Virus death toll in Illinois rises to 26: COVID-19 March 26 updates

COVID-19 Pandemic

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 26, 2020.

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

A full list and explanation of the stay-at-home order and essential businesses is available here.

Newest updates are at the top of this post.

7:59 p.m.

Singer R. Kelly has cited the novel coronavirus in asking a federal judge to free him from a federal jail in Chicago as he awaits trial on child pornography and other charges.

A Thursday court filing by his lawyers saying scant precautions to stem the spread of the virus behind bars put Kelly’s life at risk. 

The filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago says sanitizer and even soap is hard to come by in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, with most of its 700 inmates held in small, two-man cells that make the kind of social distancing called for to thwart the transmission of COVID-19 impossible.

2:40 p.m.

Illinois health officials report 673 new cases of COVID-19 in the state bringing the total to 2,538. Total deaths are now 26.

1:20 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is set to give Hoosiers an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at 1:30 p.m.

12:25 pm

The Indianapolis 500 scheduled for May 24 has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic and won’t run on Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 1946. The race will instead be held Aug. 23.

12 pm

The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation is delivering food to the staff at Illinois Masonic and Lurie Children’s Hospital Thursday.

11:15 am

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle held a news conference Thursday to announce a financial relief package targeting Cook County businesses. 

9:56 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three more deaths from illness related to the coronavirus have been reported in Indiana, boosting the state’s total to 17 deaths as coronavirus cases rose to nearly 650 statewide amid the pandemic.

The Indiana State Department of Health said Thursday that Indiana’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 170 to 645 across the state late Wednesday, following corrections to the state’s previously reported total cases.

Meanwhile, officials at a medical center in the southern Indiana city of Seymour say 63 employees have been placed in quarantine after coming in contact with a patient who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

8:45 a.m.

Loyola University’s 100-year-old chaplain Sister Jean is offering a message of hope to students, staff and all March Madness fans.

“This is the strangest March Madness I have ever experienced,” said in a video released by the university.

She also wrote a prayer for the community. Watch it in the player below.

7:30 a.m.

The COVID-19 testing site for Chicago-area medical personnel and first responders (6959 Forest Preserve Drive) doesn’t open until 9 a.m. and there’s already a long line of cars waiting. First 250 people will be able to get tests.

6:25 a.m.

A staff member at Colin Powell Middle School in Matteson, Illinois recently tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Elementary School District 159. The employee remains in isolation at a local hospital. 

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