Local News

Clinton Woman Shares "Good News" About Local Couple

A Clinton woman wanted to share with our listeners, some good news about something a Clinton couple did for her and her husband.

 

Debbie Carson sent us an e-mail saying her husband had dealt with an illness and surgery, and she wanted to recognize Mark and Debbie Haas for taking over the mowing of the lawn while her husband has been healing.

 

To share a "Good News" story, just click that icon at dewittdailynews.com.

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Local Health Officials Express Concern About Assisted Living Facilities Vulnerability to Coronavirus

Local health officials say there are no new cases of coronavirus in DeWitt, Piatt, and Logan Counties, however, they are increasingly concerned about residents at assisted living facilities.

 

In his daily release Thursday afternoon, Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert points out 40-percent of the states' death toll is in assisted living facilities. The healthcare worker announced to have coronavirus in DeWitt County yesterday works at Liberty Village. 

 

Remmert said quote - "We continue to monitor the situation there daily and are in contact with the nursing home administrator.  The residents there have been isolating in their rooms since the beginning of the stay at home order, and we are having great cooperation with the administrator there. The two active cases in DeWitt Co are following quarantine guidance and we remain in daily contact with them and their contacts."

 

Testing in Logan County moved to 292 specimens processed with one awaiting results. They still have three active cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,563 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 141 additional deaths.

 

A total of 52,918 cases, including 2,355 deaths are being reported across 97 counties in Illinois. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 13,200 specimens for a total of 269,867.  

 

90-percent of the state's coronavirus cases are in the Chicago area.

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DeWitt County Thrift Store Gearing to Reopen Friday

Want to go thrift shopping?

 

According to Koni Lovett at Love It Once More in Clinton, you can do so again starting Friday. She says during the last month they've been busy sorting donations and they are reloaded in the store ready for business Friday.

 

 

While the store could not be open, Lovett says they tried out some social media experiments and received a tremendous response. They took to Facebook Live to promote some of their merchandise and the community responded kindly to allow them to continue to operate at a safe distance.

 

 

While the store can open up, Lovett indicates they are going to have some restrictions in place. They are going to ask only 20 patrons in the store at a time and they are going to ask those that choose to shop in the store, to wear a face covering.

 

 

The store will be open starting Friday at 10:00 a.m. Regular business hours are 10 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am - 3 pm Saturdays.

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DNR Authorities To Work With Public to Make Sure Mandates are Followed When Parks Reopen Friday

If you're planning to head to one of the select parks that will be reopened Friday, plan on having DNR officials out making sure social distancing guidelines are being followed.

 

That is the message from Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson who told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday they are glad to have the public back out at places like Clinton Lake but make no mistake about, the guidelines laid out by Governor JB Pritzker will be enforced.

 

 

Williamson hopes the public will do its best to comply because he gets the feeling from State leadership, if the public follows the guidelines, other areas could open up sooner than later.

 

 

Williamson stresses parks will be open from sun-up to sun-down. For those that frequent Clinton Lake, that will be a bit of a change as many boaters are used to the lake is open 24/7. 

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Local Health Officials Weigh In On Latest in Coronavirus

Wednesday the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department announced the second case of coronavirus, the second straight day of a new case locally.

 

As the debates of ideas and opinions rages, local health officials, say we're still doing a good job, but there is still a ways to go. Paul Skowron last week told Regional Radio News he felt the battle with the coronavirus in Illinois was only halfway there and says you can start to see the peak but feels it was for the best the Governor extended the stay at home order through May.

 

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert continues to see positive signs. He believes things are also peaking, especially as testing becomes more prominent in Illinois. 

 

 

In recent statements, Skowron expressed his desire for a regional reopening of Illinois but has since backed off that stance. He believes a regional reopening might leave downstate vulnerable to a migration of Chicago residents to bring the coronavirus to central Illinois. He points out though, the state of the local economy needs to be considered.

 

 

While Remmert would like to have seen a more regional approach to reopening Illinois, he says anyone that put themselves in the Governor's shoes likely would have had a hard time taking a regional approach to reopening Illinois.

 

 

Skowron is still hopeful Warner Hospital can be back up to full capacity by mid-to-late summer. He says their operations will continue to look very different going forward but feels it is for the best for their staff and their patients.

 

Remmert says it is still best to continue to follow the guidelines set by state and federal health officials. 

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Second Lawsuit Against Stay At Home Order Deemed Irresponsible By Governor

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS A SECOND LAWSUIT AGAINST THE STATE’S EXTENDED STAY-AT-HOME ORDER IS IRRESPONSIBLE.

 

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CABELLO OF ROCKFORD HAS FILED A LAWSUIT CHALLENGING THE ORDER THAT NOW RUNS THROUGH MAY. GOVERNOR PRITZKER RESPONDS:

 

 

THE GOVERNOR CALLED THE FIRST SUIT, FILED BY DOWNSTATE REPRESENTATIVE DARREN BAILEY, A CHEAP POLITICAL STUNT. A JUDGE SIDED WITH BAILEY AND THE STATE HAS ALREADY APPEALED IN THAT CASE.

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Governor Says He'd Support Regional Reopening of Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker has said several times that he will consider a regional approach to the reopening of the state and he’s said it again.

 

The Democrat who has seen two lawsuits filed to challenge his constitutional ability to issue back to back emergency declarations says as he thinks about the end of the stay at home order he wants to consider hospital capacity in a region and what the recommendations are from the White House.

 

 

The state’s stay at home order was extended to the end of May. But with tweaks, some state parks are opening, boating with restrictions will be allowed and more retail operations will be allowed to open with curbside pickup.

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Governor Pritzker Talks Latest in Antibody Testing in Illinois

Antibody testing in select parts of the country has shown the coronaviurs is much more widespread than perhaps originally thought however, the accuracy of these tests is not 100-percent at this time.

 

As those tests become more accurate and available, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker hopes to make them more available to learn more about the coronavirus in the state.

 

 

The President's coronavirus task force says they are continuing to focus on developing antibody testing and feels that will be an important step in understanding how widespread the virus is. 

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Governor Not Stopping Lawmakers From Coming to Springfield

Some state lawmakers are saying they aren’t being treated as a co-equal branch of government during the stay at home order.

 

They say it’s time to meet in Springfield to move the state forward together. Governor JB Pritzker says nothing is stopping them. State lawmakers have been deemed essential and can still come to work at the Capitol and schedule a session.

 

Pritzker says it’s up to House and Senate Leadership to determine when they want to come back.

 

 

By law the legislature can’t vote remotely, but that could change. However, lawmakers would have to meet and vote on a proposed law.

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Monticello Schools Construction Project Ahead of Schedule Thanks to Students Being at Home

With school hallways and classrooms quiet and empty these days, central Illinois districts that are embarking on significant construction projects say that has been one of the few blessings of students being at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Superintendent of Monticello Schools Dr. Vic Zimmerman tells Regional Radio News the district is ahead of schedule for their high school addition and says projects targeted for the summer months are happening now.

 

 

Monticello High School is looking forward to having a new gymnasium next school year and Dr. Zimmerman says they are looking forward to getting the floor installed soon. Right now hoops and speakers and scoreboards are up.

 

 

Provided schools are able to resume without a hitch in the fall because of the coronavirus, the district is planning a later than usual start to the school year with a condensed calendar. With crews ahead of schedule, many have wondered if the calendar might be able to be adjusted but Dr. Zimmerman says that would be a little tricky.

 

 

As it relates to school starting early, many have also wondered about getting the final quarter of curriculum that is lost this year made up going forward, Dr. Zimmerman believes it might end up taking a couple of years to get all students caught up rather than beginning the school year a few weeks early to begin that process. 

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New Coronavirus Case In DeWitt County

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting a new case of coronavirus in DeWitt County Wednesday afternoon.

 

The individual is a healthcare worker who came in contact with the individual who tested positive yesterday. The individual is a 22-year old healthcare worker in Decatur.

 

According to the health department, contact tracing remains ongoing.  This case is following quarantine guidance specific to healthcare workers, and contacts are following quarantine orders. All remain under daily monitoring..

 

Health officials say five of the nine total cases in DeWitt and Piatt Counties are healthcare workers.

 

The Logan County Health Department has three active cases of coronavirus with no new individuals returning a positive test. Testing is up to 286 tests conducted with two awaiting results. Four individuals that previously tested positive have recovered.

 

Health officials stress the coronavirus is not a death sentence and point out, nearly everyone who contracts the virus survives. They ask the public to remain calm as cases minimally increase and continue to follow the guidelines set forth by state and federal health officials.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,253 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 92 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 50,355 cases, including 2,215 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois.

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 14,478 specimens for a total of 256,667.  

 

90-percent of the state's case total is in the Chicago area. 

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Governor Pritzker Blasts Representative's Actions, Calls Them Reckless

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was not happy with a judge's decision to uphold a lawsuit by downstate Republican Rep. Darren Bailey and Tuesday afternoon at his daily press briefing the Democrat Governor sounded off.

 

The Governor called the Representatives actions a cheap, political stunt and a grab at fame.

 

 

Despite his disagreement with the actions, the Governor says he is taking the lawsuit seriously and feels the precedent set is very dangerous. Gov. Pritzker believes the State needs to fight this to keep citizens from petitioning to be exempt from the stay at home order.

 

 

Many in downstate Illinois are clamoring their small businesses are suffering because they do not have customers coming in the door and feel the stay at home order is unnecessary given the small number of cases south of Chicago. According to the Governor, the economic impact has been his mind from the very start of the issue.

 

 

When asked about his comments saying Rep. Bailey is grandstanding and in turn, the Governor was grandstanding claiming people would fall sick and die due to the actions of Rep. Bailey, the Governor called that 'a ridiculous question'.

 

 

The judge's ruling only applied to Rep. Bailey because he petitioned only for himself. The Governor says the danger of the coronavirus outbreak has not passed yet and feels Illinois is making progress. 

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State Climotologist Talks Early May Weather

Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford has his sights set on May now that April is winding down.

 

 

Ford making his comments to the RFD Radio Network Tuesday morning.

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Coronavirus Deaths in Illinois Surge, IDPH Director Discusses Staying Course for Stay at Home Order

Protests in spots. Neighboring states opening businesses.

 

Is the stay at home order going to be able to have the same effect going forward for another month as it did for the past month? Is there burnout with quarantine? IDPH Dr. Ngozi Ezike says it’s a problem. It’s why the state has mental health resources for people, but she says its for the greater good.

 

 

Ezike reported on Tuesday that 144 people died in the last 24 hours due to COVID-19. It was the highest one-day total for Illinois.

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Challenging Week for Illinois Pork Industry

A very tough week ahead for the pork industry with a number of packing plants offline due to COVID-19. It’s very concerning says Jennifer Tirey with the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

 

 

Among the plants currently, the shutdown is the Smithfield Foods facility in Monmouth in western Illinois. President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order to keep meatpacking plants open as part of the defense production act. 

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Farmer City Mayor, City Council Offer Governor Pritzker Thoughts on Downstate Environment

Farmer City Mayor Scott Testory was not pleased with the Governor's response to a question regarding reopening downstate Illinois and so on behalf of the City, he and his fellow City Council members sent the Governor a letter to ask him to reconsider his stance about downstate.

 

The Mayor has not been able to reach the Governor by phone or otherwise and says this letter is his last-ditch attempt to get his attention and ask him to reconsider his stance about handling downstate Illinois the same as he does Chicago.

 

 

As the weather turns from early spring to late spring and summer, the Farmer City Raceway is hoping to get some races in and stimulate the local economy as it does yearly. Mayor Testory says recently the Government came in and shut down practices despite those participating practicing social distancing.

 

 

Governor Pritzker has encouraged law enforcement officials to enforce the stay at home orders and enforce people wearing masks in public, however, the Mayor does not know how his officials would do that.

 

 

The Mayor says small businesses are ready to reopen and are hurting the longer this goes on. He says there are so many aspects of everyday life residents are ready to get back to life as normal.

 

 

Mayor Testory says just because a reopening happens does not mean people will lose all regard for social distancing and feels his residence would continue to follow the guidelines set forth until public health officials say it is safe to gather close again. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Announces DeWitt County's Second Coronavirus Case; Three New Cases in Logan County

A 19-year old DeWitt County healthcare worker is the second coronavirus case in DeWitt County. Additionally, three more cases have been reported in Logan County. 

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department announced the second case in the County Tuesday afternoon, nearly a month removed from the first case. 

 

Executive Director Dave Remmert points out, four of the eight cases reported in the two counties have been healthcare workers. The seven other individuals that tested positive have recovered. 

 

Six more tests are pending in DeWitt County.

 

The Logan County Health Department is reporting three new cases. One of the confirmed cases is a Mason County case that is being housed at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. The other two cases include a female in her 40s and another female in her 50s.

 

One test is pending in Logan County. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,219 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 144 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 48,102 cases, including 2,125 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 14,561 specimens for a total of 242,189.  

 

90-percent of the state's case total is in the Chicago area. 

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Encore Thrift Store Already Preparing For Bringing Back Clients to A Safe Environment

When a shelter from home order might end is still up in the air in Illinois but a local DeWitt County non-profit is already thinking about what that will look like how they bring back their clients to a safe environment.

 

Encore Developmental Services leadership is concerned about their clients' safety during this time as many of them are among the most susceptible to the coronavirus because of compromised immune systems. Executive Director Stephanie Coonce indicates they are already taking measures to keep their clients safe when they return.

 

 

During the shelter from home, Encore has been unable to accept donations and Coonce is thankful to the community for not dumping donations at their doors and hopes anyone with donations will hold on to those as they still want them but will accept them as soon as they re-open and get their operations back to normal.

 

 

Well before the outbreak became significant locally, Coonce indicates they were taking precautions to protect their clients. While there was some pushback from the community in some places, she is thankful for the respect that was shown for their clients.

 

 

During the shelter from home, Encore Thrift Store has been able to continue to pay its employees and some have been able to continue to be a part of their clients' daily routines through other services in the community.

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Local Realtors Weigh In On Corovavirus Impact on Housing Market

With the public's limited ability to get out during the coronavirus because of shelter from home orders, you would think the housing market would be among the portions of the economy that are being impacted negatively, but that would be incorrect.

 

Local realtors tell Regional Radio News the housing market has been busy. Nan Crang with ReMax Choice - the 217 Home Team, believes the market is being impacted by people at home looking at listings available and then acting on listings they like.

 

 

According to Ryan Utterback of Utterback Realty in Clinton, they are not taking walk-in visitors and are available in the office by appointment only. He says to help maintain proper social distancing, they are offering up video tours of homes among other precautions.

 

 

Thanks to the ability to apply for loans online, Utterback indicates they can a lot of things online however, closings can sometimes be tricky but those are still able to get done.

 

 

Like Utterback Real Estate, ReMax is giving their clients questionnaires to answer before they take the step of meeting for a showing. Crang attributes activity being higher than perhaps anticipated to interest rates being strong. 

 

 

Like many other aspects of everyday life, Crang is encouraging buyers and sellers to finance locally and shop locally.

 

You can reach Crang at 217-454-8683 or find her icon at dewittdailynews.com.

 

You can reach Utterback Real Estate in Clinton at 217-935-8182 or check out the Utterback Real Estate icon at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS WERE ABLE TO GET SOME PLANTING DONE BEFORE THE WEEKEND RAIN HIT AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

PRECIPITATION WAS ABOUT AN INCH ABOVE NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK…BUT PLANTING DID PROGRESS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

37 PERCENT OF CORN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED…UP FROM EIGHT PERCENT LAST WEEK. 

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT SHORT, 79 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 20 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Rep. Bailey Wins Case Against Governor's Stay at Home Orders

A state rep in southern Illinois filed a lawsuit to block the stay at home order issued by Governor JB Pritzker and won. Republican Darren Bailey had the case heard in Clay

 

County where the judge in the case issued a temporary restraining order for Bailey.

 

The Judge said in his decision that “my constitutional right to work, to travel, to exist” was violated by the executive order from Pritzker. The Democrat Governor heard about the decision during his daily press conference yesterday.

 

 

The order impacts Bailey. He filed the lawsuit only for himself. He is the one released from the stay at home order.

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Illinois Republicans Want More Transparency Regarding Inmates Being Released

ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE ASKING FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY WHEN IT COMES TO HOW STATE PRISONS ARE HANDLING THE THREAT OF COVID-19. 

 

G-O-P LAWMAKERS ARE SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT THE MORE THAN 13-HUNDRED INMATES RELEASED DURING THE PANDEMIC, INCLUDING CRIMINAL HISTORY AND IF VICTIMS WERE NOTIFIED. 

 

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI BRYANT MURPHYSBORO SAYS THEY ALSO WANT TO KNOW WHY PRISONS WEREN’T LOCKED DOWN RIGHT AWAY AND TESTING OF INMATES AND EMPLOYEES WASN’T DONE SOONER.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE AVERY BOURNE OF MORRISONVILLE AND SOME OF HER COLLEAGUES SAYS THEY WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WHY CERTAIN INMATES HAVE BEEN RELEASED AND IF VICTIMS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID IT’S BEEN MOSTLY LOW-LEVEL OFFENDERS NEARING THE END OF THEIR SENTENCE OR WHO ARE IN POOR HEALTH THAT HAVE BEEN RELEASED TO HELP PREVENT FURTHER SPREAD OF THE VIRUS IN ILLINOIS PRISONS.

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Harrisburg Discussing Reopening Despite Stay At Home Order

One southern Illinois community is looking at possibly re-opening businesses in the town despite the continued stay-at-home statewide order. The Harrisburg City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss the steps to take if the city is to re-open.

