The daily count of new coronavirus cases in Illinois again pushed 1,000 Wednesday as state officials announced 986 new known infections, including 42 more deaths. That’s the highest number of daily deaths reported in the state since the outbreak began.
Meanwhile, health experts say a wave of additional cases is likely in the coming weeks or months, but exactly when that wave will hit — and how big it will be — remains a matter of debate. Here are some projections.
As the virus continues to spread, the Tribune is keeping a running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations, asking experts to answer your questions about COVID-19, tracking cases across the state and memorializing those who have died in the Chicago area.
Here are the latest updates Thursday on the new coronavirus in the Chicago area and Illinois:
7:05 a.m. 12th Cook County Court Clerk’s employee tests positive for coronavirus; worked in downtown traffic court
The Cook County Court Clerk’s office announced late Wednesday that a 12th employee in the office, who works in the Traffic Division at the Daley Center, has tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee, who last reported for work March 20, was quarantined at home, according to a news release from Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office.
Crews from the clerk’s office and MB Real Estate, which manages the Daley Center, already have deep cleaned and sanitized where the employee worked, according to the office.
Before Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered a statewide shutdown March 20, Brown was criticized by clerks and other courthouse staff for keeping staffing levels the same as under normal operations, despite a slowdown in courthouse operations and the spread of the new coronavirus. —Chicago Tribune staff
5 a.m.: As spring rains arrive amid the coronavirus crisis, towns prep for flooding
In Rock Island, public works crews are staggering their hours. In central Illinois, dredging work continues at the confluence of the Illinois and Sangamon rivers, though the main focus has been on making sure local restaurants in the river town of Beardstown are able to weather the coronavirus crisis. In Chester, on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis, the river already is at flood stage, affecting downtown’s Water Street.
But levels are nowhere near where they were last summer, and the river is expected to drop in the coming days.
Throughout the state, with the ramifications of coronavirus shutdowns changing life for Illinois communities large and small, the preparations for spring flooding, which ravaged large swaths of the state last year, have continued despite the abnormal circumstances. As local, state and federal agencies scramble to react to the public health needs of COVID-19, cities and towns throughout Illinois must also keep one eye on the weather forecast and river levels.
Read more here. — Patrick M. O’Connell
5 a.m.: Facing coronavirus fears, Chicago nurses and doctors try to protect their own families
Home should be a refuge. But for people reporting to a hospital during the coronavirus crisis, home is just one more place to dread.
Doctors, nurses and others working at Illinois hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated fear returning to their families, who might be more at risk because of invisible dangers they unwittingly bring home.
Each has a routine. It usually looks like this: Disrobe. Leave scrubs in the garage. Bleach shoes. Run to the shower. No hugs from the children, no welcome from a spouse. Shower, scrub.
For Terence Yee, an intensive care unit nurse at the University of Illinois at Chicago, there is no option but to come home. He and his wife, Sweet Vivares Yee, are both nurses; they have three teenagers to take care of.
Read more here. — Alison Bowen