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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported a fifth McDonough County resident has died from COVID-19.  The IDPH said the woman was in her 60s.

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

Moline Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is promoting the Heroes Act after it passed in the House late last week. 

The city of Galesburg is considering joining the Restore Heart of Illinois phased reopening plan led by Peoria.

Rich Egger

When the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees met on May 6, Chairperson Polly Radosh warned the COVID-19 crisis is saddling Western with a new set of budget challenges.

Two county health departments are trialing a new “tech-based” approach to COVID-19 contact tracing. Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker Monday defended rules that lay out penalties for businesses disobeying statewide shutdown orders.

Pritzker’s office announced both St. Clair and Lake County’s health departments will use a “state-of-the-art” software platform that is designed to gather data from infected persons and track the virus in real-time. Another 95 counties will join them over the next few weeks.

Rich Egger

Mayor Mike Inman said the Illinois Municipal League provided the city with an estimate of how much revenue might be lost due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Frank Franklin II/AP

A new report from the University of Illinois' Institute for Government and Public Affairs identifies several ways the COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for health care workers and health care facilities.

The 11-county "Heart of Illinois" subregion plans to implement its own, speedier reopening plan independently of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan, which lumps Peoria in with the Quad Cities and Rockford in reopening phases.

Amy Mayer/Iowa Public Radio file

Pork processing fell nearly 40 percent following temporary closures at meatpacking plants across the Midwest last month. That's created a backlog of market-ready hogs, though the scope of the problem isn't as dramatic as some had feared.

The Confession window at St. Francis of Assisi doesn’t look all that different from a fast food drive-thru, except for a tiny sign taped to a traffic cone that reads “The Priest Is In.”

The Archdiocese of St. Louis halted most in-person services in March, as part of an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Soon after, priests at St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville devised a creative way to stay connected with parishioners: a drive-thru Confession window. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to reconvene to discuss an economic recovery plan for the state.

Pritzker said his administration has supported residents and small businesses by banning evictions, delaying tax filing deadlines, and expanding unemployment eligibility, but he said more work needs to be done to get the economy going.

AP PHOTO/CHARLIE NEIBERGALL, POOL

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said at a press conference Monday that she will follow a modified quarantine plan after a member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff tested positive for COVID-19.

A senior Pritzker administration staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and all employees in the Governor’s office are now working from home as a precaution.

COURTESY OF OSF HEALTHCARE

While emergency medical procedures have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, non-emergency or "elective" surgeries and medical procedures have been put on hold.

School districts across the state have been resourceful in coming up with ways to honor their high school graduates, as health regulations prohibit the typical ceremonies.  But some of those plans ran into roadblocks with the governor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Courtesy the CDC

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in McDonough County nearly tripled from May 1 to May 9. The figure stood at 18 on May 1. Now it's 49. 

Rich Egger

Voters in some parts of Iowa are responding in droves to a mailing from Secretary of State Paul Pate's office.

Illinois Road Projects Could Suffer Due To COVID-19

May 8, 2020

There may be fewer road construction projects and repairs around Illinois in the coming year as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

It started with the governor’s stay-at-home-order in late March.   Since then, fewer motorists have been hitting the roads. 

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Illinois Republican lawmakers are taking issue with Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan that outlines how officials plan to reopen the state's economy in five phases. 

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said state government has been extending help to communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic . The governor also offered a stern warning to employers failing to protect their employees from contracting the virus on the job.

On the same day the state announced a record number of COVID-19 deaths, Governor J.B.Pritzker released a five part regional plan, which would allow parts of the state to open up to more activity in the coming weeks and months.

An Illinois church is appealing a decision that upholds Governor J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order for religious gatherings.

Pastor Stephen Cassell with the Beloved Church of Lena sought a temporary restraining order so it could hold in-person services. Over the weekend, a judge ruled the governor’s order is constitutional in order to prevent mass infections and death. Senior Counsel Peter Breen is with the Thomas More Society, which is representing the church. He said the current limit on attendees in the coronavirus executive order violates religious freedom. 

RACHEL MUNCY BONNEY

A spokesperson for the ACLU of Illinois said courts have ruled that laws can be set in the name of public health, which makes Governor J.B. Pritzker's order on face coverings enforceable. 

Lisa Marlow is worried about her students. Marlow is a school nurse and educator with the Murphysboro Community Unit School District 186. 

The district serves primarily low-income students in a rural part of southern Illinois. 

When school is in session, Marlow says having eyes on students, especially those with chronic conditions like Type 1 diabetes or asthma, is crucial.

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois will start expanding contact tracing efforts designed to help map the spread of COVID-19.

Courtesy of Representative Hammond's office

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) wants Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker to consider a regional approach to reopening the state's economy.

Rich Egger

Thursday was the third consecutive day the McDonough County Health Department (MCHD) reported an outbreak of COVID-19 at a care facility.

Despite a number of legal challenges that have yet to be resolved, Governor J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will remain under a stay-at-home order, which takes effect Friday through the end of May.

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