 

Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek says while he is not looking to make any decision that could hurt the health or safety of residents, he also knows that there are businesses that may not last much longer without re-opening.

 

 

McPeek says businesses like jewelry and clothing stores, and hair and nail salons in his community likely won’t make it another 30 days without being able to bring in revenue.

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Illinois A Donor State to Feds

A letter that Democrat Senate President Don Harmon signed asking for $40 billion in federal support during the pandemic sure has gotten plenty of attention. The President of the US Senate weighed in, former South Carolina Governor Niki Haley offered her opinion and the President tweeted about it. Donald Trump wondered why should federal taxpayers’ bailout poorly run states like Illinois? Governor JB Pritzker, who never asked for federal money for pensions, says Illinois contributes way more each year to the feds than Kentucky or South Carolina does.

 

 

South Carolina is among the top five states in taking more from the federal government than it sends, and Illinois is in the bottom five when it comes to getting the least back for the money it sends off to DC.

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Governor Pritzker Sounds Off On Rep. Bailey's Suit

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE WILL APPEAL A RULING AGAINST HIS EXTENDED STAY AT HOME ORDER.

 

DOWNSTATE REPRESENTATIVE DARREN BAILEY FILED SUIT AGAINST THE NEW ORDER THAT TAKES EFFECT FRIDAY, SAYING IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO WORK AND NORMAL LIFE. A JUDGE RULED IN HIS FAVOR AND GOVERNOR PRITZKER HAD A FIERY RESPONSE.

 

 

THE JUDGE'S RULING ONLY APPLIES TO BAILEY AS THE SOLE PLAINTIFF, BUT OPENS THE DOOR FOR OTHERS TO SUE. BAILEY ASSERTS THE GOVERNOR IS VIOLATING THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF ILLINOISANS.

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$500-Million More in Bridge Loans Coming from Illinois Treasurer

Five hundred million more dollars are being made available from the State Treasurer to lend to the state’s small businesses.

 

The bridge loans run through local banks at a low-interest rate. Mike Frerichs says these dollars are aimed squarely at small businesses in the state and won’t easily wind up in the hands of big operations.

 

 

The funds come from the $13 billion that the Treasurer manages as the state’s chief banker. They are released to local banks and credit unions to be loaned at below-market rates.

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Governor Pritzker Discusses Regional Opening and Why He is Against It

From lawmakers to citizens, many are clamoring for Illinois Governor JB Pritzker to think about and take action on a regional opening of the State of Illinois.

 

Monday afternoon during the Governor's daily press briefing, he laid out his reasons why he will not take such action until the science tells him otherwise. Governor Pritzker says this is not just a Chicago issue and that is not how coronavirus works.

 

 

In terms of coronavirus deaths in Illinois, the Governor says you are more likely to die of coronavirus in Jasper and Monroe Counties than you are in Chicago. He feels the discussion should not be just about total cases and total fatalities.

 

 

Governor Pritzker points out he has opened up areas of the state with low infection rates to resume elective surgeries and outdoor recreation.

 

 

Governor Pritzker says he is eager to get everyone to work and school as soon as it is safe. He says the decisions are not easy as they are between saving lives versus saving livelihoods. He feels the diligence of Illinois residents is saving thousands of lives. He adds he will continue to follow the science. 

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

Testing for the coronavirus surged to over 300 in DeWitt and Piatt Counties and 270 tests in Logan County.

 

None of the three counties have new cases. The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports four total tests pending, two each in the two-county area.

 

Logan County also has four tests awaiting results. Nearly 99-percent of tests in Logan County come back negative, while it is 98-percent in DeWitt and Piatt Counties.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,980 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 50 additional deaths.

 

There is now a total of 45,883 cases, including 1,983 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois.

 

91-percent of the state's case total is in the Chicago area. 

 

Testing has increased to 227,628 tests conducted. 

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DNR Director Discusses Parks Reopening

Select Illinois parks will reopen this Friday and the Director of the Department of Natural Resources recently discussed the way this decision was made and what parks reopening looks like.

 

Colleen Callahan says the decision of which parks to open were dependent on the types of facilities available for handwashing and also the amount of acreage to make sure people could properly practice social distancing.

 

 

Many wonder why Clinton Lake will reopen but Weldon Springs will not. Callahan says the reasons for reopening certain parks are the reasons to keep certain parks closed. She hopes allowing Clinton Lake to open up in DeWitt County will give residents the outdoor fix they need. 

 

 

The stay at home order will extend through the Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest on Clinton Lake and many other areas of Illinois. Callahan says right now, it is hard to say what that weekend might look like at Clinton Lake.

 

 

Callahan did not completely shut down the idea Weldon Springs could reopen before the May 30 stay at home order is set to expire. She feels if Illinoisans are adhering to the social distancing guidelines, that could lead to other recreation areas opening up. 

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Decatur Area Arts Council Adapting in Unprecedented Times

With its events being canceled, the Decatur Area Arts Council has learned to make the most out of the situation.

 

Jerry Johnson with the Decatur Area Arts Council indicates March and April are the two biggest fundraising months for the arts council. Their biggest fundraiser, Corks and Forks, at the end of April will be conducted in an online format.

 

 

Johnson says they have canceled their art galleries for April and May but are hoping to be able to have their summer exhibit.

 

 

The Decatur Area Arts Council's annual fund drive, Color Our Community, is being conducted through the mail. Johnson says they appreciate anything anyone can give at this time. Approximately fifteen percent of their annual budget is raised traditionally during March an

d April.

 

 

Johnson notes if things start to open back up, they are looking at a fundraising event for June or July. To contribute visit decaturarts.org.

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Sen. Rose Says Bigger Health Crisis Coming if Illinois Doesn't Get Back to Work; Warner Hospital CEO Agrees

If Illinoisans are not able to get back to work soon, there will be a bigger health crisis.

 

That is the message from State Senator Chapin Rose says right now there are going to be more consequential problems because right now there are areas of healthcare workers being laid off and labeled non-essential.

 

 

According to Sen. Rose, there is going to be a backlog of people needing to see physicians that haven't been able to for six or more weeks and when they do go to the doctor, it is likely many conditions will have worsened in that time.

 

 

CEO of Warner Hospital in Clinton, Paul Skowron hopes his operation can be back up to full capacity in 90 days. He indicates it is important for the healthcare systems to resume very soon because people have been forced to put off procedures that they need.

 

 

Skowron indicates his facility has not had to layoff any workers as they have been able to redirect the things they are doing and maintain social distancing. 

 

Last week, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced some elective surgeries could resume. Hear more from Skowron on Tuesday on the WHOW morning show and how this will impact his facility in Clinton. 

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Illinois General Assembly Has Work To Be Done That Can't Be Done Remotely

The Illinois House and Senate can’t vote remotely on bills. There is no legal authority to do it. Lawmakers need to be at the Capitol to vote on bills.

 

For now, there is no way around that. Steve Brown, a spokesman for Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, says that House Democrats are getting ready once lawmakers can gather in large groups.

 

 

The state’s fiscal year doesn’t start until July 1st. Giving lawmakers some extra time to pass the budget.

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Department of Public Health Says Uptick in Poison Control, Bleach Questions

Sarcastic or not when the President spoke about looking into how to hit the body with a tremendous amount of UV light or using disinfectant in the lungs saying quote “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning..” it attracted the attention of lots of people including health professionals and public.

 

IDPH Director and Dr. Ngozi Ezike says the IDPH poison control hotline has been seeing an uptick in calls connected to people using household cleaners in a dangerous way.

 

 

The IDPH poison control hotline is up and running 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-1222.

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Encore Thankful for Gov. Pritzker's Shoutout

A local agency in Clinton was recognized by the Governor during his daily COVID-19 Press Briefing Saturday.

 

Gov. JB Pritzker took the time Saturday during his press briefing to recognize the goodness provided by organizations in Illinois. Encore Developmental Services in Clinton was one that made the cut.

 

 

Stephanie Coonce, Director of Encore Developmental Services, indicated a member of her staff had the idea of wishing members of their day program a happy birthday. After the videos receiving multiple likes on Facebook, Coonce submitted it to the IDHS's bright spots.

 

 

Coonce says this recognition validates the role that Encore plays in the community. She says Encore is a relatively small agency so it was nice to be recognized.

 

Coonce says the birthday celebrations were a morale booster for everyone involved including her staff.

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Local Coronavirus Figures

The DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department reports no new cases with 295 tests administered between the two counties. DeWitt County administered 138 tests with 136 negative and one pending.

 

Piatt County has conducted 157 tests with 147 negative and four pending.

 

The Logan County Health Department reports no new cases and no tests pending. 236 have been administered.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,126 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 59 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 43,903 cases, including 1,933 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

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Gov. Pritzker Reminding about Call 4 Calm

The Governor is reminding Illinoisians experiencing stress and mental health issues during the pandemic, to use a free service offered by the state.

 

In his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Saturday, Gov. JB Pritzker reminded Illinoisians about the importance of mental health during the pandemic. He encourages anyone experiencing stress to utilize the Call 4 Calm text line.

 

Gov. Pritzker says those experiencing a substance abuse disorder can contact the Illinois Department of Human Services' helpline.

 

 

To speak with a mental health professional text "TALK" to 552020 or "HABLAR" for service in Spanish to the same number.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

More coronavirus testing has been conducted in parts of Central Illinois.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports no new cases with testing up to 285 tests conducted and six total tests pending between the two areas.

 

In Logan County, the Health Department reports no new cases and no tests pending. 236 tests have been administered.

 

 The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,119 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 80 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 41,777 cases, including 1,874 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

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Rep. Brady Says Governor Needs to Consider Regional Reopening of Illinois

The Governor has announced he will sign a modified version of the state’s stay at home order that will go into effect on May 1 and extend through Saturday, May 30.

 

State Representative Dan Brady says following the announcement that he would like to see modification done more on a regional basis, adding he believes there are certain small businesses that should be allowed to reopen, allowing more Illinoisans to get back to work.

 

 

State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website. 

 

Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.

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Clinton High School Principal Talks Graduation

Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne is working every possible scenario to make sure graduation can happen.

 

What that looks like or when that might be is not certain at this point but Wayne tells Regional Radio News, there are a lot of good ideas being floated around the area of how schools can host a graduation ceremony.

 

 

During a difficult time for students who are facing opportunities lost, like sports and activities and year-end activities, Wayne hopes his students will find the positives in this situation.

 

 

Wayne appreciates all the support he's received from parents to work with their students and for his teachers for working hard to allow their students to finish the year strong. 

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Tradewind Officials Urging County Board To Take Up Special Use Permit Despite Trying Times

The coronavirus pandemic has delayed the decision for a Tradewind Energy special use permit for their Alta Farms II wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.

 

Before the coronavirus pandemic became an immediate threat, the County Board was set to vote on the permit March 18 but because of stay home orders along with new guidelines for new groups of more than 10 from the CDC, the vote was postponed and has yet to be set.

 

At the Thursday afternoon DeWitt County Board meeting, Tradewind attorney Jim Griffin asked the Board to take up their application despite the trying circumstances currently being experienced.

 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg will consider the request and feels Tradewind Energy deserves to have their permit taken up now that most entities have their bearings straight and have been able to conduct business despite no face-to-face meetings.

 

 

Newberg would support a teleconference meeting for the decision however notes there could be some logistical challenges like allowing multiple people to speak before the board on the issue. He believes it needs to get done because it is an important piece of business. 

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Daily Coronavirus Statistics

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced a new daily high of coronavirus cases in Illinois while parts of central Illinois continue to see minimal new cases.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports no new cases with testing up to 277 tests conducted and seven total tests pending between the two areas.

 

In Logan Couty, the Health Department reports no new cases and no tests pending. 236 tests have been administered.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 2,724 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 108 additional deaths.

 

IDPH is reporting a total of 39,658 cases, including 1,795 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois. 

 

91-percent of cases continue to be in Chicago with 35,982. 

 

186,219 tests have been administered. 

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Clinton City Administrator Anticipates City Having to Dip Into Reserves

City of Clinton officials are not ruling out the possibility of having to dip into reserves while the State of Illinois awaits the all-clear to get the economy going again.

 

Tim Followell says revenues have and are going to drop and with that in mind, he says it is not out of the question the City may have to dip into their reserves. He says the good news is, reserves are healthy and those should take them through the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

According to Followell, being able to replenish funds in reserves is going to be very difficult so they are going to have be very meticulous in the money they pull from their reserves.

 

 

Followell explains the City is curtailing spending in certain areas and are trying to keep any unnecessary expenses to a minimum. 

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DeWitt County To Have Workers Return May 4

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced the extension of the stay at home order for Illinois to May 30 and moments after, the DeWitt County Board discussed how to proceed in bringing County employees back as soon as May 4. 

 

Board Vice-Chair Camille Redman explains they cannot continue to pay their employees to stay home and continue to get paid. It is starting to impact the County's budget.

 

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker indicates measures have been taken and adjusted to limit the traffick into the County Building. He estimates 95 to 99 percent of traffic has been eliminated and measures are being taken to make sure everyone is healthy.

 

 

According to County Board Chair David Newberg, some County employees have been coming to work and department heads have been making decisions on how to staff their offices. Employees that have not been working are still being paid but Newberg echoes Redman's comments and says they need to start deciding if they want to have employees return to work or not pay them.

 

 

State's Attorney Dan Markwell is having his staff return to work and there is plenty to be done in other offices of the building as well. Newberg says if the County Building is secure, they are going to ask employees to return to work. 

 

 

But what if County employees do not want to work and choose to be laid off and receive unemployment. State's Attorney Markwell encourages the employee to talk to their supervisor. However, there was some confusion about employees who choose not to work. 

 

 

According to Newberg, asking employees to return to work is not necessary because they never left work. He indicates it will be up to Department heads and officeholders to work with their staff on the best way to proceed given the various circumstances many individuals may face. 

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Gov. Pritzker Extends Stay At Home Order Through May 30

As expected, Gov. JB Pritzker is extending the stay at home order through the end of May.

 

In his daily COVID-19 Press Briefing on Thursday, Gov. Pritzker indicated he will sign an executive order to extend the stay at home order through Saturday, May 30.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says the extension that goes in effect May 1 will see some restrictions lessened. Elective surgeries, online ordering for retail stores, and phased openings of some state parks will be allowed under the new order.

 

 

Also starting May 1 anyone over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask in public places where six feet cannot be maintained.

 

 

The Governor says if crowds begin and people start to violate the order, it may be necessary to bring back the restrictions.

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Logan County Reports Latest Individual to Test Positive for Coronavirus Has Recovered

The Logan County Health Department is reporting the latest individual to test positive for the coronavirus has recovered, bringing the County's recovery rate to 100-percent.

 

Last week, a female in her 50s in Logan County tested positive and today (Thursday) the Health Department confirms her recovery. 219 tests have been administered in total and one test is awaiting the results. 

 

No new coronavirus cases were reported in DeWitt and Piatt Counties. The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department indicates testing ramped up to 160 total tests administered with six pending between the two-county area.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 1,826 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 123 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 36,934 cases, including 1,688 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois.

 

91-percent of cases are in the Chicago area with 16,738. Additionally, 91-percent of the state's fatalities from coronavirus is in Chicago, with 1,544 of the 1,688 deaths.

 

173,316 tests have been administered. 

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Clinton High School Administrators Thinking of Students

Clinton High School administrators want their students to know they are thinking of them during what is a difficult time for many.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Principal Jerry Wayne hopes students realize while they are away, he will be there for them in whatever capacity they need and he will do his best to help them any way he can.

 

 

Director of the Clinton Academy, Katy Arnold echoes Wayne's comments and has been working to put messages via video on social media. She is letting students know, she is there for students as well.

 

 

Wayne says he is going to do everything he can to have some semblance of a graduation ceremony as they can but admits he does not know when or what that looks like. He says there are a lot of good ideas out there and wants to make sure he can coordinate an event for their seniors to be together at once. 

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Central Illinois Bankers Reporting Positive Results from Payroll Protection Program

The Payroll Protection Program has helped local employers keep hundreds of employees paid.

 

That is according to local bankers in DeWitt County who tell Regional Radio News the program has been a huge success locally. Josh Shofner is the President of First National Bank in Clinton and says they were able to issue a total of 29 small businesses and $2.1-million for over 250 employees.

 

 

According to Lance White, Executive Vice President at the State Bank of Lincoln in Clinton, the Small Business Administration put together this program in about a week when it normally would take about a year. He says even though there was a lot of volume upfront, they helped hundreds of employees to the tune of millions of dollars in DeWitt and Logan Counties.

 

 

As the federal government gets ready to add more funds to the program as soon as Thursday, both bankers encourage local businesses to reach out to them to take advantage of the additional funding that is likely to become available.

 

Reach the State Bank of Lincoln at 217-935-3144 in Clinton and at 217-735-5551 in Lincoln.

 

Reach First National Bank in Clinton at 217-935-2148. 

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Sen. Rose Among Latest Lawmakers To Call on Governor to Lift Parks Closures

Downstate lawmakers for the last few weeks have been calling on Illinois Governor JB Pritzker to lift his park closures downstate and a central Illinois lawmaker joined the chorus this week.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, State Senator Chapin Rose says the Governor's action to close state parks was a reaction to the Chicago public that did not take his stay at home orders to heart and ended up going out on St. Patrick's Day.

 

 

Rose also says the Governor's rationale of closing the parks because it would allow people congregate at the sites doesn't make sense since most people that go to the parks are alone or with family and there aren't enough workers to congregate at many of these sites.

 

 

Sen. Rose describes the Governor's situation as "in a foxhole taking grenades and everything looks the same". Like many others, the Mahomet Republic is calling on the Governor to recognize downstate is not Chicago.

