COVID-19 Pandemic March 18 updates: 2 suburban ER doctors test positive

COVID-19 Pandemic

CHICAGO — Information in the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly, so to help keep WGN viewers informed with the latest updates, follow our live blog for March 18, 2020.

These updates will mostly focus on the Chicago area, but will include some national and international news as well.

Newest details will be at the top.

9:20 p.m. Two emergency room physicians at Rush Oak Park Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. They have been quarantined at home and the virus was “likely community acquired,” according to the hospital.

The hospital said one physician had not been seeing patients for several days prior, when he would have been contagious.

“The other may have had patient and peer contact and we are assessing the overall risk of exposure, working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and advising patients and peers as appropriate,” a statement from the hospital said.

8:58 p.m. – Chicago Animal Care and Control can only be accessed by appointment until further notice. To make an appointment email The organization is asking anyone who is available to foster or adopt a pet to reach out.

6:08 p.m. – Residents in suburban Oak Park were urged to voluntarily shelter in place after the village reported its first case of COVID-19. Oak Park’s mayor declared a local state of emergency and urged residents to stay at home.

5:51 p.m. – Brookfield Zoo will close to the public starting Thursday. The closure will last until April 30.

5:21 p.m. – An additional 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a DuPage County nursing home, bringing the total to 42.

2:49 p.m. – Illinois health officials announce 128 new cases of COVID-19. There are now 288 cases of novel coronavirus in 17 counties across the state. More info here.

2:34 p.m. – Simon Property Group, owner of Woodfield Mall, Orland Square Mall, Gurnee Mills and Premium Outlets in Aurora, announces it closing all shopping centers at 7pm tonight through March 29.

2:10 p.m. City of Chicago to stop issuing parking tickets and collecting debts until at least April 30.

Meanwhile in Evanston, there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Three Crowns Park retirement community.

2:05 p.m. – The U.S. Census Bureau has suspended field operations for two weeks, citing the health and safety of its workers and the U.S. public from the novel coronavirus, the Associated Press reports.

1:33 p.m. – Loyola University is delaying its commencement ceremonies. Specific details weren’t provided, but the Office of the President said the ceremonies will be held later than usual and may be in a different format than previous years. Commencement activities were previously scheduled May 4-9.

1:21 p.m. – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will hold a “State of the City” address on COVID-19 at 5 p.m. Thursday. WGN-TV will carry it live on the air and on

1:05 p.m. – President Donald Trump on Wednesday moved to invoke a federal law that allows the government to marshal the private sector to fight the coronavirus epidemic, as the economic damage mounted with word that Detroit’s Big Three automakers agreed to shut down all their factories to protect workers. More here.

12:35 p.m. – The Blackhawks Foundation is chipping in to raise money for the city of Chicago. The charity has launched a donation-matching campaign to benefit Chicago Community COVID- 19 Response Fund. They’ll match the first $100,000 in individual donations. Go to to make a contribution.

11:48 a.m. – President Donald Trump also says the Department Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.

11:45 a.m. – A staff member at north suburban Libertyville High School tested positive for COVID-19. The district superintendent says this is the first confirmed case of a district employee. Libertyville high school closed Monday. As of Tuesday, eight cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Lake County.

11:35 a.m. – Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed an emergency declaration to help the movement of supplies. Vehicles can get free overweight trucking permits starting April 12.

11:15 a.m. – A Chicago City Hall worker tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials said they do not believe the employee contracted the virus at work.

Any individuals who had close contact with the individual has been required to self-quarantine as a precaution.

10:55 a.m. – Mariano’s hiring immediately for all positions at all locations. Individuals can apply here, or stop by a store location 10 AM to 4 PM, M-F, for an onsite interview.

10 a.m. – A DePaul University faculty member and a University of Chicago student have tested positive for COVID-19. More info here.


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