Illinois reports 1,740 new COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths as new restrictions take effect in St. Louis region

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials reported 1,740 new COVID-19 cases and 27 additional coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, as new state-imposed restrictions take effect in the region outside St. Louis.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 7-day positivity rate from August 11-17 ticked up to 4.3 percent. The rate has been near 4 percent since the end of July. The state also reported about 34,000 new tests performed in the past 24 hours, which is below the 7-day average of 41,000.

New coronavirus mitigation measures take effect in the Metro East region outside St. Louis Tuesday after the 7-day positivity rate there exceeded limits established in the Restore Illinois plan. The positivity rate in the region rose to 9.4 percent as of August 15, and remains above the 8 percent limit.

The restrictions include caps on gatherings to 25 people or 25 percent of room capacity, and other limits on bars and restaurants which close by 11 p.m. If the average positivity rate does not drop below 8 percent in the next 14 days, officials said additional restrictions would be put in place.

Here are the new restrictions now in place in the Metro East region.

Hospitalizations and hospital resources in Illinois remain within guidelines outlined by the state, with 1,510 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday night, including 335 in intensive care and 128 on ventilators.

As of Tuesday, 209,594 cases of COVID-19 and 7,782 coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed in Illinois. The state currently ranks 19th in the country in cases per 100,000 residents.

Indiana health officials reported 850 new cases of COVID-19 and 28 additional coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, the 7-day positivity rate there remains relatively stable at 7.8 percent.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security also announced a new effort to fight unemployment fraud Tuesday, as the state continues to see reports of people receiving a debit card from the state even though they never applied for unemployment.

Officials say anyone who receives a card but shouldn’t have should not use it, as its a sign their personal information may have been compromised in a data breach and they’re now being targeted for identity theft. Anyone who wrongly receives a card should report it online.

Illinois is also extending the deadline for renters to apply for Emergency Rental Assistance of $5,000 to August 28 after last week’s storms. Tenants who have seen their household income decline due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply online.

School started for students across Illinois Monday, although it looked vastly different. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, 980,000 students will be fully online, 528,000 will have a mixture of in-person and online instruction and 156,000 will receive their instruction fully in-person at the start of the school year.

In Chicago, Navy Pier will close on September 8 after Labor Day weekend, according to a statement from its president Tuesday. The iconic lakefront destination anticipates reopening in spring of 2021.

Chicago also removed Wisconsin and Nebraska from its emergency travel order which requires travelers entering or returning to Chicago to self-quarantine for 14 days Tuesday, while Iowa and Kansas were re-added to the list.

Across the U.S., COVID-19 cases in nursing homes jumped nearly 80 percent earlier this summer, driven by spread across the South and much of the West, according to an industry report.

The pandemic is also being blamed for shortages of all kinds of goods, from pepperoni to aluminum cans, as both pork processing plants and other factories reduce staffing to adapt to the pandemic.

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