 

 

Sen. Rose says whether you're in Chicago or you're downstate, we're all in this together and we need to work together to get out of it. 

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More Calls For Parks To Reopen

State parks remain closed because of the stay at home order in Illinois. But that leaves many wanting for walks in the woods, fishing on lakes or maybe even camping. 

 

Republican State Rep. Dan Severin from Marion says southern Illinois is hurting as recreational activities are being curtailed. He’d like to see the Governor reopen state parks in areas of that don’t have high numbers of COVID-19 and says people that want to get outside can do it while respecting social distancing guidelines.

 

 

The Governor has said that one reason parks were closed was to keep workers safe who may have had to work in close quarters with other staff and couldn’t keep proper social distance.

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IDES System Still Slow for Claims

The state is still lagging in getting people signed up for unemployment benefits. The Illinois Department of Employment Security has been overwhelmed by the record number of applications in the past month. Governor JB Pritzker says IDES is doing better but more needs to be done.

 

 

IDES has a process for signups asking that people with the last name A through M, file online Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday and those with names N-Z to file online Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

 

Anyone can file on Saturday.

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House GOP Members Call for Phased In Opening

Members of the Illinois GOP are laying out a plan to phase in a reopening of the economy. A group of Representatives gathered by Zoom on Wednesday to layout a path forward for Illinois. 

 

Rep. Matt Batnick from Plainfield says hospitals and medical centers need to resume elective surgeries and other medical procedures. He says firsthand he’s waiting on critical care and worries about people who will push off other procedures.

 

 

Batnick says that medical centers and hospitals that are dealing with large numbers of COVID patients should delay those procedures, but many others can safely reopen for business.

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Gov. Pritzker Would Rather Not Govern By Executive Order

It’s been governing by executive order during the coronavirus pandemic for JB Pritzker. He issued a stay at home in March and extended through April and now it appears that it will be pushed further into May.

 

Pritzker has been making these decisions while the state is under a disaster declaration and says he wants nothing more than to stop having to govern under a disaster proclamation.

 

 

State lawmakers haven’t been in session since before the stay at home order was given. But they have been convening working groups by phone to help settle on legislative priorities when session resumes.

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GOP Lawmakers Offer Plan for Regional Reopening

HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE OUTLINING WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN TO START TO RE-OPEN ILLINOIS.

 

PEOPLE NEED MORE ACCESS TO NON-CORONAVIRUS RELATED HEALTH CARE AND MORE BUSINESSES SHOULD BE ABLE TO OPEN BACK UP IF THEY CAN DO SO SAFELY SAYS REPRESENTATIVE RYAN SPAIN OF PEORIA.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE DAVE SEVERIN OF BENTON SAYS STATE PARKS SHOULD OPEN BACK UP.

 

 

OTHER SUGGESTIONS FROM THE HOUSE G-O-P INCLUDE LETTING BUSINESS LIKE HAIR SALONS, BARBERS, DOG GROOMERS AND CLOTHING RETAILERS OPEN IF PROPER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ARE TAKEN. AND MORE NON-CORONAVIRUS RELATED HEALTH CARE SHOULD BE AVAILABLE.

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Farm Bureau Talks Regional Reopening

Talk of reopening the Illinois economy based on a regional approach continues to gain momentum downstate. It’s something that Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards is hearing about.

 

 

Gebhards says he continues to have a dialogue about the topic with Illinois General Assembly leadership and rank and file members.

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Clinton Schools Leader Disappointed School Year Must End Under Current Circumstances

While keeping our communities safe through social distancing continues to be a top priority at this time, that hasn't left the leader of Clinton Schools without feeling disappointment for the way the year must finish.

 

Last Friday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced the 2019-2020 school year would conclude through remote learning, and students would not be returning to classes. Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles says while the decision wasn't surprising, it doesn't take away the fact there are going to be moments missed by students. 

 

 

For teachers, the abrupt finish to the school year will be difficult for them and Nettles says it should be as they focus on developing strong relationships with their students. 

 

 

Remote learning will be implemented to finish out the year and school districts will begin adjusting heading in the new school year next year. 

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Local Coronavirus Figures

Updates from area health departments indicate no new coronavirus cases in DeWitt, Logan, and Piatt Counties.

 

Testing ramped up to 248 total tests returned to the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department with four pending. All six individuals to test positive in the two-county area have recovered.

 

In Logan County, 210 tests have now returned negative out of 217 total tests administered. Logan County is waiting on three tests. Three out of our individuals that have tested positive have recovered. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 2,049 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 98 additional deaths.

 

In total, there are 35,108 cases, including 1,565 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois.

 

91-percent of the state's case total is in Chicago, with 31,855. Additionally, 91-percent of the state's coronavirus related fatalities are in Chicago, with 1,433 of the 1,565 deaths. 

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Clinton Board of Education Alters Teaching Positions for 2020-2021 School Year

With the school year officially moving to remote learning for the duration fo the 2019-2020 school year, the Clinton Board of Education met remotely for Tuesday night and adjust a couple of positions for the upcoming school year.

 

School Superintendent Curt Nettles explains their technology position at the high school needs filled as technology continues to grow in its role in schools. He indicates the time has expired on an agreement with the school's former technology teacher as a part-time IT director.

 

 

According to Nettles, the position would fulfill several roles in the district. From troubleshooting technology to help teachers and students understand what they're using, he believes it would end up being a cost-saving for the district.

 

 

The district is considering easing a large burden on Karl Parrish, who serves as both a high and junior high school physical education teacher and a driver's ed instructor. Nettles says the demand for drivers education is so high, they are transitioning Parrish to a full-time driver's ed instructor and creating a junior high PE position.

 

 

Also during the Tuesday night Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the amended budget for the Fiscal Year '20 budget. 

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Red Cross Continues Call for Blood Donors

The American Red Cross continues to seek blood donors. The organization’s Trish Burnett says there is a definite need at this time.

 

 

You can find the nearest blood drive by visiting “redcrossblood.org”.

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May Looking Ideal for Field Work

DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson likes what he sees when the calendar turns to May.

 

 

Anderson making his comments to the RFD Radio Network Tuesday morning.

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Rep. LaHood Wants Illinois to Reopen in Tiers

One Congressional Republican wants Illinois to open back up on a regional basis. 

 

Peoria’s Darin LaHood says areas of the state he represents aren’t seeing the amount of COVID infections that other places are. He wants local officials to be able to lead the way on bringing communities back online.

 

 

Georgia reopen most of its state Friday and other states in the US are going to be lifting restrictions before the President's April 30 deadline of 30 Days to Slow the Spread.

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Dick Durbin Serving on Trump Reopen Task Force

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is one of the lawmakers on President Trump's task force to reopen the country.

 

Durbin says the biggest factor in reopening is developing a vaccine.

 

 

Also serving on the task force Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth and Republican Congressman Rodney Davis.

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Governor Pritzker Says Illinois' Peak May Be Coming in May

Much has been made of the effort to flatten the curve of COVID cases in Illinois. 

 

According to the Governor and the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the curve is flattening but the peak of the curve isn’t yet here. JB Pritzker says updated models that he uses to make decisions about stay at home orders now show a peak of cases coming in mid-May.

 

 

The Governor has said over the past few days that he is considering a regional approach to reopening the economy.

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Illinoisans Say They Feel Punished Over Stay At Home Order

Small protests have occurred in Illinois over stay at home orders and the desire to reopen closed businesses and to let people move more freely around golf courses and other places. 

 

The Governor was asked on Tuesday what he would say to people who live outside of Chicago and Cook County who feel they are being “punished” for part of the state having more of the virus than others and being told what they can do and what businesses can be open.

 

 

The state says there were 1,551 new COIVD 19 cases yesterday along with an additional 119 fatalities. In all 1,468 people have died of coronavirus in the state. Over 90-percent of the state's cases are in the Chicagoland area. 

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Local Health Officials Weigh In On Latest in Coronavirus Outbreak

Local health officials say the containment of the coronavirus outbreak locally has led them to believe we should start thinking about opening up.

 

Paul Skowron is the CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services and says a regional approach to reopening would be appropriate and believes the outbreak has led to lessons in business operating with proper precautions.

 

 

Getting back to our normal routines and when that can happen is on the minds of everyone and Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert, says any re-opening would have to be done responsibly.

 

 

Skowron is optimistic the Governor will take a regional approach to reopen the Illinois economy and feels antibody testing is going to a long way in determining who has had coronavirus but there's still a ways to go. He says in the meantime, it is time to plan to get back to work safely.

 

 

While fatality figures have been up the last week or so, Remmert points out, the penultimate indicator is the high point of fatalities.

 

 

Remmert says there should be some local decision making in re-opening and feels those who are most susceptible to this disease should be staying home.

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Testing Ramping Up Locally

Testing is ramping up locally and Tuesday afternoon there are no new cases in DeWitt, Logan and Piatt Counties.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department announced 244 total tests administered between their two-county service area. 12 tests are pending.

 

In Logan County, testing ramped up to 207 individuals tested, one test is pending and there is still a single active case with three individuals recovered from the coronavirus.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,551 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 119 new deaths.

 

In total, there are 33,059 cases, including 1,468 deaths, in 96 counties in Illinois. 

 

91-percent of the state's cases are in the Chicago area, with 30,120. Testing in Illinois moved to 154,997 performed. 

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Clinton City Council Gets Update on Fiscal Year '21 Budget

The coronavirus could have an impact on the upcoming year's budget for the City of Clinton.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter indicated areas of concern over the coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken to slow its spread include sales tax, income tax, and video gaming tax.

 

 

Video gaming machines are shut down amid non-essential business being shut down for the time being. Additionally, Lichtenwalter says with unemployment running rampant across the country, the State's income tax number is expected to come in much lower than projected.

 

 

According to Lichtenwalter, thanks to the Downey Park project, general expenses are up about a half-million dollars. He indicates that the project though is on hold with the coronavirus putting a lot of things in a holding pattern.

 

 

Licthenwalter indicates there are about nine months of operating capital expenses, in line with where it has been in the last several years. He also adds the City is beginning to look at how minimum wage increases will impact City funds over the next few years. 

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State Lawmaker Weighs in on Illinois Democrats Request for Millions of Dollars for Coronavirus Reimbursements

Over the weekend, Illinois Democrats asked the federal government of $41-billion in federal government funding for coronavirus relief, including $15 billion in block grant funding to fill budget gaps over three years, $9.6 billion for local governments and $6 billion for Illinois’ unemployment insurance system.

 

State Senator Chapin Rose says the request was a poor decision as it was not the national taxpayers that dug Illinois the hole they're in.

 

 

Governor Pritzker nor Speaker Mike Madigan were involved in the construction of the letter according to Senate President Don Harmon. The Illinois Republican Pary on Twitter Sunday said quote "brazenly using a global pandemic as an excuse” to fix longtime financial problems.

 

Sen. Rose says lawmakers are currently meeting over Zoom trying to put together a budget. He says they won't know much about their revenues until July, well past their June 1 deadline for a budget. 

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Congressman Davis Weighs in on Illinois' Federal Funding Request

One state lawmaker made a request for federal money to directly help shore up Illinois financial situation. But the ask, including $10 billion for state pensions is getting criticized by Congressional Republicans.

 

Congressman Rodney Davis says the $41 billion that Illinois Senate President Don Harmon wants ignores the fact that Illinois’ troubles have been years in the making.

 

 

Governor JB Pritzker said Harmon’s ask from federal officials differs in what he would like to see for support of states.

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Governor Pritzker Among US Governors Who Disagree About White House Testing Claims

The White House has said its time for Governors to get on board with expanding testing for COVID-19 in states so economies can begin to reopen. But Governor JB Pritzker says the White House is confusing testing capacity with actually being able to get testing done, results read and information back to patients.

 

On a Monday call with the administration, he says Governors all over the US disagree with how the White House is saying there is the capacity to do widespread testing.

 

 

Pritzker says Illinois is on the right path to get more people tested each day, but more must

 

be done to get the numbers where he wants them.

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Weekly Crop Report

SOYBEAN PLANTING HAS BEGUN IN ILLINOIS.

 

FARMERS ARE GETTING SOME TIME IN THE FIELDS, WITH ABOUT FOUR DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK LAST WEEK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

SCHELUSENER TURNS TO THE WINTER WHEAT.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, FIVE PERCENT SHORT, 84 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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State Ramping Up Testing at Nursing Homes

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS WORKING TO PREVENT SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN ILLINOIS NURSING HOMES.

 

FACILITIES HAVE ALREADY LIMITED OR BANNED VISITORS AND BOOSTED SANITIZATION EFFORTS. PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED TO NURSING HOMES WITH OUTBREAKS OF THE VIRUS. NOW, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS RAMPING UP TESTING.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS AS MORE TESTING BECOMES AVAILABLE, THEY ARE LOOKING TO TEST ALL NURSING HOME AND LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY STAFF AND RESIDENTS, EVEN WHERE THERE HAVEN’T BEEN ANY CASES YET.

 

 

INFECTION DATA FOR ILLINOIS LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: DPH DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH COVID19.

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Clinton YMCA Has Lost Approximately $30,000 Since Coronavirus Outbreak Began

If the shelter from home decree from Illinois Governor gets extended later next week, the leader of a Clinton non-profit is concerned it could continue to impact their ability to provide services to the community.

 

Clinton YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Monday the YMCA is estimating around $30,000 in lost revenue through the first month of the coronavirus shutdown.

 

 

According to Cluver, he has looked to the future of how that loss in revenue will impact the things they do, but its not all doom and gloom. He indicates the PPP program that is looking to be expanded at the federal level soon, is an option for the Y.

 

 

The future of the Clinton YMCA weighs heavily on Cluver as revenue becomes lean during this time. He explains the situation doesn't get easier as it appears they will be in the heart of their annual fundraising campaign comes the lifting of stay at home restrictions.

 

 

The news has not been all bad for the Y. Cluver indicates its remodel project is now complete and he looks forward to the day they can open up to the public for them to see it.

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Piatt County Woman Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus Last Week Has Recovered

The Piatt County woman who tested positive for the coronavirus last week has become the latest individual to recover from the illness.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department indicates the recovery rate from coronavirus between the two counties is now 100-percent, with the one individual from DeWitt County recovered and all six cases in Piatt County recovered. 

 

In total, 230 individuals between the two counties have been tested and six total tests are pending, four in DeWitt and two in Piatt.

 

In Logan County, the inmate that is being housed at Logan Correctional has been transferred, and her case is no longer a Logan County case, bring their total to four cases, one is active and three individuals have recovered. 

 

Logan County has no tests awaiting results and 197 tests have been administered. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,151 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 59 additional deaths.

 

In total, there are 31,508 cases, including 1,349 deaths, in 95 counties in Illinois.

 

28, 759 of the state's 31,508 cases are in the Chicago area, or 91-percent.

 

148,358 people in Illinois have been tested. 

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DeWitt County Sheriff Questions If Closing of Downstate Parks Is Necessary

When the Governor closed bars and restaurants to crowds, he also closed state parks and a DeWitt County law enforcement official wonders how necessary that is downstate.

 

Sheriff Mike Walker believes most people that visit Clinton Lake or Weldon Springs are coming on their own to fish and he does not see the harm in allowing those kinds of activities to continue.

 

 

The public has taken exception to allow certain essential businesses to continue to operate while not allowing others, even though places that are still open, there are dozens of people gathered. The Sheriff says why are churches forced to close but hotels owned by the Governor can remain open. 

 

 

Questions surrounding constitutional rights have begun to swirl about how much power does a governor have and Sheriff Walker believes it is a fine balance between keeping people safe and infringing on rights.

 

 

From a law enforcement standpoint, Sheriff Walker says many of his deputies are ready for things to return to normal because they have been somewhat restricted in their interactions with the public, handling much of their business over the phone. 

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1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Looks Very Similar to 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic Locally

With the coronavirus pandemic putting a wrench in the lifestyle of everyone, some may wonder what it was like to live through the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and according to the director of the DeWitt County Museum, we might be as close as we'll ever get.

 

Joey Woolridge says there is a wealth of information that suggests the times we're in right now are very similar to what it was like in 1918 at the start of the Spanish Flu pandemic that according to the CDC, infected up to a third of the world's population.

 

Woolridge says the news, like the coronavirus, started just as small sidenotes in the local paper and grew from there.

 

 

Over the weekend on Regional Radio, you heard from Woolridge discussing a football game in Clinton that was canceled which began the snowball effect of changes. Much like the events the second week of March with school being canceled and pro sports leagues shutting down, the events locally in 1918 will sound very familiar.

 

 

The hygiene recommendations are going to sound very familiar as well. Woolridge indicates hand washing, covering a cough and staying home if you weren't feeling well were heavily promoted as well as only the illest visiting the hospital.

 

 

More similarities include the New York Stock Exchange taking a hit and notable world leaders being stricken with the disease.

 

 

The death toll from just September 1918 to November 1918 was 35 and over 1,300 cases in Clinton.

Woolridge has posted much, much more on social media. You can follow the DeWitt County Museum Facebook page for more. 

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Would Illinois Reopen on Regional Basis?

We are inching closer to the end of the May 1 stay at home order. The choice coming for Governor JB Pritzker is to let it expire or prolong it.

 

Would he consider a regional reopening? Pritzker says he looks at the number of cases and hospitalization every day, but he cautions about making conclusions about some areas of the state that don’t have high case numbers.

 

 

Pritzker is asked every day about when the stay at home order will end. He says no one wants it to end sooner than he does.

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Sen. Barickman Talks Business, State Budget

State Senator Jason Barickman says lawmakers are still working during the coronavirus pandemic - which has been interesting since this is normally one of the busiest times of year at the Capitol.

