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News Around Illinois – March 27, 2020

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases Tops 2,500; Death Toll Now 26

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health says there are now 2,538 cases of COVID-19, a growth of 673 cases from Wednesday.  The death toll is now stands at 26. The newest deaths include a man in his 50’s, two men and two women in their 60s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 90s. Cases are now in 37 counties. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

Sharp Increase In Illinoisans Applying For Unemployment Claims

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois is seeing a surge in the number of people applying for unemployment benefits, which mirrors the record-high surge across the nation. The state Department of Employment Security says that as of Thursday, 133,763 unemployment claims had been filed so far this month. That’s nearly five times the number of claims filed during the same period a year ago. The sharp increase in jobless claims comes after Illinois reported a February unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, a new record low and lower than the nation’s unemployment rate for the second consecutive month. But that was before Illinois felt the impact of stay-at-home measures intended to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Sanitary Sewer Experts: Please Don’t Flush Disposable Wipes

CHAMPAIGN – With toilet paper being harder to find, more people are using and flushing disposable wipes. But officials with sanitary sewer systems in Illinois say that’s a bad idea. The makers of disposable wipes say they’re flushable. Karen Cotton with Illinois American Water says disposable wipes dissolve too slowly, creating problems for sewer systems and in residential plumbing. Illinois American Water operates wastewater systems in several Illinois towns, from Alton and Grafton along the Mississippi River, to towns in the Chicago suburbs. She says along with disposable wipes, grease and cooking oil can also cause sewer problems, and should not be poured down the drain. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Governor Tabs Obama Aide, His Sister, For COVID-19 Relief

SPRINGFIELD  — The Illinois governor has turned to a former member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet to raise money for those hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker says his sister, Penny Pritzker, is leading the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to assist nonprofit agencies battered by the pandemic. A Commerce secretary under Obama, Penny Pritzker took charge last week. She praised a bevy of cooperating businesses and organizations for $23 million already collected. J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K., have donated $4 million personally and through their family foundation. – Associated Press




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