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News Around Illinois – March 19, 2020

News Around Illinois Cover

Ill. Virus Cases Top 200, Include 42 Tied To Nursing Home

CHICAGO — Illinois officials say an additional 128 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, including 20 more individuals living or working at a nursing home in a southwestern suburb of Chicago. The additional results announced Wednesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health bring the state’s total to 288 cases in 17 counties. The patients have ranged in age from 9 to 91. Operations at Chicago’s Midway International Airport also remained limited Wednesday after technicians’ positive tests for the coronavirus prompted federal authorities to close the control tower. The city’s Department of Aviation urges travelers to check with their airlines about flight plans. – Associated Press

Health Providers Launch COVID-19 Hotlines, Digital Screenings, Drive-Thru Sample Collection

URBANA – Hospitals and clinics across east-central Illinois are seeing an uptick in calls from people concerned about the coronavirus. In response, many are developing tools to help answer questions and determine whether people need to seek medical care. Carle Health System has created new coronavirus screening tools for people experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Tools include an online survey to assess a patient’s risk and a dedicated COVID-19 hotline. OSF Healthcare has launched a virtual assistant chatbot on its website and has created a free text messaging tool. Christie Clinic now has a drive-thru for collecting samples from patients who may have the illness. Click here for more information. – Christine Herman and Dana Cronin, Illinois Newsroom

Visitation Restricted at Veterans Health Care Hospitals & Clinics

DANVILLE – To help limit the spread of the coronavirus, the VA Illiana Health Care System announced “no visitors of any age will be allowed to enter the medical center or CBOC facilities.” The policy includes the main facility in Danville and outpatient clinics in  Bloomington, Decatur, Mattoon, Peoria and Springfield. Exceptions will be made if the visitor is essential for supporting patient care activities or visiting a patient with grave illness or imminent death of a family member under care in the facility. Those visitors will be subjected to pre-screening prior to admission. Veterans who have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath are encouraged to call the nurse triage line at 1-888-598-7793, before visiting their provider at the VA medical center or local VA clinic. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Despite Virus Outbreak, Search For SIU Chancellor Continues

CARBONDALE — The search for a chancellor at Southern Illinois University will continue despite the coronavirus outbreak. The Southern Illinoisan reports that in a letter to faculty and other university stakeholders, President Dan Mahony said a search committee has been reviewing application materials and screening candidates for the past two months and recently settled on finalists. Mahony says the coronavirus pandemic will limit large face-to-face participation in campus interviews of finalists. Typically, chancellor candidates meet with various public interest groups on campus to introduce themselves and answer questions before a decision is made. – Associated Press

Neville Keeps Seat In Crowded Primary For Supreme Court

CHICAGO — Illinois Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr. has won the primary election to keep his seat on the high court. He’s emerged from a field of a six other Democrats. No Republicans ran, making him the presumed winner in November for the 10-year term. Democrat Charles Freeman, who died this month, held the post from 1990 to 2018, when he retired. He was the court’s first black judge. Neville, who is black, was appointed to finish the term. He was formerly a First District Appellate Court justice. The other challengers included five 1st District appellate justices and an attorney. – Associated Press

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