 

Barickman says lawmakers have been split into working groups that meet remotely to discuss the next steps for when they can return to Springfield.

 

 

The Bloomington Republican says he thinks lawmakers will be called to the Capitol sometime in May or June to address the state's budget.

 

Gov. JB Pritzker this week said his office projects state revenue to decline by $2.7 billion in the current year and up to $7.4 billion for next year.

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Northern Illinois Lawmaker Wants State Parks Open

A state lawmaker would like to see state parks back open. That's the call from State Rep. Tony McCombie from Savanna.

 

 

McCombie says she would also like to see the governor take a regional approach to any additional "stay at home" orders.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

The DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department have no new cases of coronavirus on Sunday.

 

DeWitt County has conducted 108 tests with 105 negatives, two pending, and one recovered.

 

Piatt County has tested 110 individuals with 103 negatives, one pending, five recovered, and one active case remains.

 

Logan County has tested 180 with 173 negatives, two pending, two recovered, and five positive cases remain.
 

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Gov. Pritzker Thanks National Guard for Work During Pandemic

The Governor is thankful for the Illinois National Guard for their work during the global pandemic.

 

In his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Sunday, Gov. JB Pritzker took the time to recognize the efforts of the Illinois National Guard during the pandemic.

 

 

The Governor indicated the second airlift of PPE is set to arrive in Illinois tomorrow. The Illinois National Guard will be delivering it to the state warehouse.

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,197 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 33 additional deaths.

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Local Coronavirus Figures

DeWitt and Piatt Counties have seen over 100 individuals tested each and on Saturday there were no new cases.

 

DeWitt County remains with one individual recovered from coronavirus after a positive test was announced on April 2. 104 tests have turned up 102 negative results and one test pending.

 

In Piatt County, there is still one active case with five previous individuals recovered. 98 tests are negative and there is also one pending test in Piatt County.

 

Logan County has administered a total of 180 tests and 173 are negative. Two individuals are awaiting results, two cases have recovered and five active cases remain.

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State Telehealth Program Now Covers Entire State

The telehealth program for remote patient monitoring for COVID-19 is now available to the rest of Illinois.

 

Gov. JB Pritzker in his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Saturday indicated the program is available to patients who are infected with a mild strain of COVID-19 who can recover from home.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker announced Advocate Aurora Healthcare is providing coverage for Northern Illinois and Chicago. OSF Healthcare provides services in Central Illinois, Metro East, and Rockford. SIU School of Medicine provides care for Southern and West Central Illinois.

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,585 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 125 additional deaths.

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Revised PGA Tour Schedule To Include Two Illinois Events

Two Illinois stops included on the PGA Tour’s revised schedule. One of those is the John Deere Classic in Silvis, to be played July 6th through the 12th and it could be the first golf event with fans since the COVID19 outbreak in March. Clair Peterson is the JDC Tournament Director.

 

 

The other Illinois PGA Tour event on the revised schedule is the BMW Championship in Olympia Fields in late August.

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Pork Producers Names in Winner in Pulled Pork Madness

A winner has been announced in the Illinois Pork Producers Association’s “Pulled Pork Madness”. 

The honor goes to Henn House BBQ Catering and Food Truck out of Altona in Knox County. The competition started with 16 businesses last month and the winner was determined through online voting says IPPA’s Mike Borgic.

 

 

This was the second year for Pulled Pork Madness in Illinois.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Activity Cut In Half

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says activity in his office has almost been cut in half since the shelter from home decree was announced in mid-March.

 

Sheriff Mike Walker on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News, calls for service, traffic stops and paper services have all been substantially reduced as everyone is staying in. The Sheriff gives credit to residence for following the guidelines of the Governor, he's seen very minimal traffic, other than the peak travel times.

 

 

According to Sheriff Walker, there are many of his deputies ready to return to their routine of regular interaction with the public through in-person responses and traffic stops.

 

 

While calls for domestic violence incidents have not increased locally, in terms of calls to the Sheriff, Sheriff Walker is concerned those could still increase at some point, especially if people continue to be asked to stay in when the weather gets nice. 

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DeWitt County Board Adjusts Meeting Schedules for Next Week; Entities Go To Conference Call Meetings

The coronavirus has forced local governments to adjust how they conduct meetings and next week in DeWitt County is busy.

 

The week starts with the DeWitt County Board's finance meeting at 3 pm Monday afternoon via a conference call. 

 

Monday night, the Clinton City Council convenes via conference call and they will have a special public hearing at 6:45 for their annual budget session. 

 

Tuesday, the Clinton Board of Education will conduct its monthly business via Zoom. 

 

And Thursday afternoon, the DeWitt County Board will hold their monthly meeting at 3 pm. 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg tells Regional Radio News, the DeWitt County Board will meet with just a few members of the Board in the Board room, and the rest, about nine or ten, over the phone.

 

He will look to have the meeting be as normal as possible despite the social distancing precautions. According to Newberg, there will still be a public comment period and anyone wishing to participate will be asked to contact County Clerk Dana Smith to get on the agenda ahead of the meeting. They will need to do so by Monday. 

 

To listen in on the County Board's finance meeting and the Board meeting, call 978-990-5000 and the access code to enter the meeting will be 314719.

 

The link for the Clinton Board of Education meeting is available at dewittdailynews.com with the meeting ID and the password through Zoom.

Meeting ID: 775 2108 4701
Password: 7Ngmhe

 

If you want to join the Clinton City Council meeting Monday night, dial 571-317-3116 then enter the access code - 449-970-085 - when prompted. 

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Clinton Chamber Proceeding With Meat Raffle

With the cancellation of fundraisers like May Days and the postponement of the Chamber's Business Expo, the meat raffle fundraiser is taking on bigger importance during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

According to Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard, they are proceeding with their meat raffle that offers a quarter beef, half a hog or cash prize.

 

 

The meat for the raffle is being provided by Toohill Seed and Beef in Clinton. 

 

To get a meat raffle ticket, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 217-935-3364 and they will work with you to get your tickets to you. The Chamber office is closed down for the time being because of the coronavirus, so picking up tickets in person is not an option right now. 

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Governor Pritzker Suspends In-Person Learning for Illinois Kids for Remainder of the Year

To the surprise of few, Governor JB Pritzker Friday afternoon permanently suspended in-person learning for Illinois school kids for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

 

The Governor indicates it would be unsafe for kids to return to school and believes the consequences outweigh the very valuable impacts of in-person learning. He says the priority is to save lives.

 

 

Governor Pritzker offered his thoughts to teachers, students, administrators and parents about his decision....

 

 

Illinois state agencies released a wi-fi hotspot map today to help students across the state who lack internet access in their homes. The effort was spearheaded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education along with the Illinois State Board of Education, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Office of the Secretary of State Illinois State Library, and the Illinois Community College Board. 

 

Wi-fi hotspots are available at multiple locations around the state including local colleges and libraries. 

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Local Coronavirus Figures

DeWitt and Piatt Counties have seen 100 individuals tested each and on Friday, there were no new cases. 

 

DeWitt County remains with one individual recovered from coronavirus after a positive test was announced on April 2. 100 tests have turned up 97 negative results and two tests are pending.

 

In Piatt County, there is still one active case with five previous individuals recovered. 92 tests are negative and there are also two pending tests in Piatt County.

 

In Logan County, the individual that tested positive in Aurora that is in the Logan County Correctional Center is considered a temporary case and may be removed from the Logan County count pending a decision from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

One individual is awaiting a test result in Logan County. 169 tests in total have been administered and 163 are negative. Two of Logan County's individual who tested positive for coronavirus have recovered. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 1,842 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 62 additional deaths. In total, there are 27,575 cases, including 1,134 deaths, in 92 counties in Illinois. 

 

92-percent of the State's case count is in the Chicago area with 25,265. 

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DeWitt County Museum Director Says Local Events of 1918 Spanish Flu Playing Out Very Similarly to That of 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

The world was turning as normal. People were going to work. Kids were in school. Sports, competitions, and gatherings were continuing but a serious illness was close to impacting central Illinois. The year? 1918.

 

Joey Woolridge is the Director of the CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum and has been digging up what life was like in DeWitt County when the Spanish Flu pandemic put a wrench in life as residents then knew it.

 

She says things locally changed when in September of 1918, a Clinton High School football game against Normal U-High was called off because of the fear of the gathering spreading the illness.

 

 

The happenings the following three months in DeWitt County look incredibly similar to the events of this 2020 pandemic. Woolridge was on the WHOW Morning Show Friday and we'll have more on this story next week on Regional Radio News.

 

To hear more of Regional Radio's interview with Woolridge, just click on the WHOW Podcasts icon at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Domestic Violence Advocate Says Impacts of Stay at Home May Not Be Realized Until After Order Lifted

Domestic violence professionals are weighing in on the impacts of the coronavirus on the community.

 

A stay at home order has been in place in Illinois since mid-March and Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE says she's very concerned for clients she knows are in a tough spot and those that are discovering an unfortunate situation. 

 

 

For those who can find relief and get away from an abusive situation, Tolladay says DOVE is still accessible. She says their hotline is monitored 24 hours a day even though no one is in their office currently and they will get help to anyone that needs it.

 

 

For Tolladay, the toughest part of this situation is not being able to be in their office for someone to walk in and receive help and support. She says the reality of the situation is, victims - including children - are stuck with their abusers right now and there is not much they can do.

 

 

With the possibility the stay at home order gets extended, Tolladay is concerned we may not know the full extent of the things that happens to victims until the restrictions have been lifted. She says right now, they are not seeing any more activity than usual. 

 

 

DOVE is still offering its food pantry Thursdays between 10 am and 2 pm. 

 

You can get contact the DOVE hotline, which again is available 24 hours a day during this stay at home, at 217-935-6072. 

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Midwest Governors Announce Partnership To Reopen Regional Economy

ILLINOIS AND A HANDFUL OF OTHER MIDWESTERN STATES ARE COORDINATING EFFORTS TO REOPEN THE REGIONAL ECONOMY. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE’S TALKING WITH LEADERS IN STATES LIKE WISCONSIN, MICHIGAN AND INDIANA…EXCHANGING IDEAS ABOUT WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO START GETTING BACK TO NORMAL.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THAT INCLUDES STABILIZING THE RATE OF INFECTION AND HAVING MORE TESTING AVAILABLE.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THAT SHOULD INCLUDE SUSTAINED CONTROL OF THE RATE OF NEW INFECTIONS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS AND BEST PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING IN THE WORKPLACE.

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Illinois Experiences Deadliest Day from Coronavirus

ILLINOIS SUFFERS ITS HIGHEST DAILY DEATH TOLL IN THE BATTLE AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS. 

 

125 MORE LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST TO COVID-19. THAT BRINGS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF DEATHS TO ONE THOUSAND 72. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THEY LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VIRUS EACH DAY.

 

 

EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THEY WILL GET A BETTER READ ON SPREAD OF THE VIRUS AS MORE TESTING BECOMES AVAILABLE.

 

 

THERE ARE NOW MORE THAN 25 THOUSAND CONFIRMED CASES OF CORONAVIRUS IN 90 ILLINOIS COUNTIES.

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Illinois Department of Public Health Learning More About Coronavirus

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says medical researchers are learning more about how coronavirus reacts in the body.

 

She says people are infecting others before the onset of symptoms and there is a specific time when someone with COVID-19 is the most contagious.

 

 

Ezike says battling COVID-19 is like running a marathon and we are on the right track. But she says we are not over this.

 

The state reported 1,140 new cases on Thursday and 125 deaths. It’s the first time the state has had more than a 100 people die in a day.

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Illinois Census About Half Done

People at a little more than half of Illinois addresses have answered calls to fill in the U.S. Census form. Until this week, the options have been to do it online or by telephone. Mail-in forms were sent out this week. 

 

Illinois Department of Human Services Census co-director Marishonta Wilkerson says by early this week, just under 53% of the addresses got responses. Since Census Day was two weeks ago, that doesn’t sound like a lot to those not involved in the census, but Wilkerson says it’s not bad.

 

 

Of course, people need to respond to the census soon to avoid in-person visits.

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Coronavirus Testing in Illinois Continues to Expand

The state is starting to follow through on the promise of more COIVD-19 testing. 

 

The Governor says that new stand up testing facilities are coming to more of the state, testing supplies are being made and provided with the help of the state’s universities. And once there are more testing sites the state is lifting a major roadblock to getting tested. JB Pritzker says you will no longer need a doctor’s orders to get a test.

 

 

The state has automated machines now up and working correctly at state labs. The five new machines should allow for thousands more tests to be completed each day.

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Local Coronavirus Figures: New Case in Piatt County, Logan Reports Fifth Case

Piatt County is reporting a new case of coronavirus Thursday afternoon.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is a 62-year old female who is a health care worker who works in Urbana and was exposed on the job.  She has no household contacts and is in quarantine currently following guidance for healthcare workers.  She will be monitored daily through the health department office and will continue monitoring at work when she is allowed to return.

 

In total, Piatt County has tested 97 individuals with five recovered and two pending cases. 

 

DeWitt County still has one individual recovered from coronavirus and 98 tests administered with seven tests pending.

 

Logan County has reported a fifth coronavirus case, however, the Health Department indicates there is confusion currently about if the individual will be considered a Logan County case going forward because the individual is an inmate at Logan Correctional Center and was tested in Aurora on April 14.

 

Two individuals who tested positive for coronavirus in Logan County have recovered.

 

Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,140 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 125 additional deaths.

 

In total, the Department of Public Health is reporting a total of 25,733 cases, including 1,072 deaths, in 90 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

 

92-percent of the State's coronavirus cases continue to be in the Chicago area with 23,580 in Chicago and the surrounding counties. 

 

122,589 individuals have been tested in Illinois. 

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DeWitt County Sheriff Concerned If Stay At Home Order Extended

DeWitt County's highest-ranking law enforcement official is concerned about how much more the public can tolerate if a stay at home order is extended at the end of the month.

 

Earlier this week, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker hinted at modifications to the stay at home order which is set to expire April 30 across many parts of the country, including Illinois. DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker wonders how much more DeWitt County folks can take, especially if the weather turns nice in the next few weeks.

 

 

According to Sheriff Walker, as time goes on and if the stay at home order gets extended, people will be less inclined to follow the order and they could see an increase in gatherings at private property.

 

 

The Sheriff wishes Governor Pritzker and his team would realize there is more to the State of Illinois than the northeast corner. He feels downstate residents are doing a good job of social distancing and it is reflected in the number of cases and fatalities south of Chicago. 

 

 

During the shelter from home decree, Sheriff Walker says the call volume for their office has been cut in half. 

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Local Coronavirus Figures

No new coronavirus cases Wednesday for DeWitt, Piatt and Logan Counties.

 

Testing increased slightly in all three counties. The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports 93 total tests administered in DeWitt County and 90 in Piatt County.

 

There are 85 negatvie tests in DeWitt County and 83 negative tests in Piatt County. Seven tests are pending in DeWitt County and two in Piatt County. 

 

In total, the two counties have six recovered individuals from coronavirus.

 

Meanwhile, Logan County has now administered 158 tests with four positive tests, two of those have recovered. There are 148 negative tests and six tests awaiting results.

 

The State of Illinois is approaching 1,000 fatalities from the coronavirus. The Illinois Department of Public Health Wednesday announced 1,346 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 80 additional deaths.

 

In total, 24,593 cases, including 948 deaths, in 89 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

 

22, 573 of the state's 24,593 cases are in the Chicago area, or 92-percent. 116,929 tests have been performed in Illinois. 

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Clinton Chamber Finding Ways to Support Small Businesses

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce has had to bring a lot of their operation to an abrupt halt because of the coronavirus but that hasn't stopped them from working for their member businesses and doing their part to support them.

 

Executive Director Marian Brisard told Regional Radio News Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show they are promoting businesses still providing services.

 

 

The Chamber's Lacy Phelps is working on promotional videos for area businesses during this time and Brisard is excited for the community to see those. Like the list of open businesses, the Chamber will be pushing these videos out over the next few weeks through their Facebook page.

 

 

Brisard is hopeful small businesses in the community will take advantage of grant and loan programs from the state and federal level. She feels the state and country's leadership has been working hard to protect small business owners from this situation.

 

 

In addition to the promotional things the Chamber is doing, Brisard says they are reaching out to members to see if there is anything the Chamber can do for them. 

 

You can also learn about businesses open and operating during this time by visiting dewittdailynews.com and clicking on the 'Businesses open and restaurants offering pick-up and/or delivery' tab for a comprehensive list of central Illinois businesses open right now. 

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Stimulus Check Information

Stimulus checks have started being distributed this week from the federal government as a part of the $2-plus trillion economic stimulus passed by Congress earlier this month amid the coronavirus impacts on the economy.

 

Many have started receiving those funds via direct deposit and Connie Unruh with DeWitt County TRIAD says those who file their taxes and receive their returns via direct deposit will receive those funds first.

 

 

If you have not received your check yet, the IRS has set up a website to receive that money via direct deposit. For those who do not file taxes and do not receive social security, they will need to visit the IRS website and file for direct deposit of their stimulus money. 

 

 

The stimilus package leaves some young people without money. According to Unruh, if youths who are 18-23 who are dependents on their parents' tax returns, the youths do not receive money nor do their parents. She says lawmakers are working to fix that gap.

 

 

Unruh says the best and most accurate information regarding the economic stimulus money coming to families is at irs.gov. 

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Packing Plants Shutting Down, Stressing Livestock Industry

Challenges continue to mount for the livestock industry as packing plants cease operations due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Mark Gebhards is with Illinois Farm Bureau.

