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As hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain at record levels, hospitals that serve small towns and rural areas in Illinois are facing unique challenges.

Illinois will borrow $2 billion more from the Federal Reserve to pay bills associated with COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos says she has recovered from COVID-19.

Rich Egger

COVID-19 cases in Lee County are skyrocketing, prompting the county's Board of Health to issue a directive about mitigation efforts.

The Illinois High School Association has halted winter sports, at least for now.

As Illinois sees its 12th day of new reported COVID-19 cases over 10,000, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced new statewide restrictions on businesses, including shuttering casinos, movie theatres, banquet halls and museums across Illinois, and limiting retail store capacity.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos has tested positive for COVID-19.

The surge in online shopping is helping the U.S. Postal Service stay afloat financially, but the influx of packages is straining rural letter carriers across the country. 

An increase in online orders is projected to help the postal service run until September 2021. Ronnie Stutts, the president of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, says while the increase in mail is good, they are facing a worker shortage because a large percentage rural carriers are still on leave. 

Rich Egger

Parts of tri states continued to see sharp increases in the number of coronavirus cases between October 28 and November 5. The virus is blamed for 30 deaths in the region during that time period.

Sandra Martell is in a tough spot. As public health administrator in northern Illinois’ Winnebago County, Martell was threatened with lawsuits from several area bar owners after she included them on a list of businesses allegedly defying the governor’s orders to halt indoor dining.

The county is part of a region that faced tougher restrictions this month after the rate of positive COVID-19 tests rose above 8%.

A group of Springfield bars and restaurant owners say they’re taking legal action and refusing to follow new rules imposed by the governor shuttering indoor service after the west-central Illinois region saw a sustained rise in COVID-19 test positivity rates, triggering the restrictions.

UPDATED 5:45 p.m. | The high school basketball season will play on as planned despite a surge in COVID-19 cases across Illinois.

A screenshot from a video feed provided by the state of Illinois

During a visit to Champaign on Tuesday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the creation of two new manufacturing training academies in downstate Illinois.

High school basketball in Illinois along with hockey and wrestling won't take place as scheduled as the state struggles against a resurgence of COVID-19.

On any given day, rows of shackled inmates shuffle onto gray-and-white buses to be transferred between Missouri prisons.

State officials halted all regular weekly transfers in March to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, but the Missouri Department of Corrections has continued to accept inmates from local jails and relocate them statewide. Some inmates and criminal justice advocates contend the transfers led to an increasing number of cases this summer.

Courtesy the CDC

16 deaths in the region are blamed on the coronavirus in the past week, new outbreaks of the virus are reported in McDonough and Schuyler counties, and people were exposed to the virus at a dental center in Hancock County.

With Colder Weather, Challenges to Slow Spread of COVID-19 Will Grow

Oct 23, 2020
Natalie Krebs/Iowa Public Radio

Whitney Selix said so far, Lua Brewery in Des Moines, which she started with her husband a year ago, is surviving the pandemic.

Rich Egger

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said 34 counties across the state are at a warning level for COVID-19.  They include McDonough, Warren, Adams, Pike, and Cass counties in west-central Illinois. 

A coronavirus outbreak has been reported at a long-term care facility in Macomb; and an independent, nonprofit newsroom found the number of COVID-19 cases at a Monmouth meatpacking plant is much higher than previously announced.

Courtesy the CDC

The newest White House Coronavirus Task Force report says Iowa continues to have one of the nation's highest rates of new COVID-19 infections.

Bonnie Seifried used to sit outside her husband’s window every day.

The nursing home where Frank Seifried lived, the Woodlands of Arnold, stopped allowing in-person visits in March — so every morning, she set up a folding chair and a polka dot umbrella under a tree outside.

Seifried sat with her husband for hours, separated by a thick layer of glass, writing out messages to him on a little whiteboard and sharing updates about their kids and grandkids.

Sometimes, she noticed, the staff wouldn’t check on him for hours at a time.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos said the continual back-and-forth on additional coronavirus stimulus aid is unfair to the American public.

Christine Herman/Illinois Newsroom

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's saliva-based COVID-19 test has never operated under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, despite prior claims that it did, an FDA spokesperson tells Illinois Newsroom.

Marisa Hardwick isn’t surprised there are now more than twice as many cases of COVID-19 on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus than previously predicted by university researchers.

While COVID-19 has hampered farmers this year by forcing many farmers markets and restaurants to close, usually it’s the weather that threatens crops. A practice called “gleaning” helps save crops from going to waste while feeding those in need. 

Heavy rain was causing flooding all along the Arkansas River. Before Joe Tierney knew it, water from the nearby creek was creeping forward onto his farm in Bixby, Oklahoma. He had to evacuate, leaving behind fields full of vegetables. All Tierney could do was watch the water get closer and closer, he says.

Illinois is starting to award grants to renters to help them catch up on late payments. But the need far outpaces the funding available and more than 50,000 applicants won't get help.

Lexington, Nebraska, is just one of the many rural communities that has long dealt with food insecurity, but the global pandemic both intensified need in the town of 11,000 residents and presented new challenges in getting people food. 

 

Ja Nelle Pleasure never used to think twice about putting food on the table for her family.

Amid growing calls to allow contact sports to resume this fall, Illinois’ governor Tuesday appeared to double down on postponement of the seasons.

Lee V. Gaines/Illinois Newsroom

Sierra is in a bind. She and her husband have two children — ages three and nine years old — and they live in Urbana. 

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