • Limit contact with pets and animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just as you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.

Avoid sharing personal household items:

  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Masks:

  • CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

  • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

  • Face mask instructions — sew- and no-sew masks

To donate personal protective equipment (PPE), email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the state coronavirus hotline at 800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

This article originally appeared on the Across Illinois Patch

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