Coronavirus Updates: Sunday, March 15


Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health has announced 29 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19. Five new counties are now reporting cases including Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Whiteside and Winnebago counties. This brings total cases in Illinois to 93 in 13 counties.

The Governor has also announced that all bars and restaurants in Illinois will close to the public at the end of business on Monday, March 16 through March 30. The state is working with restaurant owners and food delivery services to ensure that kitchens can safely remain open allowing for food delivery, drive-thru, and curbside pickup.

For general questions about COVID-19, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email


The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced 18 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, March 14 bringing the statewide total to 64. Among these are the first cases identified in central and southern Illinois. As IDPH begins to receive results from commercial laboratory testing, the agency expects the number of identified cases to increase and reminds the public to remain vigilant about taking preventative measures to avoid spreading the disease, including social distancing.

According to IDPH, the new cases include:

  • 1 in Woodford County
  • 1 in Cumberland County
  • 2 in St. Clair County
  • 1 in Dupage County
  • 7 in the City of Chicago
  • 4 in suburban Cook County
  • 1 in Kane
  • 1 in Lake

For information about how you, your school, workplace, and community can prepare, please visit Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email


On March 9, a disaster proclamation was issued in response to growing concerns surrounding the rapidly changing Coronavirus (COVID-19) health issue. Later in the week, additional guidance was issued to minimize the spread of the virus. These precautionary measures include a mandate that all events exceeding 1,000 people be canceled for the next 30 days, and a recommendation that events of 250 people or more should be canceled or postponed until May 1.

On Friday, the Governor announced that Illinois schools would close for two weeks to minimize COVID-19 spread. Under this precautionary measure, schools will close from March 17 through March 30.

As of March 13, there were 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois. The Senate Republican Caucus is urging residents to continue to be proactive in efforts to avoid the spread of the virus within Illinois communities. This is critical not just for vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those who are immunocompromised, but also for anyone who may come in contact with them.

A disaster proclamation will allow for the following:

  • Allows federal reimbursement for state response costs
  • Allows use of State Disaster Relief Fund, covering direct state costs and reimbursements to Illinois National Guard and mutual aid groups
  • Allows use of the state’s mutual aid network, groups of public safety response professionals — including hundreds of health care providers and management professionals, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and disaster response professionals — that are available to deploy to areas of shortage
  • Authorizes the Governor to activate Illinois National Guard reservists, some of whom may be doctors and nurses
  • Allows expedited procurement should it be necessary
  • Authorizes additional executive authorities to protect public health and safety


  • IDPH is working with state labs and hospital partners to increase testing capability.
  • The administration believes testing can be increased to ensure minimum levels of surveillance testing to monitor the spread of the virus.

Guidance for schools:

  • Schools will be closed from March 17 through March 30.
  • Schools that have a spring break that falls outside of this window have been told to move their spring break to fit within this timeframe.
  • The State Board of Education will be fully staffed during the closure period to provide support.
  • The State Board of Education has been granted a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide grab-and-go meals to students receiving free and reduced meals.

Guidance on community events and teleworking:

  • The State of Illinois and City of Chicago have mandated all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be canceled for the next 30 days.
  • Community This includes personal and social events. Residents should use good judgment about canceling events in their communities.
  • Residents should carefully consider who is likely to attend events of 250 people or more. If these attendees are likely to include vulnerable populations, strongly consider canceling.

Guidance for businesses:

  • The state is also encouragingbusinesses across the state to take advantage of teleworking capabilities.
  • Businesses that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so.
  • For businesses with employees that cannot work from home, it is important to remind staff to stay home if you’re sick or have a fever and to remain flexible on leave policies.
  • Employees should also promote robust mitigation approaches, such as hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer.

Economic measures:

  • Measures were announced to reduce the burden on families.
  • The Governor and Attorney general have urged the ICC to issue a moratorium on shutoffs for utility companies.
  • Governor is also asking utility companies to maintain services for Illinoisans, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • The administration is working with food banks to expand services.
  • Emergency rules have been signed to grant workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 access to unemployment benefits.

The CDC has some useful tips to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.


The Illinois Department of Public Health has established 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

Jil Tracy

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