Illinois governor issues guidance amid COVID-19 pandemic

Illinois leaders are mandating all large-scale gatherings with more than 1,000 people be canceled. The state suggests any gatherings of 250 people or more be postponed until May 1.

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 6:16 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 3:02 PM

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has issued new guidance for the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois leaders are mandating all large-scale gatherings with more than 1,000 people be canceled. The state suggests any gatherings of 250 people or more be postponed until May 1.

See the full statement below.

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Following CDC guidance and recommendations by local public health experts, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are issuing new guidance to residents to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). These new precautionary measures were developed with large events and gatherings in mind, and will promote social distancing practices – a key recommendation to prevent community spread of the disease with the least disruption possible to people’s daily lives.

“The guidance I am issuing today is for the entire state of Illinois. We have seen what works and what doesn’t work from other countries around the world – especially in the earliest days of community spread of this virus. Don’t be fooled into thinking your community is immune,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I am not going to hesitate to take the most aggressive measures possible to protect the people of our state. We need to reduce social contact in order to try and control the spread of the virus and prevent our medical infrastructure from dealing with too many cases at one time. We all have responsibilities to the most vulnerable among us and that means making sacrifices in the immediate term.”

“As we’ve said before, and as we will continue to say, the health and wellness of residents not only throughout the city, but also the entire state, is our top priority as we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and adjust our response plans accordingly,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This new guidance is not meant to elevate fear, but rather allow the City to prevent further spread throughout the community and safeguard the health and wellness of the general public, and we will continue to review and amend these protocols and procedures as the situation evolves.”

Specifically, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago are issuing the following guidance:

COMMUNITY EVENTS
The State and City are mandating all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be cancelled for the next 30 days. The City of Chicago will be enforcing this ban.
Additionally, the State and the City are encouraging that community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events. Residents should use good judgment about canceling events in their own communities.
For events less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider canceling.
All major sporting events with large spectator crowds should be cancelled until May 1. This should include school and college events as well as major league sporting events. The Governor has spoken with the owners of all the major sports teams in Illinois and they are in full support of these measures to protect the health of their fans and will cancel all games until May 1.

SCHOOLS
At this time, the City and the State do not recommend that school be cancelled. While schools will remain open, local jurisdictions should develop their own local guidance.
The State of Illinois is working closely with school districts around the state on their own guidance and policies, and currently recommends schools do not hold large assemblies, including sports with spectators exceeding 250 people. . While every school district is different, the State encourages school administrators and faculty to make responsible decisions, guided by recommendations from the CDC and the state, that are in the best interest of the health and safety of their students.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is issuing guidance for cancellation of events of 50 people or more and has cancelled sports. CPS will also restrict access to school buildings to essential personnel, and limit district-sanctioned trips beyond city limits.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system has collaborated with CDPH to issue its own unique guidance, which includes cancellation of events of 50 people or more and suspending sports until further notice. CPS will also restrict access to school buildings to essential personnel, and limit district-sanctioned trips beyond city limits.

GOVERNMENT
The Office of the Governor will remain open and operating, as we are fully committed to ensuring that the government will continue to serve the people of Illinois during this time.
The Office of the Governor is working closely with all state agencies to ensure essential services will continue to be provided, while taking steps to protect the health and safety of state workers.
The James R. Thompson Center will be closed to people who don’t have business with the state in the building for the foreseeable future, beginning Monday. The essential government functions that the people in this building perform will continue during this time.
City Hall will remain open, and there is no plan to cancel meetings of the City Council for the next week. However, the City is strongly recommending, in accordance with guidance from CDPH and the CDC, that residents view next week’s meeting via livestream instead of in-person to ensure City business moves forward safely and efficiently.

BUSINESSES AND WORKPLACES
The State encourages businesses across the state to take advantage of teleworking capabilities.
Every business that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so immediately.
For those who cannot, we encourage employers to take proper precautions to keep individuals safe in the workplace. This includes reminding staff to stay home when sick or with a fever; considering a plan for teleworking where feasible; remaining flexible on leave policies; and promoting robust mitigation approaches, such as hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer. The City is also developing an addendum to its sick leave policies, as well as guidance on teleworking for employees.

ELECTIONS
The election will proceed as scheduled on Tuesday, March 17. This is a fundamental function of government, and the state is committed to making sure the election proceeds with as little disruption as possible.
Local jurisdictions are encouraged to expand hours for early voting over the weekend to reduce the number of people who would need to vote on Election Day.
Voters who have not already submitted a vote by mail application can pick up a vote by mail ballot through Monday at their local election offices.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
The State and the City continue to focus outreach efforts for those most vulnerable to severe illness from the coronavirus, our elderly and immunocompromised residents.
Individuals who fall into these categories should take extra caution when attending gatherings of any size and avoid exposure to large groups of people whenever possible.
The state has implemented new staffing procedures and strict guidelines restricting visitors at state-operated long-term care facilities and is also working closely with private nursing home and assisted living associations on the adoption of similar guidelines.

“Although there is no evidence of spread in community across Illinois, we anticipate there will be,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Now is the time to implement aggressive strategies to limit introduction or spread of the virus in communities. This will mean small, and sometimes large sacrifices, but these strategies are vital for the health of our state and we ask for everyone’s help in protecting our most vulnerable populations.”

“I want to echo Mayor Lightfoot and reiterate the health and wellness of Chicagoans remains our top priority as we continue our robust response to the Coronavirus 2019 outbreak,” said Allison Arwady, M.D., Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “Our team has been working around the clock and communicating with health experts at every level to develop the proper response to address this constantly evolving situation. Most importantly we urge those in vulnerable populations to use additional caution and stay home whenever possible.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1183569

Reported Deaths: 22675
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4731949339
DuPage765421193
Will64803887
Lake59315919
Kane50595714
Winnebago28297438
Madison27896453
St. Clair25341466
McHenry24249265
Champaign18055124
Peoria16868262
Sangamon16094217
McLean14560157
Tazewell13490239
Rock Island13042286
Kankakee12468189
Kendall1101685
LaSalle10764219
Macon9432185
Vermilion8547115
DeKalb8241112
Adams7997114
Williamson6789119
Boone591971
Whiteside5917147
Clinton556689
Coles518491
Grundy510863
Knox5015131
Ogle500373
Jackson459860
Effingham449269
Macoupin434479
Henry432256
Marion4257111
Livingston418176
Franklin414265
Stephenson408575
Monroe405883
Jefferson3972115
Randolph395878
Woodford366360
Morgan358276
Montgomery348667
Lee334343
Logan330653
Bureau330073
Christian329767
Fayette306452
Perry304157
Fulton284344
Iroquois276960
Jersey249246
Douglas243432
McDonough231740
Lawrence229524
Saline229247
Union218436
Shelby213634
Crawford200522
Bond190224
Cass188222
Pike168750
Clark168129
Wayne166948
Hancock166829
Warren166444
Richland163538
Jo Daviess160522
White160125
Washington158023
Ford157945
Carroll157434
Edgar154237
Moultrie148722
Clay142941
Greene137631
Johnson134712
Piatt132114
Wabash129912
Mason127841
Mercer127733
De Witt127622
Massac126933
Cumberland119118
Jasper110617
Menard10348
Marshall83614
Hamilton78715
Schuyler6755
Pulaski6705
Brown6606
Stark54022
Edwards52310
Henderson49814
Calhoun4782
Scott4481
Alexander4478
Gallatin4364
Putnam4143
Hardin34412
Pope2823
Out of IL70
Unassigned02215

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433