COVID-19 in Illinois: What you need to know about recent trends, news

As we start the month of August, the coronavirus pandemic continues to loom over the way of life for residents young and old in Illinois and the United States.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker traveled to multiple counties in the state to warn that residents and communities needed to remain vigilant in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Coaches and players around the state also received news about how the coronavirus would affect their upcoming school year for athletics.

On his Twitter account, Pritzker urged residents to wear a mask everywhere in public; avoid bars, restaurants or any enclosed space if it looks crowded; and keep 6 feet of physical distance.

Coronavirus in Illinois

Eleven counties in Illinois have been put on a state “warning level” for COVID-19, public health officials said Friday.

During the prior 24 hours, officials said there were 1,941 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois, and an additional 21 people with the disease had died, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The seven-day average statewide positivity rate is now 3.9%, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Since the pandemic began in Illinois, there have been 7,495 deaths, according to the state health department.

The state classifies a county as reaching a “warning level” when it sees an increase in at least two risk indicators under the state’s coronavirus resurgence mitigation plan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Coronavirus in the US

The United States has surpassed 150,000 coronavirus deaths, according to a New York Times database.

Dr. Anthony Fauci talked about the pandemic during a House coronavirus panel on Friday and discussed why other countries had succeeded in containing the virus while the U.S had not.

He said that most European countries shut their economy by 95%, while functionally the U.S. only shut down its economy by 50%, according to a CBS News report.

Fauci told lawmakers a “diversity of response” from states hindered the nation’s attempts to bring down virus case numbers, according to a USA TODAY report.

“There was such a diversity of response in this country from different states that we really did not have a unified (one) bringing everything down.”

IHSA announces a plan to move forward

We’re about to experience a fall without high school football season in Illinois.

The IHSA moved the popular sport to the spring season. The state deemed that football was a higher risk sport based on “the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play,” according to NBC Chicago.

Girls volleyball and boys soccer, both rated as medium-risk sports according to the officials, were also moved to the spring, the TV station and other outlets reported.

Lower-risk high school sports — boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross country and girls swimming and diving — will remain as fall sports.

What are school plans in the Peoria area?

School districts throughout Illinois have been tasked with trying to send students back to school safely later this month. There’s a lot of variety in how those school boards have chosen to operate.

Here are several approaches from school districts in the Peoria area: Click here to read.

How one woman overcame her pandemic problem

When the COVID-19 pandemic hampered Kristen Sydram’s photography business, the entrepreneur embraced a different passion to make a living: tropical house plants.

The Illinois State graduate has started selling the plants in Morton, Illinois. Here’s more on her story and her business called Your Plant Mum.

IESA changes course

The IESA reinstated its fall sports schedule in a special meeting of its board.

Baseball, softball and cross-country are scheduled to be played. Those sports are slated to begin practices on Monday but, under Illinois state health protocols, cannot begin playing games until Aug. 15. Contests scheduled for earlier than Aug. 15 will be canceled.

State Finals will not be held in those sports. No state champions will be declared. Golf will not have a regular season, but rather will stage a sectionals event in September.

The IESA, a statewide athletics and activities association serving elementary and middle schools, had canceled its fall sports schedule on July 23.

Information was used from the New York Times, USA TODAY, CBS News, Chicago Tribune and NBC Chicago in this report.