 

 

In addition to the Smithfield plant in South Dakota being shut down, a hog processing plant and beef processing plant in Iowa have ceased operations due to COVID-19.

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No Mask Requirement for Illinois

Will the state start to mandate that people need to wear a mask or face covering when in public settings where social distancing can’t be maintained? Governor JB Pritzker says he’s talked about it to lawmakers and says its something to consider as a way to move into a new normal.

 

 

For now, Pritzker isn’t mandating that people start wearing a mask when out in public.

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Gov. Pritzker Continues to Call On Federal Government for Help

The state of Illinois is going to be paying a big price over the next few years when it comes to the economic fallout from coronavirus. Governor JB Pritzker says the state budget now looks very different from what he proposed in February.

 

The budget this fiscal year is projected to end with a $2.7 billion hole and the coming fiscal year is projected to be at least $6.2 billion short.

 

Looking at those massive shortfalls, Pritzker says help needs to come from the federal government.

 

 

The state has already instructed agencies to trim spending on non-essential items.

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Macon County Conservation District Still Open to Public

State parks may be closed but the Macon County Conservation District is open for people to come out and hike their trails.

 

Richie Wolf is the Executive Director of the Rock Springs Nature Center at the Macon County Conservation District and indicates the public is still welcome to hike their trails and bike on their bike path.

 

 

So why is the conservation district allowed to maintain its availability to the public but state parks are not? Wolf says it's simply a matter of the conservation district is a County run entity as opposed to a state-run entity.

 

 

If you come out this time of the year, there's plenty to see as we transition to spring. Wolf indicates wildflowers are blooming right now along with plenty of animal activity.

 

 

Among the events on the calendar canceled by the Rock Springs Nature Center is their annual Festival of Spring. Wolf says this is one of their biggest events of the year but is hopeful they will be able to welcome youth to the Conservation district this summer for their camp season. 

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State Fair Decision Coming Soon

The Governor has been clear about what people should think about large summertime gatherings. His hesitancy over keeping firm plans calls into question if the State Fair will be held in August. JB Pritzker says a decision on it and many other events will have to be made soon.

 

 

For now, the Illinois State Fair in Springfield is planned for August 13 to 23.

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Gov. Pritzker Consulting With Other Governors About Re-Opening State

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE’S TALKING WITH LEADERS IN OTHER STATES ABOUT HOW THINGS WILL EVENTUALLY RETURN TO NORMAL. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S SPOKEN WITH HIS COUNTERPARTS ON THE EAST COAST AND IN THE MIDWEST SO FAR.

 

 

HE’S ALSO LOOKING TO SEE IF THERE CAN BE SOME REGIONAL COOPERATION.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HIS PRE-CONDITIONS INCLUDE MORE TESTING, TRACKING THE VIRUS, TREATMENT AND PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AVAILABILITY FOR THE GENERAL POPULATION.

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Fiscal Costs Becoming Real in Coronavirus Fight in Illinois

The cost to fight COVID-19 is getting a bit clearer. Comptroller Susana Mendoza says Illinois has spent $174 million so far on supplies including ventilators, N95 masks and two cargo flights from China to get many of those items to Illinois. Ventilators were costing the state up to $65,000 each. 

 

Governor JB Pritzker says that was the going rate during a global pandemic.

 

 

The list of expenses can be found at Illinois Comptroller dot gov.

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Curve Bending in Illinois

The state of Illinois reported 1,222 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. The number of new infections has held close to what’s been reported each day over the past 8 days.

 

That’s a good sign says Governor JB Pritzker.

 

 

The state also shared hospitalization data and it shows that fewer hospital beds are in use now as compared to April 6th and more ICU beds are now available.

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All Five Piatt County Coronavirus Cases Have Recovered; Logan County Reporting Two of Their Four Coronavirus Cases Recovered

All five individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Piatt County have recovered, while in Logan County, two of the four individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus have recovered.

 

The Logan County Health Department updated its figures Tuesday afternoon and they now have a 50-percent recovery rate. Additionally, they are up to 157 individuals tested and eight tests are awaiting results, with 145 negative tests.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports zero active cases in the county with one resident who is being treated in Chicago. Currently, 85 individuals have been tested and one test is pending.

 

In DeWitt County, the Health Department reports 85 individuals tested with three tests pending and the single individual that tested positive has recovered. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 1,222 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 74 additional deaths. In total, there are 23,247 cases, including 868 deaths, in 88 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

 

Of the 23,247 cases in Illinois, 21,335 are in the Chicago area, or 92-percent. 

 

110,616 tests have been conducted in Illinois. 

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Local Health Officials Weigh in on Coronavirus Latest

Local health officials are optimistic about the developments of the coronavirus.

 

CEO of Warner Hospital in Clinton Paul Skowron believes we are at the halfway point but there is still a ways to go before we're out of the woods. He points out, DeWitt County's generally isolated geographic location is paying off in the low number of cases. 

 

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert says the rural nature of the area also helps in following social distancing guidelines.

 

 

Local emergency responders are taking advantage of the drive-through testing sites at various places in central Illinois Skowron indicates the testing numbers locally should soon increase.

 

 

Monday afternoons daily press briefing with Governor JB Pritzker and his staff focused a lot on the unemployed population as a result of the precautions taken from the coronavirus pandemic. Remmert says economic status is also a big factor in public health, pandemic aside.

 

 

Going forward, Skowron anticipates a resurgence of the coronavirus but feels the healthcare system will be better equipped to handle the demand because they will have tests that can render results much faster.

 

 

Looking ahead, Remmert indicates the economic situation is on his radar. He feels to develop an immunity to the disease as a society, we need to be exposed to it and that means getting back to work and life as normal.

 

 

With drive-through testing sites making the testing more accessible, he anticipates testing ramping up locally but he also anticipates antibody testing becoming more prominent soon as well. 

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Local Healthcare Workers Discuss Positives of Coronavirus

Looking for a silver lining in a time of great uncertainty and loss of life can be difficult but area healthcare workers are noticing a trend that will likely become more popular down the road.

 

Telehealth is a somewhat new concept in the field of medicine and local officials say the increased popularity of calling into your local healthcare provider might be something that gains momentum well after the coronavirus has been defeated. CEO of Warner Hospital, Paul Skowron says if it could get reimbursed at a Medicare/Medicaid level, this could be the next wave of healthcare.

 

 

Jessica Smiley at Heritage Behavioral Health Services says this would be a great option for people with limitations. For their clients, telehealth is helping them get through this time of social distancing.

 

 

Other telehealth options like hotlines have expanded during this pandemic for questions about mental health or the coronavirus. 

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Community Action Concerned With Job Losses Impacting Clients

Community Action's shift in focus to lifting their clients out of a cycle of poverty has proven to be successful as many have found themselves gainfully employed and out of poverty.

 

However, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to not only claim lives but jobs across the country, the central Illinois agency is concerned about it impacting their clients that have worked hard to get out of bad situations. Breann Titus told Regional Radio News Monday on the WHOW Morning Show, they are reverting to the crisis emphasis of their mission in their communities.

 

 

For the people of the many counties Community Action serves, they have been designated an essential business. According to Titus, they continue to offer home-delivered meals to seniors and their Head Start students. 

 

 

Titus believes the challenges that are being faced by many and the challenges that are sure to come are going to be a new type of adversity for their clients. She indicates their coaches are working hard to maintain contact with these individuals and families to encourage them through this time.

 

 

According to Titus, their 'Grow Me' app available for their clients will help them a lot during this time and keep them engaged and motivated through the adversity they are facing. 

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Sen. Anderson Urging Illinoisans Out of Work to Apply for Unemployment

A state lawmaker says do not hesitate. If you are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to file for unemployment immediately. State Senator Neil Anderson of the Quad Cities says it’s crucial to get into the system as quickly as possible.

 

 

Just Google search “IDES COVID-19 unemployment” to file an unemployment claim stemming from the pandemic.

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN PLANTING HAS STARTED AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

THERE WERE NEARLY FIVE DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK…LETTING FARMERS CONTINUE TILLING AND SPRAYING…AND BEGIN PLANTING SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

61 PERCENT OF THE WINTER WHEAT CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, WHICH IS ABOUT THE SAME AS LAST WEEK. 

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS SIX PERCENT SHORT, 79 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 15 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Rep. Marron Wants Governor To Address State from Capitol

Governor JB Pritzker has been giving daily updates on the state’s response to COVID-19 every day since March 9th. But most of those have happened in Chicago.

 

Downstate Republican Rep. Mike Marron says that he hears from people who would like to see the Governor talking about Illinois from the Capitol.

 

 

The last time Governor JB Pritzker held a press briefing outside of Chicago was on March 16th.

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Public Health Director Says Unemployment Will Cause Health Problems Too

The state announced 1,173 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois yesterday along with another 74 deaths connected to COVID-19. 

 

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says she has been tracking both the health of those affected by COVID-19 and those who aren’t sick. She says job loss will impact many in Illinois and they need support too.

 

 

Ezike reminds people that the Call for Calm text line is up and running. Text Talk to 5-5-2-0-2-0 and a qualified counselor will call you back in 24 hours.

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Illinois GOP Calling on Governor to Get IDES Moving

People are having a hard time getting signed up for unemployment benefits. The state says from March 1st to April 4th that the Illinois Department of Employment Security took 513,173 initial unemployment claims, that’s 24,000 more claims than were filed last year. 

 

House GOP Leader Jim Durkin says he’s hearing daily from constituents about being unable to file for benefits. Durkin says he’s been asking the Governor’s office for weeks about how IDES can react faster to a widespread economic crisis hitting Illinois families and just before his press conference started the Governor’s office released a pile of stats on how hard IDES has been working.

 

 

IDES says that employees have logged 6500 hours of overtime and increased call center capacity by 40 percent. The Governor’s office says that gig economy workers will be able to claim benefits by May 11.

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Illinois State Police Files Emergency Rules To Address FOID Renewals

The Illinois State Police has filed emergency rules to address renewal relief of Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cards and Concealed Carry Licenses (CCL) during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

State Representative Bryant of Murphysboro sent a letter to Governor JB Pritzker on April 6th asking that he take executive action to extend expiration dates for FOID cards as well as CCL’s. She says she’s pleased to see a response for relief so quickly.

 

 

These new rules are effective immediately. You can see a full list of the new rules at isp.state.il.us under ISP News.

 

Rep. Bryant says if your renewal is under review, print a paper copy or save that proof to your phone as to not take any chances while carrying your firearm or buying ammunition.

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Governor Says IDES Has Taken Steps to Help Get Illinoisans Unemployment Benefits

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS WORKING TO MEET UNPRECEDENTED DEMAND FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY RECEIVED MORE THAN HALF A MILLION UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS FROM MARCH FIRST THROUGH APRIL 4TH. TO HANDLE THE INFLUX, THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE STATE HAS BROUGHT IN RECENTLY RETIRED EMPLOYEES AND EXPANDED DAILY CALL CENTER HOURS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THEY HAVE ALSO EASED ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS AND WAIVED THE WEEK PEOPLE USUALLY HAVE TO WAIT TO GET BENEFITS. HOUSE REPUBLICANS SAY THEIR OFFICES HAVE BEEN INUNDATED WITH COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE CLAIM FILING PROCESS.

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS MORE THAN 513 THOUSAND UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS WERE FILED BETWEEN MARCH FIRST AND APRIL FOURTH. THAT’S MORE THAN THE TOTAL NUMBER FILED FOR ALL OF LAST YEAR.

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Governor Hints at Changes Beginning May 1

The state has a stay at home order until May 1st. That means non-essential businesses will remain closed for the next two weeks and no school too. But after that, what might Illinois look like? 

 

Governor JB Pritzker says by May 1 there certainly could be changes to his executive order.

 

 

Pritzker notes both the public’s economic and physical health will have to be considered when reopening Illinois.

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Local Coronavirus Figures

Piatt County is reporting two recovered cases of coronavirus, bringing their active positive case total to three.

 

Meanwhile in DeWitt County, there is still one recovered individual with five tests currently pending out of 76 total tests administered. 

 

Piatt County has seen 75 individuals tested.

 

Logan County today reported its fourth positive case of coronavirus. Nearly 150 individuals have been tested and 12 tests are pending.

 

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 1,173 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 74 additional deaths.

 

Now over 105,000 individuals have been tested in Illinois and there are a total of 22,025 cases statewide. Of those cases, 20,276 cases are in the Chicago area, or 92-percent. 

 

McLean County has 72 confirmed cases, Macon County 42, Champaign County 87, and Sangamon County 48. 

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Logan County Records Fourth Coronavirus Case

Logan County has received word of its fourth coronavirus case.

 

Kara Davis with the Logan County Department of Public Health tells Regional Radio News the individual is a female in her 50s. The County is just short of 150 individuals tested as of Monday afternoon, something she attributes to people taking advantage of drive through testing.

 

 

Davis encourages County residents to continue to practice social distancing to slow the spread of this disease locally.

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Community Action Reminding to Complete Census

While your thoughts may be flooded by the global pandemic, Community Action is reminding the community of the importance of completing the census.

 

Breann Titus, CAPCIL Agency Development Director, indicates the Census this year can be completed online for the first time and the questions asked are purely demographics.

 

 

Titus states the main question of the Census is to determine the number of occupants at each address. She says the questions asked on the Census are to document what each population looks like at this point.

 

 

Titus notes CAPCIL uses the Census information for the many resources they provide to communities. She says to make sure the community gets the funding for nonprofit organizations as well as libraries and schools there needs to be an accurate Census count.

 

 

A walkthrough of filling out the Census can be found on the CAPCIL Facebook page.

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Online Video Training Available for Parents, Teachers and Schools for Teen Social Media Safety

A national expert in child online safety had an upcoming presentation at the Vault postponed due to the coronavirus, however, he is highlighting his online resources for parents, teachers, and students that covers similar information.

 

Detective Rich Wistocki indicates his website, Cyber Parenting 101, offers an online class for parents. The website also offers video presentations for teachers and students.

 

 

Det. Wistocki says the website is updated every year to keep up with the everchanging trends of which social media platforms teens are currently using.

 

 

Educators who are interested in online school packages can contact Det. Wistocki at www.besureconsulting.com.

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Mahomet-Seymour Schools Remote Learning Plan

Schools were one of the first entities in Illinois to be impacted by action from the government to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

In mid-March, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker shut down schools in one of the first swift actions he took to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Illinois. Dr. Lindsey Hall is the superintendent at Mahomet-Seymour Schools and says they had the blessing of their students being on spring break the week after the Governor's announcement, which allowed them to begin planning.

 

 

Dr. Hall says her staff has been stellar through this unprecedented time and feels there was great cooperation and participation to make this new way of teaching work. She feels one of the positives of the situation for schools has been the ability to make decisions at a local level rather than having a cookie-cutter approach.

 

 

Assessing students and capturing their progress is going to be as challenging as ever and Dr. Hall indicates they are going to have to accept the challenges and the discomfort in this process. With that in mind, she says they have put together three guiding principals. 

 

 

Dr. Hall encourages parents and caregivers of their kids to just take a deep breath and not get stressed or frustrated over this process. She reminds everyone this is only temporary and there will be a return to school eventually.

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Mental Health Help Now Text Away

Medical health has been on everyone’s mind lately. But what about a critical part of how people feel – their mental health. The state is trying to support people feeling anxious or worse. Right now, if you text TALK to 5-5-2-0-2-0 a qualified counselor will call you back within a day and it’s all free.

 

 

It’s being called CALL FOR CALM. You can also text things like unemployment or food to the number and a phone call will be made to help. That number is 5-5-2-0-2-0.

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Gov. Pritzker 'Cautiously Optimistic' about Coronavirus Numbers

Gov. Pritzker says today's coronavirus numbers reflect the hope that Illinois is starting to bend the curve.

 

In his daily COVID-19     press briefing on Easter Sunday, Gov. JB Pritzker indicated the number of tests administered this weekend is the highest yet with 7,956 administered.

 

 

The Governor says today's numbers provide evidence that Illinois is starting to stabilize the curve.

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,672 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 43 additional deaths.

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Ameren Officials Reminding Residents to Call Before You Dig for Any Spring Outdoor Projects

It’s almost gardening season again. If you are looking to dig out a new garden, Ameren is reminding you to call before you dig.

 

Brian Bretsch with Ameren says it’s state law to call JULIE before you dig, and helps keep you and those around you safe.

 

 

Ameren officials say JULIE calls are up 125% compared to 2019, but they also have found that many people still don’t know about the free service.

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Peoria Lawmaker Calling on Parks To Be Open in Certain Areas

A state lawmaker says citizens should be allowed to utilize the state’s expansive outdoor trail systems at this time. 

 

State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria says not for congregating in, but for movement—like walking/running, biking, or equestrian activities. All state parks are shutdown at this time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, but Weaver says there should be some latitude in some areas. He has sent a letter to Governor J.B. Pritzker on the issue.

 

 

Weaver says his request would be confined to those counties where local officials and site superintendents have indicated they believe it is safe to do so.

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Tips to Avoid Scammers When it Comes to Stimilus Checks

Coronavirus stimulus checks from the federal government will be sent out in the coming weeks, but that means scammers are on the prowl to hack your information.

 

The DeWitt County TRIAD is a group that works to keep seniors physically, financially and emotionally safe. Here’s TRIAD President Connie Unruh (UN-rew).

 

 

She says the best place for accurate information regarding stimulus checks is the IRS website - IRS.gov.

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IDNR Offers 'Wild About Illinois' Podcast Series

With everyone looking for new entertainment options, IDNR has a few ideas.

