COVID-19 pandemic updates for April 9: Death toll in Illinois now over 500

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 9, 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.

2:35 p.m.

IDPH is reporting a total of 16,422 cases, including 528 deaths, in 81 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. 

12:40 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Unemployment claims in Illinois jumped nearly 13% last week, with 201,041 new claims largely attributable to the spread of the coronavirus. The jump in Illinois, breaking a record set just a week earlier at 178,421, comes as new claims nationally dipped slightly, according to the Labor Department. State officials increased the number by 101 from an earlier federal estimate. Nationally, new claims totaled 6.6 million,  a dip of 3.8% from the previous week, the Labor Department said. The coronavirus prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to close “non-essential” businesses, starting with bars and restaurants, on March 21, putting tens of thousands of people out of work. 

12 p.m.

Two Illinois Air National Guard cargo planes arrived at Midway Airport Wednesday night, carrying critical supplies for McCormick Place. The 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria brought 250 negative pressurized tents to Chicago from Oregon.

The convention center is being turned into an alternate care facility in case hospital become overrun. Crews are working to increase hospital beds, from 500 to 3,000. Officials said by next week, they’ll have staffing and an on-site pharmacy in place, and could start admitting patients.

10:10 a.m.

The Chicago Park District is partnering with the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program to produce hand sanitizer to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among the District’s workforce and City first responders. The hand sanitizer will be used by Park District Staff and other professionals who continue to perform essential functions during the State of Illinois’ stay at home order.

9:55 a.m.

State health officials say 42 more Indiana residents have died from COVID-19, marking the largest single-day jump in the state’s death toll during the pandemic and pushing those deaths to 245. 

The 42 deaths reported Thursday were the largest number the Indiana State Department of Health has reported to date in its daily pandemic updates, trailed only by the 34 deaths it reported Tuesday.

The agency says the deaths it reports daily from the respiratory disease caused by the virus occurred over multiple days. Indiana had an additional 430 confirmed COVD-19 cases, increasing its total to 6,351 following corrections to the previous day’s total.

9:45 a.m.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will preside over the Archdiocese of Chicago’s online liturgies for Holy Week and Easter Sunday from Holy Name Cathedral. Fr. Ismael Sandoval and Fr. Marek Smolka will preside over the Spanish and Polish language Easter Sunday online Masses, respectively.

Holy Week and Easter Sunday Liturgy Schedule (Online)

All these liturgies can be viewed online any time after their original online broadcast.

9:10 a.m.

Walgreens said Thursday it is looking to fill thousands of jobs in the Chicago area to keep up with the growing demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Positions include full and part-time and temporary roles, including customer service associates, pharmacy technicians and shift leads.

8:50 a.m.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and limit operator-passenger interaction, Pace will implement a temporary “Quick Board, Safe Board” policy and waive fare collection on fixed route bus and ADA paratransit service beginning Thursday, April 9, and lasting the duration of the Governor’s Stay at Home order.

7:40 a.m.

Some changes are starting Thursday to help protect CTA bus riders and drivers.

The CTA is directing riders to board through the rear doors of its buses. Handicapped passengers will still use the front door equipped with a lift. Rides will be free on buses where the fare card readers haven’t yet been moved to the back doors.

Drivers will be allowed to stop picking up passengers once buses have 15 or more riders aboard. Longer accordian-style buses can carry 22.

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