COVID-19 pandemic March 21 updates: 6th Illinois virus death reported

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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 21, 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.

9:15 p.m.

A Loyola University student has tested positive for COVID-19.

8:30 p.m.

Officials announced that Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative for COVID-19. The two were tested Saturday after a staff member in Pence’s office tested positive for coronavirus this week.

7:45 p.m.

Gov. JB Pritzker has urged retired doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to “rejoin the fight” after 168 more cases of COVID-19 was reported Saturday in Illinois.

7:15 p.m.

An employee within the Aurora Police Department has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is expected to make a full recovery.

6:30 p.m.

WGN spoke with multiple healthcare workers on the front lines at Jackson Park Hospital who told us they do not feel safe due to the facility’s COVID-19 response.

5:00 p.m.

Gov. Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” went into effect through at least April 7. To see what will remain open, click here.

3:30 p.m.

The University of Illinois announced two employees at its Urbana-Champaign campus have tested positive for COVID-19.

2:30 p.m.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the sixth death and 168 new cases of COVID-19 in the state during his daily update Saturday.

Additionally, he called on former healthcare workers to rejoin the industry and for other healthcare workers, like dentists, to donate personal protective equipment to workers on the front lines.

The latest death in the state was a Cook County man in his 70s.

1:15 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he and his wife Karen would be tested for the coronavirus after a staff member in his office tested positivefor the virus this week.

“Given the unique position that I have as vice president and as the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, both I and my wife will be tested for the coronavirus later this afternoon,” Pence said during a news conference at the White House.

His office announced Friday that one of its members tested positive for the coronavirus — the closest confirmed case to Pence that is publicly known.

Pence told reporters Saturday that his staffer who tested positive for coronavirus is “doing well.”

He reiterated neither President Donald Trump nor himself had direct contact with the staff member, and said that health authorities have traced his contacts.

The person had “mild” cold-like symptoms for a day and a half and has not been at the White House since Monday, according to Pence.

The Associated Press

12:14 p.m.

Suburban Aurora has closed all parks and has called off parking tickets. They suburb is also allowing the sale of packaged liquor.

Mayor Richard Irvin said the town is suspending all parking tickets including in the downtown and at the transportation centers on Route 25 and Route 59. Parking officials will not ticket for parking violations through the end of April. 

In a statement, officials said vehicles parked in illegal and unsafe manners will still be referred to the Aurora Police Department.

For more information, visit the suburb’s website.

11:26 a.m.

The Northwest Indiana Times reported that an emergency room doctor at Methodist Hospitals has tested positive for COVID-19.

The physician last worked at the hospital system between March 14 and March 16. The Times said the hospital did not clarify whether the doctor last worked at the Merrillville or Gary hospital location.

The doctor is now in quarantine.

11 a.m.

Members of the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a press briefing at the White House.

10 a.m.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined local organizations as part of a citywide partnership to ensure all Chicago residents have access to food and services during COVID-19.

The mayor ensured Chicagoans that food banks and convenient stores would not be closing amid the governor’s order.

Those in need of services, information about food distribution can call 311 or visit the Chicago Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 website.

Anyone in need of food assistance can turn to the Food Depository’s network of agencies and programs. Find a nearby food program here

8:25 a.m.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has temporarily shuttered the state’s vehicle emissions-testing stations to comply with Gov. JB Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order.

The state EPA announced that emissions stations will be closed Saturday through April 7. That period could be extended however, depending on circumstances surrounding what is currently a growing number of illnesses caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Illinois Air Team Call Center will remain open to address

7 a.m.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order is set to begin at 5 p.m. and go until April 7 and Illinois residents are preparing.

Like other states, the order will mean residents can still go to the grocery stores, put gas in their cars, take walks outside and make pharmacy runs.

All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways, will remain open to traffic, as well. Delivery works should still report to work, the governor said.

Businesses such as gyms, spas, salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors must close by Saturday.

Click HERE for a full list of what will be open during the order.

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