 

IDNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert indicates their website offers many resources for parents and teachers to utilize including video podcasts, activity books and more.

 

Cut: idnrpodcasts1         :33         Cue: to utilize

 

The podcast series can be found online at http://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education

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Gov. Pritzker Announces Mental Health Texting Hotline, Remote Telehealth Services

If you are experiencing feelings of stress or uncertainty during this time, Gov. JB Pritzker encourages you to reach out to the state's mental health support line.

 

In his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Saturday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Illinoisians can contact the state's mental health texting hotline, Call 4 Calm, to speak to a mental health professional. The service is free to use.

 

Gov. Pritzker also announced a remote patient monitoring program for those with COVID-19 than can recover at home. The program is currently available in Southern Illinois through the SIU School of Medicine and in Central Illinois through OSF.

 

 

The Call 4 Calm hotline can be reached by texting TALK to 552020. The SIU hotline is (217) 545-5100 and is available starting Monday. The OSF hotline is (833) 673-5669 and is available now.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

The DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department reported no new cases of coronavirus on Saturday.

 

DeWitt County has administered a total of 71 tests with 67 negative, three pending, one recovered, and zero active cases.

 

Piatt County has administered a total of 74 tests with 69 negative, zero pending, two recovered and three active cases.

 

Logan County has administered 130 total tests with 122 returning negative, five pending, and three active cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,293 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 81 additional deaths.

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Trout Season Underway in Illinois

Trout season in Illinois opened April 4.

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Rachel Torbert indicates while locations were stocked with trout as planned, anglers should check with each location to see if they are currently open or have a delayed opening.

 

Cut: torberttrout1         :37         Cue: concerns about public health

 

Stocked locations can be found at http://ifishillinois.org.

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Scovill Zoo Seeking Donations During Pandemic

While zoos are closed to the public until social distancing is lifted, one way to support them is through donations.

 

Ken Frye, Scovill Zoo director, indicates the zoo's main source of revenue during the spring season is through families visiting the zoo and school field trips. With the zoo being closed during the stay at home order, Frye says they are thankful for the donations they have received during this time.

 

 

Frye says in addition to zoo memberships, another way to support the zoo is through animal adoptions

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Donations to Scovill Zoo can be made through the Decatur Parks Foundation or call the zoo at (217) 421-7345.

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Secretary of State Jesse White's Office is further extending expiration dates

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE IS FURTHER EXTENDING EXPIRATION DATES FOR ILLINOIS DRIVER’S LICENSES.

 

ONCE ILLINOIS DRIVER SERVICES FACILITIES REOPEN…YOU’LL HAVE ABOUT AN EXTRA THREE MONTHS NOW TO RENEW YOUR LICENSE, I-D CARD OR VEHICLE REGISTRATION SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON DAVE DRUKER.

 

 

DON’T BE STRESSED IF YOUR LICENSE, I-D CARD OR VEHICLE REGISTRATION IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON DAVE DRUKER. THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED.

 

 

DRUKER ALSO POINTS OUT THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS YOU CAN GET DONE ONLINE AT: CYBER DRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM. DRIVER SERVICES FACILITY ARE SCHEDULED TO REOPEN MAY FIRST BUT THAT COULD CHANGE BASED ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

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Community Bankers Association of Illinois talks ag and SBA funding

The Community Bankers Association of Illinois providing some clarity on the Paycheck Protection Program and Small Business Administration funding as it relates to the ag industry. Jerry Peck is the group’s senior vice president of government relations.

 

 

Peck says there are many options to consider and he encourages customers to reach out to their community banker to find out which programs best suits their needs.

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Weekly Weather Summary

While April started off warmer than average, a late season cold will start this weekend and continue into next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the latest...

 

 

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Gov. Pritzker Announces Expanded Testing

Gov. JB Pritzker announced new testing sites to combat racial disparities.

 

During his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced four new testing sites in the South and West side of Chicago and three in the Metro East. The tests will be sent to Lurie Children's Hospital and Anderson Hospital in Madison County.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker announced a South Suburban drive-thru testing facility that will open next week. The existing drive-thru sites will run through local and state labs for faster results.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says the state has 2,000 hotel rooms outside of Chicago for individuals that need to self-isolate when the local health department's alternative housing options have been exhausted.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says the state is working to be sure their testing plans reflect equity in access.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

The DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department reported no new coronavirus cases on Friday.

 

DeWitt County has had 69 tests with 66 negatives, two pending, one recovered and 0 positive cases.

 

Piatt County has tested 74 individuals with 69 negatives, zero pending, two recovered and three positive cases remain.

 

Logan County has tested 114 with 104 negatives, 7 pending, and still have 3 positive cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,465 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 68 additional deaths.  

 

Fulton and Greene counties are now reporting a case.  Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 17,887 cases, including 596 deaths, in 83 counties in Illinois.  The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  

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Lincoln High School Superintendent Outlines Remote Learning Plans for Remainder of School Year

In anticipation of the Governor's office shutting down schools the remainder of the year, Lincoln High School made the decision earlier this week to get ahead of such an order and issued a notice they will be doing remote learning for the remainder of the year.

 

Superintendent Dwight Stricklin says this was something they felt was worthwhile to give their students and parents peace of mind and know exactly what the future will hold for their education.

 

 

According to Stricklin, they are trying to take an unfortunate situation and turn it into a positive for their students. During the remote learning phase, a student's grade cannot drop, it can only improve, so they are hoping students will take advantage of that.

 

 

Lincoln High School adopted an e-learning plan for school cancellations before the school year and Stricklin feels that set them up to adapt to this remote learning plan while students are away from the building because of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

For students that were failing a class at the March 13 closure of schools, teachers are required to reach out to those students and create a plan for them to have the opportunity to improve their grades. Stricklin points out they are trying to take a negative and turn it into a positive. 

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Miller Media Group Asks Listeners to Submit "Good News"

The Miller Media Group radio stations in Clinton has announced it's set up a new e-mail address for listeners to its stations, and readers of its on-line daily newspaper dewittdailynews.com, to share "Good News" stories.

 

These stories can be about a single act of kindness, something a family member did, something a community member did for someone, or that a group or organization did for someone that's worthy of being a "Good News" story.

 

Information shared thru the special e-mail address, which is:  goodnews1520@randyradio.com, will be turned into news stories that will air in local newscasts on WHOW THE BIG 1520/92.3 & 106.5 FM, and WEZC "Your EASY Choice!" 95.9 FM, and also shared on-line at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Listeners can either send an e-mail to that address, or click the link to that e-mail on dewittdailynews.com.

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Wednesday Storms Wreak Havoc on Central Illinois Communities

Downed power lines, roofs damaged, power outages and knocked over trees were just some of the results of a strong line of thunderstorms that roared through central Illinois Wednesday evening.

 

DeWitt County EMA Coordinator Micah Gallardo says the southwest portion of the county received the most damage where they received reports of downed trees and downed power lines. Portions of the County lost power but he says most of those areas have had power restored. 

 

 

Maroa City Administrator Ted Agee indicates the storm damaged lots of rooftops in their community. He indicates they had uprooted trees and he estimates 30-percent of their homes received some sort of roof damage.

 

 

Piatt County EMA Director Mike Holmes indicates they had five small fires around their county, downed power lines, a tree that was knocked over on railroad tracks and a farmhouse and barn destroyed. Power for some residents was not expected to be restored until Thursday evening. 

 

 

911 Coordinator in Piatt County, Tim Furman tells Regional Radio News they experience issues with communications with their first responders for a short time because of a power surge that overwhelmed all their backups.

 

 

Among the damage and wind reports that were called into the National Weather Service in Lincoln, include were:

 

Winds clocked at the Decatur Airport during the 5 o'clock hour Wednesday afternoon, at over 60 miles an hour, as well as at the Weather Service Office in Lincoln.  Wind gusts were clocked at 75 miles an hour 2 miles west of Bement. 

 

Numerous tree and power pole damage reports came from Warrensburg, Argenta, Mount Pulaski, Kenney, Clinton, and Bement.

 

2 tractor-trailers overturned on Interstate 55 north of Lincoln.

 

Power poles were down on Primm Road on the south side of Lincoln near Railsplitter State Park.

 

And, the Top Flight Grain Elevator 3 miles south of Maroa was damaged by high winds.

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Piatt County Reporting Fifth Coronavirus Case; Logan County Its Third

Piatt County is reporting its fifth coronavirus case as of Thursday afternoon and Logan County is reporting their third.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports a 56-year old female started having symptoms on March 21 and tested at a drive-thru clinic in Champaign on March 30.  She started self-isolation that same day. Results were received today (Thursday).  All household contacts are in a quarantine period until Saturday.

 

DeWitt County remains with zero active cases, a recovered case, five pending tests, and 58 negative tests.

 

Piatt County has administered 67 tests with 62 negatives and zero pending tests as of Thursday afternoon.

 

Logan County Thursday is reporting its third positive test. The Logan County Health Department has administered a total of 114 tests, 104 have returned negative and there are seven pending.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,344 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois Thursday, including 66 additional deaths. Illinois' total coronavirus fatalities are now 528. 

 

Illinois is now up to 16,422 confirmed cases with 15,117 in the Chicago area. (85%)

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Encore Developmental Services Maintaining Through Coronavirus

Encore Developmental Services has closed down their day services to their clients and the thrift store is also closed for the coronavirus.

 

Executive Director Stephanie Coonce on the Thursday WHOW Morning Show indicates their services have been curtailed and they are encouraging their clients to be as isolated as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

Financially, Encore is going to be able to sustain themselves during this time. Coonce indicates after their reduction in services four years ago, they have been able to build up their reserves and are in a much better place to handle this shutdown.

 

 

The closure is concerning for Coonce because so many of their clients rely on their daily routine and that has been abruptly interrupted. She says they are continuing to help their clients in a limited capacity where they can.

 

 

Part of their funding from the Department of Health and Human Services is they have to maintain paying their employees, so Coonce says their staff continues to receive a paycheck during this time. 

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Clinton Police Chief Indicates Call Volume Down During Stay At Home Order, Concerned That May Change

So far, the stay at home order from Governor JB Pritzker has resulted in a quieter call volume for local authorities but Clinton's Chief of Police is weary that may change going forward. 

 

Chief Ben Lowers indicates their call volume has been reduced since the stay at home order came from the Governor's office, however, times are very uncertain as millions are losing jobs every week, creating stress and anxiety.

 

 

Crimes of a domestic and abusive nature have not reared their ugly head yet however, Chief Lowers is concerned those could increase with another three weeks of people being mandated to be home. 

 

 

While the stay at home order could be difficult to find an outlet to leave for someone in an abusive situation, Chief Lowers encourages not letting that stop them from reaching out. 

 

 

Chief Lowers says when folks are stuck inside, crime does not stop and the public can be less aware of any issues. He encourages neighbors to be cognizant of things happening in a home nearby where a disturbance may be taking place and he hopes the public will be alert to those things. 

 

He says this time is a recipe for an increase in domestic issues and points anyone who wants to, to reach out to either the police or a domestic violence group like DOVE. 

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Monticello Chamber Introducing Online Business Gift Card Buying Program

Monticello businesses will have the chance to sell gift cards to the community through a new program being introduced by the Monticello Chamber of Commerce.

 

Chamber Executive Director Shelly Stock indicates at their website, monticellochamber.org, will soon have a feature to buy gift cards to local businesses. She says this is a great way to support a local business even if you can't get out right now to patronize them.

 

 

According to Stock, the gift cards are similar to the Chamber Bucks program, however, the Chamber Bucks program does not put cash in the business pockets until they get used.

 

 

Stock says this is a great way to show appreciation to teachers and healthcare workers while supporting local businesses at the same time. 

 

 

Stock indicates the monticellochamber.org for information regarding this program. She hopes to have it up and going in the next week.

 

Also at their website, you can find information about what businesses are open and what services they are offering. 

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More Social Media Scams

If you have seen the recent social media coupon offers for any of a number of national fast-food restaurants, don’t click on the link. The Better Business Bureau has reported these scams numerous times in the past, and with more people looking for ways to kill time, these social media scams are apparently revving up again.

 

The scams are easy to create and can target thousands of people at once due to how users interact with pages, post, and contacts. BBB investigator Don O'Brien says that when you shared that link, you may have exposed your friends and family too.

 

 

He says you can protect yourself from these scams by: checking the business’s official Facebook page and see if the same coupon appears; checking the business’s website to see if they are offering the same deal; never pay money for a coupon; check for spelling errors; and beware of sales on hot items with an expiration date. Scammers capitalize on that sense of urgency, trying to rush people so they don’t think about whether it’s a legitimate deal.

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Illinois Sees Another Big Increase in Coronavirus Cases

ILLINOIS IS SEEING ITS LARGEST JUMP IN COVID-19 NUMBERS. 

 

TROUBLING FIGURES ARE BEING ANNOUNCED…MORE THAN 15-HUNDRED NEW CASES AND 82 ADDITIONAL DEATHS. BUT STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THERE IS A GLIMMER OF HOPE.

 

 

DR. EZIKE, SAYS EVERYONE MUST CONTINUE TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS, EVEN DURING RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS.

 

 

STILL…DOCTOR EZIKE SAYS PEOPLE MUST BE VERY VIGILANT….STAYING HOME IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, WASHING HANDS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING FROM OTHERS. MORE THAN 15 THOUSAND PEOPLE IN ILLINOIS HAVE NOW TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE CORONAVIRUS.

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Coronavirus Testing Falling Short in Illinois According to Gov. Pritzker

About a week and a half ago the Governor said the state would be testing 10,000 people a day for COVID-19. That number has stalled at 6,000 a day and JB Pritzker says the buck stops with him. 

 

He says the problem has been a slower than expected roll-out of robots at state labs to help run more tests each day and a lack of access to Abbott Labs 15-minute test. Pritzker says they are working hard to get the robots to properly load testing materials in machines and although he was promised access to Abbott’s tests… those items were scooped up by the Federal Government and then reapportioned.

 

 

Pritzker said he had an agreement to get 88,000 tests a month from Abbott before the fed’s redirected the test to private labs.

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Piatt County Sheriff Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Piatt County Sheriff Dave Hunt tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

The Piatt County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook Wednesday night Sheriff Hunt is in quarantine and requests prayers from the public for a speedy and full recovery.

 

According to the post, the Sheriff began showing symptoms on March 27 and self-quarantined at that time. When his symptoms worsened, he was tested at the hospital where he was released the same day.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is in contact with him each day.

 

Piatt County has four confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning. 

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Severe Weather Causes Damage, Power Outages in Regional Radio Area

The Regional Radio listening area was hammered with severe weather Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening, with trees, power poles, and barns blown down.

 

Among the damage and wind reports that have come into the National Weather Service in Lincoln, include:

 

Winds clocked at the Decatur Airport during the 5 o'clock hour Wednesday afternoon, at over 60 miles an hour, as well as at the Weather Service Office in Lincoln.  Wind gusts were clocked at 75 miles an hour 2 miles west of Bement.

 

Numerous tree and power pole damage reports came from Warrensburg, Argenta, Mount Pulaski, Kenney, Clinton, and Bement.

 

2 tractor trailers overturned on Interstate 55 north of Lincoln.

 

Power poles were down on Primm Road on the south side of Lincoln near Railsplitter State Park.

 

And, the Top Flight Grain Elevator 3 miles south of Maroa was damaged by high winds.

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Weather Service Issues Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Listening Area Until 9pm; Large Hail, Tornado Possible

 

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire Regional Radio listening area until 9 o'clock tonight.

 

The Weather Service says the strongest storms are expected to produce very large hail – golf ball sized or larger – and damaging wind gusts of at least 60-70 miles an hour.

 

A brief tornado can not be ruled out, particularly in east central and southeast Illinois later this evening. 

 

The Weather Service suggests you be ready to seek shelter in a sturdy building if warnings are issued for your location. 

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and taylorvilledailynews.com for the latest weather information.

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Weather Service Issues Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Listening Area Until 9pm; Large Hail, Tornado Possible

 

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire Regional Radio listening area until 9 o'clock tonight.

 

The Weather Service says the strongest storms are expected to produce very large hail – golf ball sized or larger – and damaging wind gusts of at least 60-70 miles an hour.

 

A brief tornado can not be ruled out, particularly in east central and southeast Illinois later this evening. 

 

The Weather Service suggests you be ready to seek shelter in a sturdy building if warnings are issued for your location. 

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and dewittdailynews.com for the latest weather information.

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Kenney Fire To Host Annual Blood Drive Friday

Taking numerous precautions, the Kenney Fire Department is hosting their annual Good Friday Blood Drive this Friday.

 

Troy Lashbrook with the Kenney Fire Department indicates despite the coronavirus outbreak, the blood drive will still go on with several precautionary measures being taken to ensure the safety of all participants and Red Cross workers.

 

 

Fritz Robinson with the Fire Department says the need for blood right now is urgent and coronavirus or no coronavirus, situations are going to arise where people are going to need blood.

 

 

Robinson and the Fire Department announced Wednesday they are not going to be accepting walk-in donors for this Friday's blood drive. Robinson is also asking anyone with an appointment already scheduled to please take advantage of the Red Cross' rapid pass program. That is to be complete the day of the drive and get individuals through quicker. 

 

Additionally, participants are encouraged to bring any PPE they feel necessary for them. 

To make an appointment, you can visit redcrossblood.org or contact Robinson at 217-620-5407 or Troy Lashbrook at 563-321-0416. 

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DeWitt County Resident That Tested Positive For Coronavirus Declared 'Recovered'

The DeWitt County resident that tested positive for the coronavirus last week has been declared recovered by the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, bringing the county's active cases to zero.

