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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Chicago Tribune

llinois health officials Monday reported 614 new known cases of COVID-19 and 6 additional confirmed fatalities, bringing the total number of known cases to 147,865 and the confirmed death toll to 7,026.

Also Monday, the city of Chicago announced it had fined five businesses on suspicion of violating social distancing rules aimed at curbing the coronavirus over the weekend and also shut down the operator of a Lake Michigan party boat.

Here’s what’s happening Tuesday regarding COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

10:10 a.m.: Cotillion group Links turns 60, but coming out has to wait until 2021 thanks to COVID-19

Twenty-one debutantes (14 high school seniors and seven juniors) spent a portion of their weekends from January until spring learning etiquette and things like how to waltz, how to tango, and how to curtsy. And when you add the young men who would be their escorts and backup escorts, that number more than doubles.

All the work was intended to lead to The Links Inc. Chicago chapter’s 60th annual Debutante Cotillion, a formal ball where the debutantes are presented to society with the support of their escorts, family and friends. But just like proms, graduations and other milestones for young people, coronavirus COVID-19 squashed this event.“The original cotillion date was April 25, but then we changed it to June 13, and then we changed it to the first weekend in August, and then we said this isn’t going to be accomplishable,” said 2020 Cotillion chair and The Links member Dr. Joy West. Originally scheduled to be held at the Fairmont Chicago under the theme of “Diamonds and Pearls,” the cotillion is now planned for May 1, 2021. “This was devastating for us, basically because of the families. The senior families in particular.” Read more here. —Darcel Rockett

10:05 a.m.: Historic Sandwich Fair, oldest in Illinois since 1888, canceled due to pandemic

The 133rd edition of the Sandwich Fair - one of the oldest fairs in Illinois - will not be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Sandwich Fair has been continuous since 1888 and we have never had to cancel until this year," Sandwich Fair Association Board President Larry Dannewitz said.

The Sandwich Fair will next be held Sept. 8 to 12, 2021, at the fairgrounds off Route 34 on the west side of Sandwich, officials said. Read more here. —Linda Girardi

9:50 a.m.: PPE supply appears to be running low; DuPage County says hospitals reusing gear

The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of

the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.

A national nursing union is concerned that gear has to be reused. A doctors association warns that physicians’ offices are closed because they cannot get masks and other supplies. And Democratic members of Congress are pushing the Trump administration to devise a national strategy to acquire and distribute gear in anticipation of the crisis worsening into the fall.

In a letter to Congress last week, the health department in Illinois’ DuPage County said all hospitals in the county are reusing protective gear “in ways that were not originally intended and are probably less safe than the optimal use of PPE.”

The DuPage County department is a supplier of last resort that steps in when facilities have less than two weeks’ worth of gear. As of Monday, it had only nine days of some supplies at the current request level. A rise in new infections could make the supply go much faster. Read more here. —The Associated Press

8:55 a.m.: BrightFarms to increase capacity at Rochelle greenhouse by 40% as pandemic fuels demand for locally grown produce

BrightFarms is boosting capacity at its Chicago-area greenhouse as the pandemic-driven rise in cooking at home fuels demand for locally grown greens.

BrightFarms’ Rochelle greenhouse, which annually supplies 1 million pounds of lettuce, spinach, arugula, basil and other greens to Mariano’s and other regional grocery stores, is increasing production by 40% by adding more hydroponic ponds to the two-acre facility, CEO Steve Platt said.

BrightFarms was seeing year-over-year sales growth of about 20% before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., but in March and April growth jumped to 40% as stay-at-home orders set in and customers flocked to grocery stores, Platt said. The at-home cooking trend has remained steady, with growth now leveled out above 30%.

”We’re seeing really great demand,” said Platt, whose company, based in Irvington, New York, has other greenhouses in Northern Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and is building one in North Carolina. “The pandemic has supercharged that.” Read more here. —Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

6:53 a.m.: ‘The Blues Brothers’ Wauconda beach to reopen after 30 years

Wauconda’s iconic beach seen in the “The Blues Brothers” movie is set to open after a $3 million renovation and a delay because of coronavirus.

After a prolonged wait due to the coronavirus pandemic, the northeastern Illinois beach is set to open to the public Wednesday, the Daily Herald reported. The initial grand opening was envisioned for Memorial Day weekend.

The beach, featured in the classic 1980 film "The Blues Brothers," was formerly a privately run attraction founded by the late Phil Froehlke in the 1920s.

Froelich's descendants closed the beach in 1990 due to rising insurance costs, but park district leaders preserved the site and took over when the family opted to sell in 2016.

The new Phil's Beach features a splash pad, a picnic pavilion, a concession stand, a bath house with changing rooms and showers, a boardwalk and other amenities. The iconic J-slide featured in the film will remain but only for photograph use.

Restrictions for the safety of customers will be set in place, including a capacity limit to 80 customers based on a first-come, first-served basis. Social distancing will be enforced and masks are recommended.. cAssociated Press

6 a.m.: COVID-19 cases are spiking in states across the country. How does Illinois compare?

Across the country, states have either delayed reopening or reimposed restrictions amid surges in COVID-19 cases that have begun packing hospitals.

Waiting on the sidelines, at least for now, is Illinois, where health officials are watching daily statistics uneasily as the state continues to allow its residents more freedom to travel, visit and shop.

Those statistics offer some good news for Illinoisans, at first blush: We’re far below peak case levels, and not even close to being as bad as the most struggling states. For example, Arizona’s rate of new cases, relative to the state’s population, is more than seven times Illinois'.

The bad news: Illinois’ big drops of late May and early June are history — and some daily metrics are increasing. As the state continues to uncover hundreds of new cases a day, at least one researcher said the state should consider adding more restrictions until it’s clear what’s going on. Read more here. —Joe Mahr, Jonathon Berlin

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Illinois records 1,467 new COVID-19 cases, 14 more deaths
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Cook County expanding community courts program
Sunday, August 02, 2020
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Saturday, August 01, 2020

Hang-ups, lies and wrong numbers: Contact tracers’ uphill fight against COVID-19
Friday, July 31, 2020
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County Board passes resolution to ‘redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services’
Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Cook County Board passes symbolic resolution to shift money from police, jails in wake of ‘defund’ movements
Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Cook County Board to vote on symbolic resolution to shift money from law enforcement in wake of ‘defund’ movements
Thursday, July 30, 2020
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Vacant For Decades, Old Cook County Hospital Transforms Into Hyatt Hotel
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Wednesday, July 29, 2020
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Second installment Cook County property tax deadline extended to Oct. 1 without penalty
Monday, July 27, 2020
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Evanston Main-Dempster Property Owners Let Loose About Tax Concerns in Meeting with Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi
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Crain's Daily Gist podcast: Illinois may never be the same after COVID-19
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The number of suicides among Black people in Cook County is sharply up this year
Saturday, July 25, 2020
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CountyCare CEO resigns
Saturday, July 25, 2020
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