COVID-19 pandemic updates for April 8: Drive-thru testing site opens at NW Indiana High School

Coronavirus

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 April 8, 2020.

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

Newest updates are at the top of this post.

12 p.m.

A drive-thru coronavirus testing site opened Wednesday morning at Merrillville High School in Northwest Indiana. Testing will be done from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Saturday this week. The clinic is reserved for health care workers, first responders and other essential workers who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Lake County has Indiana’s second highest number of confirmed cases. The state’s death toll has passed 200.

10:20 a.m.

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced Wednesday the first-ever service delivery model for Early Intervention (EI) services through live video visits. Families will now be able to receive services through video for their infants or toddlers with disabilities or delays. Early Intervention services include help with movement, learning, interacting, behavior, and self-help skills. Families can access EI services through the IDHS website.

9:45 a.m.

A Metra employee has died from COVID-19.

Metra has released the following statement in regards to his death:

All of us in the Metra family are shocked and deeply saddened by the death Monday evening of Alan Buchko, 45, a valued employee of Metra’s Engineering Department since 1999 and one of a number of men and women who have been working on the front lines and behind the scenes to keep the Metra system running and operational for essential workers during this crisis. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.

Metra spokesperson

9:05 a.m.

Indiana has surpassed 200 deaths from COVID-19, health officials announced Wednesday.

Gov. Eric Holcomb will hold his daily news conference at 1:30 p.m. CT. You can watch the stream, courtesy of our sister station WANE-TV, here.

8:45 a.m.

Americans could start seeing stimulus payments in their bank accounts in the next week or so.

President Donald Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow says the checks will start going out later this week or the beginning of next week.

Those who have already provided their direct deposit information and have filed their 2018 or 2019 tax returns will be paid first.

If the government doesn’t have your direct deposit information, you’ll get a check in the mail instead.

FAQs about stimulus checks here.

8 a.m.

Chicago’s north and southwest suburbs have the lowest percentages of available intensive care unit beds in Illinois.

New data from the governor’s office found that in the north suburbs, just 16% of its total ICU beds were available. In the southwest suburbs, only 20% of ICU beds were available.

Chicago has 24 percent of its beds open.

The northwest suburbs has the highest number, with more than half of its ICU beds available.

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