 

The Health Department indicates DeWitt County now has zero active cases, 52 negative tests, and seven pending tests, categorizing the individual's case as 'recovered'.

 

In Piatt County, there are 54 negative tests, two pending and zero new cases, keeping their total at 4.

In total, 120 total tests have been conducted between the two counties.

 

The Logan County Health Department has tested 96 individuals with four tests awaiting results, 90 negative tests, and their two positive cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 1,529 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 82 additional deaths.  

 

The State's total fatalities are now 462 and 15,078 total positive tests out of 75,066.

 

13,042 of the state's 15,078 cases are in the Chicago area. (86%)

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Clinton City Council Members Weigh In on Coronavirus

The Clinton City Council held a conference call council meeting Monday night and Council members are urging the public to stay safe during this time.

 

Mayor Roger Cyrulik issued a statement late last week and echoed his thoughts Monday night asking residents to abide by the stay at home guidelines and the social distancing guidelines. The Mayor is calling on the community to support susceptible individuals during this time.

 

 

Commissioner Dan Ballenger thanked the first responders who continue to put their lives on the line during this pandemic and says you can anticipate fire officials to wear personal protective equipment as they respond to emergencies.

 

 

The Council's meeting was limited to just essential business including the reapproval of the engineering contract for the Center Street project that is being adjusted because bids for the project came in higher than expected in March. 

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Illinois Receives Donation from California

The state of Illinois has been working to acquire more ventilators to have on hand to help support critically ill COVID-19 patients. Governor JB Pritzker says the state has ordered 3,620 ventilators, obtained 600 from the federal government and received 100 ventilators yesterday on loan from the state of California.

 

 

Pritzker says recent state data reports that 27 percent of all ventilators in the state were being used by COVID-19 patients. 

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Governor Pritzker Not Ready to Address Regional Stay At Home Order

As Illinois reports 13,549 cases of COIVD-19 in the state, 90 percent are in 7 counties surrounding Chicago. Some in the rest of the state are wondering if the counties or areas with few cases need to social distance and “stay at home” for at least the rest of April. Governor JB Pritzker says that cases are spreading around Illinois and right now he’s not ready to bring a regional approach to his executive decision to stay at home.

 

 

Randolph County has the fourth most cases per 100,000 residents in the state. 25 counties so far don’t have a confirmed case of coronavirus.

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Logan Correctional Center Confirms 5 Coronavirus Cases

The Logan Correctional Center has reported five confirmed cases of coronavirus in its facility.

 

Four cases are within the staff while one is confirmed as an inmate.

 

Logan County today announced its second case of coronavirus. Regional Radio News has learned at least one case is a Logan County resident however it remains unclear if the other three will be considered Logan County cases.

 

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Lincoln High School To Shift to Remote Learning For Remainder of School Year

In anticipation of direction from the state or federal government to keep kids out of school for the rest of the year, Lincoln High School will shift to remote learning for the remainder of the school year. 

 

The unit district announced a plan to mobilize remote learning for the remainder of the school year. Prom and the spring musical have been canceled at Lincoln High School. If the stay at home mandate extends beyond May 1, it is likely the spring sports season will be canceled according to a school release.

 

Additionally, graduation will be postponed until more information is released regarding the stay at home guidelines from the stay. 

 

Superintendent Dwight Stricklin cites the predicted apex of coronavirus cases in Illinois being a few weeks out and is asking parents of the district to stress the importance of social distancing.

 

This story will be updated.

 

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Piatt County Announces Fourth Positive Test; Logan County Confirms Second

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting the County’s fourth positive coronavirus test today.

 

A 50-year old male received testing at Kirby Medical Center and is now quarantined in his home. He is in contact with health officials daily. 

 

The Piatt County four cases do not include a Piatt woman who is in Chicago was tested, treated and is recovering there. Health Department Executive Director Dave Remmert indicates she is not being included in the Piatt total.

 

DeWitt County remains at one case with 55 total tests administered and 50 negative results and five pending. 

 

In Piatt County, 56 tests have been conducted with 50 negatives and two current pending tests. 

 

Remmert indicates it may take a while for the Illinois Department of Public Health figures to reflect the accurate count of cases if you visit their website.

 

The Logan County Health Department is reporting its second case of coronavirus. They have tested 92 individuals and are waiting on eight test results with 82 total negatives. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,287

new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 73 additional

deaths.

 

12,294 of the state’s 13,549 cases are in the Chicago area and Illinois now has experienced 380 fatalities.

 

91-percent of coronavirus cases are in Chicago.

 

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Weather Service Says Severe Weather Possible Today and Tomorrow

 

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has indicated there is a risk of strong to severe storms this evening into early overnight across central and southeast Illinois, with the best chances of severe storms this evening along and east of a Bloomington to Decatur to Charleston/Mattoon to Lawrenceville line. 

 

Additional strong storms are possible Wednesday evening, ahead of a cold front. Large hail and damaging winds are the main concerns on both days. Once this front passes, the threat of any severe weather will end for several days. 

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and dewittdailynews.com for the latest weather information.

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Logan County Health Department Provides Update on Coronavirus Testing

The Logan County Health Department reports still only a single positive case as of Tuesday morning.

 

Kara Davis tells Regional Radio News they are still testing and have administered 80 tests and nine are pending with their single case from last week. In Logan County, the process to get testing remains to contact your healthcare provider and follow their instruction. 

 

 

Angie Stoltzenburg with Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln believes Logan County is doing a good job of following the social distancing guidelines. While there are pockets of people still gathering, she believes overall things are good.

 

 

Drive-up testing sites are beginning to grow in numbers in central Illinois. Davis explains if you want to get tested, you are allowed to do so at those sites however, there are circumstances where the cost of that test would come out of pocket. 

 

 

Davis and Stoltzenburg encourage the Logan County community to continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines and the stay at home order. 

 

Stoltzenburg also directs anyone who may be experiencing a difficult time from an emotional or mental standpoint to contact their emotional support line at 214-588-5509. 

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

Testing in DeWitt and Piatt Counties are now up over 100 administered.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department has now reached 102 tests with a total of 94 negative tests. There are three pending tests in DeWitt County to just one in Piatt County. 

 

Piatt County's total positive tests reached three today and DeWitt County remains just one from last week.

 

Logan County still has a single positive test according to the Logan County Health Department. 80 tests have been administered in Logan County with nine pending as of Monday afternoon.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 46 cases in McLean County, 62 in Champaign County, nine in Macon County and 31 in Sangamon County. 

 

IDPH today announced 1,006 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 33 additional deaths.  

 

87-percent of the state's 12,262 cases are in Chicago, or 10,636. 

 

62,972 individuals have been tested in Illinois. One in five tested in Illinois returns a positive test for coronavirus. 

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Things Have Dried Out But April Still Looking to Be Wet

Despite things having dried out a bit the last few weeks, the National Weather Service says that trend won't last

 

James Auten at the National Weather Service office in Lincoln says things have dried out in recent weeks. He says if you've got outdoor activities to be done, take advantage of the nicer days ahead.

 

 

As we get through the Easter weekend and beyond, Auten indicates things are going to cool off and bring chances for above-normal precipitation.

 

 

There are chances for severe weather in the north and eastern portions of the state this week. Auten adds, if you were hoping for a white Easter, the chances are not looking favorable, unlike a few years ago when there was snowfall on Easter Sunday. 

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First Weekly Crop Report of 2020

ILLINOIS FARM FIELDS ARE STILL FAIRLY WET AS WE HEAR IN THE FIRST WEEKLY CROP REPORT OF THE SEASON. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER HAS MORE....

 

 

SCHLEUSENER GIVES AN UPDATE ON WINTER WHEAT IN ILLINOIS.

 

 

PASTURE CONDITIONS ARE RATED AT 60 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT 71 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 29 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Congressman Davis Calling on Governor Pritzker To End Finger Pointing

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's blame of the federal government's slow response to the coronavirus is becoming a regular mention in his daily press briefings and a federal lawmaker is hoping that ends.

 

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis believes the time for blame and evaluation will after this virus has been defeated. He believes the President is being transparent standing up in front of the media every day answering questions.

 

 

Davis says the federal government has delivered millions of pieces of personal protective equipment to Illinois and believes Governor Pritzker should be appreciative of those deliveries.

 

 

According to Congressman Davis, no one saw this coming and believes everyone, including himself, could have worked for a better stockpile of supplies. He points out, they will be prepared for something like this down the road.

 

 

Davis points out China continues to not act as a good global player in this situation and believes the world needs to react accordingly in the future. He says they also cornered the marketplace buying up PPE. 

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Burn Rate of PPE In Illinois Hospitals Will Be In Millions Over Ten Days

PPE stocks are precious in Illinois. It’s being used in hospitals in to protect nurses and doctors as they treat COVID-19 patients, first responders need it as they work with the public, nursing home staff use it when caring for elderly residents.

 

Governor JB Pritzker says over the peak 10-day period coming for the state's healthcare system millions of items will be consumed.

 

 

Pritzker says the state has ordered 10 million N95 masks, 14 million KN95 masks, 29 million other medical masks along with 22 million gloves. There are millions more masks, gowns and other items under order or being delivered too.

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Governor Pritzker Continues Back and Forth With President Trump

The continued back and forth over healthcare equipment and materials between Governor JB Pritzker and President Donald Trump continued Monday when Governor Pritzker updated the State of Illinois on the status of supplies in the state.

 

Governor Pritzker, citing information from the website of the Strategic National Stockpile, says the language of the website has changed since last month. He says they continue to be short of the requested materials from the Federal Government.

 

 

According to Governor Pritzker, his administration has not relied on the White House and have taken on their own initiatives to get equipment. He says they are doing everything they can.

 

 

The Governor says the coronavirus is targeting people of color because of the disproportionate availability of healthcare in communities of color, something he says have been going on for generations.

 

 

Tomorrow's (Tuesday's) forecast is expected to be very appealing to get outside and enjoy good spring weather with your family and friends, but Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike is hoping Illinoisans will simply stay inside and stay home.

 

 

Governor Pritzker touts his administration's testing expansion by adding drive through testing facilities. He says they are getting to where they want to be but they are not there yet and touts the hospital capacity expansion they have done in recent weeks. 

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Piatt County Reports Two More Cases of Coronavirus; DeWitt County remains at One Despite Confusion

Piatt County has reported two additional cases of coronavirus.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert tells Regional Radio News, two females have tested positive. One is a 32-year old healthcare worker and the other a 47-year old female in Cook County.

 

 

Many wonders why the identity of these individuals cannot be released. While there are laws against such action, Remmert also fears the backlash these individuals would face if their identities were released.

 

 

The case of the Piatt County that is in Cook County is one that could ultimately end up being one of their tallies down the road. Remmert says that decision will likely be up to the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is still reporting just a single case in DeWitt County despite the IDPH website showing three Monday afternoon. Remmert indicates one of those is still counting the college student at Mizzou and that case will soon be transferred to Missouri. 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Director Encouraging Local Seniors To Stay In

The leader of the DeWitt County Friendship Center is encouraging local seniors to stay in as much as possible.

 

The more we learn about the coronavirus the more it becomes apparent the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the primary victims of this disease. That is why Paula Jiles is encouraging seniors to stay in and ask for assistance if they need anything.

 

 

Diane Cusey with Community Care Systems says now could be a good time to get to know that electronic device you have and stay in touch with your kids and grandkids at their level. 

 

 

Last week, the Friendship Center received a $10,000 donation of Save A Lot grocery gift cards and Jiles indicates they are hoping seniors will contact them to go grocery shopping for them and keep them out of one of the busiest destinations the country has right now.

 

 

During the stay at home order, Cusey and Jiles are staying busy at the Friendship Center doing a little remodeling. Jiles indicates she is working on stripping the walls of the wallpaper and they are doing some painting with seniors out of the building.

 

In the meantime, if seniors want to inquire about the donation of Save A Lot grocery gift cards or to have someone run a few errands for them, contact Jiles at the Friendship Center at 217-935-9411. 

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DCDC Promoting Revolving Loan Fund To Help Struggling Small Businesses

The United States Department of Agriculture has lifted some of the restrictions around their revolving loan fund for small communities who may have struggling businesses.

 

The loan is administered locally through the DeWitt County Development Council and their Board President David Torbert says the loan can be used for payroll now to help their employees maintain a normal lifestyle during this time.

 

 

The USDA has temporarily lifted the restriction for a small business to use their loan for payroll. Torbert indicates a small business owner still needs to obtain a loan from a lender because the revolving loan fund is still a gap fund.

 

 

Governor JB Pritzker has opened up several loan and grant opportunities to small businesses of downstate Illinois as well. 

 

Torbert points anyone with questions or wanting more information to visit dcdc-illinois.net. You can also reach out via the DCDC Facebook page. 

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Governor Pritzker Remains Frustrating With Lack of Cooperation with Stay at Home Order

Governor JB Pritzker is showing mounting frustration at some of the responses to the following stay at home orders and guidelines for social distancing.

 

The city of Chicago had to shut down the lakefront and two major walking and biking trails to keep people from congregating and the Adams County Health Department has recently reported two large parties had been held on March 21 and 27 after stay at home orders were given.

 

There are now people confirmed with COVID-19 who attended those gatherings.

 

 

The state reported more than 2,300 new cases on Saturday and Sunday along with 64 additional deaths.

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Truckers Can Take Advantage of Overweight Waiver During Coronavirus Pandemic

Some more clarification for the trucking industry as it relates to moving supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards says there is an overweight waiver now in play.

 

 

More information on the waiver is available on-line through fmcsa.dot.gov.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting one new case of coronavirus Sunday.

 

The Department reports 42 total tests administered in DeWitt County with 38 negative results, two pending and the one positive from Thursday.

 

In Piatt County, 43 tests have been administered resulting in 41 negatives, none pending and two positive results from. The second case is a 37-year-old female who was symptomatic and tested positive on April 2 at a drive-thru testing event held in Champaign. She is quarantined in her household with her family. A 74-year-old male also tested positive in Piatt County but is considered a Michigan case since he is a Michigan resident. He is currently hospitalized locally and contact tracing will be conducted to ensure that local contacts remain quarantined for 14 days according to IDPH Guidelines.

 

Two of the three cases reported by the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department are recovered and are being monitored.

 

Meanwhile, the Logan County Health Department has tested 74 individuals with 65 negative tests returned, eight pending and the single case from Thursday.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health Sunday announced 899 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 31 additional deaths.
 

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Gov. Pritzker Gives Update on Childcare

Gov. JB Pritzker gave an update on childcare for essential workers during his daily COVID-19 press briefing Sunday.

 

Gov. Pritzker indicated all essential workers now qualify for the state's Child Care Assistance Program effective April 1.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says there are currently over 550 childcare centers and 1,500 home childcare providers providing childcare under the Emergency Childcare Center License.

 

 

The Governor also announced the state while be paying enhanced reimbursement rates for emergency childcare centers. The state is also providing one time stipends to childcare providers.

 

 

More information on emergency childcare for essential workers is available at www.coronavirus.illinois.gov.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 899 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 31 additional deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 11,256 cases, including 274 deaths, in 71 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Receives $10,000 in Save A Lot Gift Cards

An anonymous donor dropped over $10,000 worth of Save A Lot gift cards for the DeWitt County Friendship Center to disperse to community members in need.

 

Executive Director Paula Jiles says her jaw was on the floor when she heard about the donation. Now she is asking community members who are in need to reach out and inquire about receiving the support.

 

 

Jiles stresses she wants the gift cards to end up with community members that need help during what is likely a tough time for many in the community as job losses continue to pile up as the coronavirus pandemic grows.

 

To get information on the Save A Lot gift cards, contact Jiles at the Friendship Center by calling 217-935-9411. 

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Coronavirus Even Impacting The Weather...Forecasts

As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has seemingly effected all aspects of our lives, but did you know it's even effecting how meteorologists predict the weather?   Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more... 

 

 

 

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Anderson Ford Offering Free Oil Changes For Healthcare Workers

If you're a healthcare worker, Anderson Ford in Clinton wants to say thank you.

 

Any local healthcare workers are eligible to receive one free oil change at Anderson Ford in Clinton.  Randy Anderson, owner of the dealership, says it's their way of saying thank you to those on the front lines.

 

 

The offer is available through April 10th.  Anderson stresses that their service department is taking every precaution, and notes they will even arrange to pick up the selected professionals vehicle.

 

 

In fact, Anderson says the entire dealership has seen extensive changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

To learn more about Anderson Ford's offer of a free oil change for healthcare workers, contact the dealership and ask for Ryan or Dan at 217-935-3106.

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DCDC Promoting Revolving Loan Fund To Help Struggling Small Businesses

The United States Department of Agriculture has lifted some of the restrictions around their revolving loan fund for small communities who may have struggling businesses.

 

The loan is administered locally through the DeWitt County Development Council and their Board President David Torbert says the loan can be used for payroll now to help their employees maintain a normal lifestyle during this time.

 

 

The USDA has temporarily lifted the restriction for a small business to use their loan for payroll. Torbert indicates a small business owner still needs to obtain a loan from a lender because the revolving loan fund is still a gap fund.

 

 

Governor JB Pritzker has opened up several loan and grant opportunities to small businesses of downstate Illinois as well. 

 

Torbert points anyone with questions or wanting more information to visit dcdc-illinois.net. You can also reach out via the DCDC Facebook page. 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Director Encouraging Local Seniors To Stay In

The leader of the DeWitt County Friendship Center is encouraging local seniors to stay in as much as possible.

 

The more we learn about the coronavirus the more it becomes apparent the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the primary victims of this disease. That is why Paula Jiles is encouraging seniors to stay in and ask for assistance if they need anything.

 

 

Diane Cusey with Community Care Systems says now could be a good time to get to know that electronic device you have and stay in touch with your kids and grandkids at their level. 

 

 

Last week, the Friendship Center received a $10,000 donation of Save A Lot grocery gift cards and Jiles indicates they are hoping seniors will contact them to go grocery shopping for them and keep them out of one of the busiest destinations the country has right now.

 

 

During the stay at home order, Cusey and Jiles are staying busy at the Friendship Center doing a little remodeling. Jiles indicates she is working on stripping the walls of the wallpaper and they are doing some painting with seniors out of the building.

 

In the meantime, if seniors want to inquire about the donation of Save A Lot grocery gift cards or to have someone run a few errands for them, contact Jiles at the Friendship Center at 217-935-9411. 

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Gov. Pritzker on State Agencies During Pandemic

Gov. JB Pritzker says many state workers are on the frontlines during this pandemic.

 

In his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Saturday, Gov. JB Pritzker indicated while many state agencies have directed their employees to work from home, several state workers have jobs that cannot be completed from home.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says state agencies have put in procedures at state facilities regarding visitors and employees. Online and phone services have been increased for those state agencies that have closed their offices.

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,453 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 33 additional deaths.  

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Bustos Discusses Economic Stimilus Package Timing

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says one of the main questions she has been hearing is when will stimulus checks be arriving. She addressed that issue during a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

 

 

Bustos believes there will likely be need for another economic stimulus package before the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.

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New "All In Illinois" Website Aims to Reinforces State's Stay at Home Message

THE NEW “ALL IN ILLINOIS” STATEWIDE INITIATIVE AIMS TO REINFORCE THE STATE’S MESSAGE TO STAY HOME.

 

CASES OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN ILLINOIS HAVE RISEN TO MORE THAN 76-HUNDRED AND 157 PEOPLE HAVE NOW DIED. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THE “ALL IN” CAMPAIGN URGES THE PUBLIC TO FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING AND STAY AT HOME ORDERS.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE NEW "ALL IN" CAMPAIGN HAMMERS HOME THAT POINT.

 

 

THE WEBSITE IS: ALL IN ILLINOIS DOT GOV AND INCLUDES SEVERAL PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM FAMOUS ILLINOIS NATIVES.

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Department of Public Health Tracking Recovery Rate of Coronavirus

The daily number of cases and deaths because of COVID-19 reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health is growing.

 

But the Director of the IDPH wants you to know that still the overwhelming number of people who are sick with coronavirus make a full recovery. Dr. Ngozi Ezike says the IDPH is trying to track recovery rates in confirmed cases.

 

 

The most recent count from the state was 715 cases and 16 new deaths. In total now its 7,695 cases and 157 deaths.

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Illinois State Police Discuss Child Abuse Prevention Month Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

With everyone in a shelter from home decree, it is likely domestic violence and child abuse cases are going to increase in Illinois.

 

Illinois State Trooper Mindy Carroll is the Central Region Public Information Officer for the Illinois State Police and says April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

 


According to Carooll, 680,000 were victims of child abuse and neglect in 2019.  

   


Despite a difficult time, Carroll says we need to come together as a community to help protect those who can’t protect themselves.

 


If you suspect a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed please call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE.

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Air-Bridged Flights Not Taking State Purchased Supplies

The state has bought millions of dollars of supplies needed for the continued medical response to COVID-19 but getting them from China to Illinois or even the United States isn’t so easy. 


Governor JB Pritzker says that he has been on the phone to airline CEO’s and others in the import-export business to try and get Illinois’ supplies moving. Pritzker says he thought that the much-touted Air Bridge flights the White House has been talking about could be used to move the state’s PPE to the US.

 

 

Shipped on a plane goods arrive in the US in 12 to 14 hours after leaving China, items that are put on an ocean-going freighter take between 20 and 40 days to arrive.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting no new cases of coronavirus Friday.

 

The Department reports 34 total tests administered in DeWitt County with 31 negative results, two pending and the one positive from Thursday.

 

In Piatt County, 38 tests have been administered resulting in 33 negatives, four pending and a single positive result from Thursday.

 

Meanwhile, the Logan County Health Department has tested 61 individuals with 51 negative tests returned, nine pending and the single case from Thursday.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health Friday announced 1,209 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 53 additional deaths. The highest single-day total since testing began.

 

Christian County is reporting its first fatality from coronavirus, a female in her 80s. 

 

In total, there are 210 fatalities of coronavirus in Illinois and now 8,904 total cases.

 

48,048 individuals in Illinois have been tested. 

 

7,946 of the 8,904 cases of coronavirus are in the Chicago area, roughly 84-percent.

 

Around one in five individuals tested is returns a positive result. 

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Clinton Mayor Addresses First Coronavirus Case in DeWitt County

Thursday afternoon, the first case of coronavirus in DeWitt County was confirmed by the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department. 

 

Friday afternoon, Clinton Mayor Roger Cyrulik addressed the public through a press release.

 

Mayor Cyrulik says quote - "It is important for all of us to realize, now more than ever to pay attention to what the experts are telling us of what we can all do to assist, during this event. As the President of the United States and the Governor of the State of Illinois along with all of the medical experts keep telling us we need to maintain Social Distancing if you have to go out and the Stay At Home suggestions to keep everyone as safe as possible. If you read some of the stats the chances of you being a carrier could be fairly great, which it is wise to Stay at Home, when at all possible, to avoid you coming in contact with one of your loved ones or neighbors."

 

The DeWitt County case is a 52-year old female who is currently in isolation.

 

As of Friday afternoon, DeWitt County had 31 negative tests, two pending and the single confirmed case for a total of 34 administered tests.

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Clinton Youth Baseball Coach Apologizes for Team Practice That Set Off Social Media

A Clinton youth baseball coach's practice at Wallace Fields in Clinton Thursday evening set off a social media outrage over the gathering that totaled roughly 20 individuals. 

 

The Coach of the Clinton Rams traveling youth baseball team, Tony Douglas, says he takes full responsibility for the practice and did not mean to divide the community. He explains he put out an invitation for a non-mandatory practice not thinking many kids would show up but turns out, the whole team wanted to get out and play.

 

 

Authorities became aware of the situation at around 6 pm however Douglas says no police ever came to the fields to break them up. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers tells Regional Radio News he has been in contact with all parties involved, the issue has been resolved and believes this will not happen again. 

 

The Clinton Rams traveling team is not affiliated with the Clinton Youth Baseball league.

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IDOC Releases Statement on Coronavirus Outbreak

After 2 requests for a phone interview with Regional Radio News regarding how Illinois prisons are handling the coronavirus outbreak, Illinois Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Lindsey Hess e-mail'ed us late yesterday afternoon, saying she could not grant our request.  Hess did release a written statement which said the following:


"Our response to COVID-19 continues to be deliberate and aggressive. We are taking vigorous steps to protect our staff and men and women in custody from this disease, including thoroughly reviewing those who are eligible for early release, appropriately quarantining or isolating men and women in custody, and equipping staff with personal protective equipment. Our top medical and security personnel are stationed at our statewide command post resolutely working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our facilities. We continue to work closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Emergency Management Agency to ensure we are following all guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control. 
 
"The Department has taken a number of steps to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including, but not limited to:
 
• On March 20, all correctional facilities statewide were placed on Administrative Quarantine with restricted movement.
• On March 14, the Department suspended visitation at all correctional facilities. 
• Facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being placed on lockdown with only emergency medical movement. 
• Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being provided to all staff statewide. 
•We are working with the Governor’s Office and Prisoner Review Board to thoroughly review individuals who are eligible for early release.
• The Department modified its Pandemic Influenza and Continuity of Operations plans.
• Hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, and cleaning supplies are being made available to all staff and incarcerated individuals. We are closely monitoring our supply levels at each facility and are in close communication with our vendors to maintain adequate inventory.
• All staff are being screened and having their temperature checked at arrival to their correctional facility.
• All interagency transports have been suspended with the exception of medical and mental health appointments, and emergency transfers. 
• Per Governor Pritzker’s executive order, all county jail intakes have been suspended.
• All correctional facilities and transport vehicles are being routinely cleaned and disinfected.
• Staff and incarcerated individuals are being encouraged to practice good health habits, including hand-washing.
• We are communicating regularly with staff and people in custody to ensure they feel safe."
 
Hess added that IDOC will continue to monitor this fluid situation and adjust their procedures as necessary. 

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Local Health Officials Encourage Community to Stay Course on Social Distancing

Thursday the first cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in DeWitt and Piatt Counties but local health officials say social distancing is still working in Illinois and beyond.

 

CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services Paul Skowron remains pleased with the way the community continues to follow the guidelines of state and federal officials. He points out the peak of this virus is predicted around mid-April for the country and about April 20 for Illinois.

 

 

According to Dave Remmert, Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, while it could be easy to panic right now, he is hopeful residents will stay calm and continue to follow the recommendations of state and federal experts as we work our way through this situation.

 

 

President Trump's coronavirus task force updated the country on statistics and predictions based on models Tuesday afternoon and both Skowron and Remmert believe with vigilant and intentional social distancing, we will get back to normalcy sooner.

 

 

Skowron believes Illinois is ahead of the curve in taking action for social distancing. He hopes everyone keeps up the social distancing and takes it seriously. 

 

 

Skowron and Remmert say the process to get tested remains for individuals to call their healthcare provider first before showing up. They also note testing is going to continue for symptomatic individuals. 

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Sixth Judicial Circuit Extends Hearing Postponements

The administrative order delaying several types of court proceedings within the Sixth Judicial Circuit has been extended.

 

Karle Koritz, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, issued an emergency administrative order Tuesday afternoon extending the order to April 30th.  The original order restricted courthouse operations and placed limitations on the types of cases to be heard.  Only the most serious of cases are being heard currently.

 

In addition, the order issued Tuesday also states that all jury trials within the circuit are continued until no earlier than May 18th.  

 

In a statement, Chief Judge Koritz felt the orders should be extended for the protection of the courthouse staff and public in conformity to state and federal guidelines.  

 

The Sixth Judicial Circuit is composed of DeWitt, Macon, Piatt, Champaign, Moultrie, and Douglas counties.

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DNR Promoting Online Learning Materials During Shelter From Home Decree

Providing more learning opportunities is the theme of the next several weeks for DNR officials.

 

Spokesperson Rachel Torbert indicates they have lots of online learning materials for teachers or parents to access to have their kids to do. The DNR Division of Education has plenty of activities and hands-on experiences to try.

 

 

For additional materials, Torbert points folks to the Illinois State Museum for social studies lessons. Even though the museum is shut down, there are still plenty of things online to be done.

 

 

According to Torbert, the Illinois State Museum is offering several activities surrounding one of its most popular yearly events. She says the event is going to take on a digital form this year and hopes they get good participation.

 

 

Follow the Illinois State Museum on Facebook and Twitter. Torbert says on Twitter, they have themed activities on each day you can follow. Torbert says their education division continues to develop their curriculum so teachers can utilize some of those resources during this shelter from home period that has students away from school. 

 

You can also get further DNR educational resources at dnr.illinois.gov. 

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

DeWitt, Logan and Piatt Counties reported their first cases of coronavirus Thursday.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department indicates besides the two new positive cases they are reporting, DeWitt County has 25 negative tests with two pending.

 

In Piatt County, there are 30 negative tests with three pending.

 

The Logan County Health Department is reporting 38 negative tests and 12 pending. They have administered 51 tests.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 32 cases in McLean County, 43 in Champaign County, two in Macon County and 18 cases in Sangamon County.

 

he Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 715 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 16 additional deaths.

 

In total, there are now 7,695 cases, including 157 deaths, in 61 counties in Illinois.

 

88-percent of the state's cases are in the Chicago area.

 

43,656 Illinoisans have been tested. Around one in six individuals tested comes back positive. 

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Logan County Reporting First Coronavirus Case

The Logan County Health Department is reporting the county's first coronavirus case.

 

The confirmation came today. 

 

There are 51 total individuals tested and 12 tests are currently pending. 

 

Logan and Piatt Counties also received their first positive tests Thursday.

 

Initial attempts to reach the Logan County Health Department for comment were unsuccessful. 

 

This story will be updated.

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DeWitt, Piatt Counties Report First Cases of Coronavirus

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported Thursday afternoon the first two cases of coronavirus, one each in DeWitt and Piatt Counties.

 

Executive Director Dave Remmert indicates the DeWitt County resident is a 52-year old female, currently in isolation and the Piatt County resident is a 22-year old healthcare worker.

 

 

The two individuals will now quarantine themselves and Remmert indicates they will begin working to contact trace.

 

 

For individuals that are showing signs of coronavirus, whether you get tested or now, Remmert recommends self-isolation.

 

 

Testing at this time is still only recommended for symptomatic individuals at the recommendation of a doctor. Officials say to contact your healthcare provider before trying to go to the Health Department or local hospital for testing. 

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Coronavirus Not Slowing Car Burglaries in Clinton

The stay at home order and social distancing is not slowing thieves in Clinton.

 

The Clinton Police Department saw a rash of car burglaries this past weekend and Police Chief Ben Lowers is reminding residents to lock your cars. He says this is the best way to keep from becoming a victim.

 

 

With so many restrictions in place for things to do during free time during a shelter from home decree at the state level, residents will be itching to just get out when the weather is nice and Chief Lowers says it is never a coincidence when the weather first shows signs of turning, their call volume increases.

 

 

Technological innovations have led to doorbell cameras becoming increasingly popular and more affordable. Chief Lowers indicates those are great resources for homeowners and they can be sometimes great resources for crimes that may happen near homes with those cameras.

 

 

If a vehicle you own has been burglarized but nothing - from what you can tell - has been taken, Chief Lowers says it is still worth calling the police so they can at least track where these events are taking place.

 

Again, the Chief reminds residents the best and the first line of defense against these crimes is to simply lock your doors and remove valuables from your vehicles. 

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Illinois Public Health Director Says Deaths Will Rise But Stay The Course

The state reported 986 new coronavirus cases in Illinois yesterday. It’s the second time in three days that more than 900 new infections were reported. It was also announced that 42 more people died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

 

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says while the state and Chicago haven’t yet seen the hundreds of deaths a day like New York City has. The number of deaths is going to rise over the coming days.

 

 

Illinois now has 141 deaths and cases in 56 of the 102 counties.

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Governor Promotes Census

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues other issues still to need to be addressed. That includes the pending US Census. The every ten-year effort on the behalf of the Federal Government to count everyone in the United States. 

 

Wednesday was Census Day and Governor JB Pritzker says by now you should have received a letter in the mail showing you how to reply via the internet. And he adds, counting every man woman and child means a lot to future of Illinois.

 

 

Pritzker says the state is still prepared to spend millions on getting the count right. But now the plan changes because door to door efforts are being curtailed due to the spread of coronavirus and social distancing.

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Clinton, DeWitt County Governing Bodies Adjusting to Social Distancing Mandates

Social distancing mandates are forcing local government units to adjust how the business will get done in April.

 

For the DeWitt County Board, not everything will get adjust because Board Chair David Newberg explains they can still hold committee meetings and be under the 10-person gathering limit, however, the County Board meetings will have to adjust.

 

 

According to Tim Followell, City Administrator for the City of Clinton, the City Council is going to try out a conference call style meeting. He indicates City Council meetings push the 10-person in a gathering limit so this will allow them to still conduct meetings.

 

 

Followell notes the City Council is going to limit their agenda to needed items only until these social distancing restrictions are lifted. He points out there are some crucial business items the     Council will be taking up next Monday, April 6.

 

 

Both assure the public they will continue to take care of the business of the City and County and make sure things move along during a time that is new for everyone. 

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Governor Pritzker Joins US Governors to Open Special Enrollment Period for ACA

Governor JB Pritzker and United States Governors of both parties have requested the federal government to open up a special enrollment period into the Affordable Care Act.

 

Wednesday, Governor Pritzker indicated the bipartisan call was made as there are thousands of Illinoisans that are uninsured and could benefit from such action.

 

 

Feedback on such a request has been negative so far from the White House and Gov. Pritzker called the decision 'leadership malpractice'.

 

 

Governor Pritzker took the opportunity to blast the President for continuing efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act but reminds Illinoisans whose jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus, they are eligible to enroll now.

 

 

Governor Pritzker indicates there are over 1,100 retired healthcare professionals and healthcare workers from out of state to help fight the pandemic locally. He says they are also continuing to work with healthcare students nearing their graduation or end of their programs to allow for early graduation so they can enter the field to help in the fight. 

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Local Coronavirus Numbers

With another day of nearly 1,000 new coronavirus cases in Illinois and 42 more fatalities, it was another day of zero confirmed cases in DeWitt, Logan and Piatt Counties.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department announced 22 negative tests for DeWitt County with three pending tests. In Piatt County, 26 administered tests are negative with four pending.

 

According to the Logan County Health Department, they are awaiting results of 15 tests and have 30 negative results.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 986 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 42 additional deaths.

 

90-percent of the state's 1,535 total cases are in the Chicago area, with 1,379.

 

11,485 Illinoisans have been tested. One in seven individuals tested return a positive result. 

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Postpones May Days

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the United States has led to the Clinton Chamber of Commerce postponing May Days.

 

The Chamber announced the decision Wednesday afternoon for the event scheduled for May 14-17 in downtown Clinton. 

 

Chamber officials indicate the event will be rescheduled for May of 2021. 

 

The Chamber has also had to postpone its annual Business Expo that was scheduled for last week.

 

The two events are annual fundraisers for the Chamber. 

 

More information can be obtained by contacting the Chamber at 217-935-3364. 

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