(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Schools across Illinois will be allowed to hold limited in-person classes over the summer, per an order Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed.
Meanwhile, the state marked its third day in a row with fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases reported on Thursday.
And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she hopes to announce the reopening of the city’s Lakefront “soon.”
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (June 5):
Illinois Schools Can Hold In-Person Summer School Classes
Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order Thursday allowing limited in-person instructions at both public and private schools this summer.
In March, Pritzker ordered all Illinois schools to close amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus and weeks later, he announced those doors would stay shut for the remainder of the academic year.
In accordance with Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan and public health guidance, the number of individuals in one space will be limited to ten or fewer. Additionally, schools will be required to ensure compliance to social distancing guidelines “to the greatest extent possible.”
Lightfoot Hopes to Reopen Lakefront ‘Soon’
When asked about when the city’s Lakefront might reopen, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was hoping to announce new developments “soon.”
“Well, we’re hoping to get there soon,” she said. “Obviously, the circumstances of this week have required us to focus our focus our attention on other issues, but I’m hoping to be able to announce the reopening of the lakefront relatively soon, with a plan towards safely minimizing crowding.”
Lightfoot added that city officials have been working on a plan to have “some designated times for particular activities.”
“We want to make sure that we get as many voices into the discussion as possible, but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to announce something very soon,” she reiterated. “I know people were anxious to get back to Lakefront.”
Pritzker Announces $1.3M in Grants to Downstate, Rural Businesses
Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced Friday the first round of grants awarded as part of the new Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, created to support businesses who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The first $1.3 million in grants have been allocated to 65 businesses like restaurants, salons, stores and more in 28 downstate communities. For a full list of recipients, as well as information on how to apply for any of the state’s grant programs, you can visit the DCEO’s website here.
Inside Argonne’s High-Tech Effort to Crack the Code of COVID-19
Imagine standing in Chicago, and firing at a foot-square target in Seattle. That’s the precision with which scientists at Lemont’s Argonne National Laboratory are attacking the coronavirus on a daily basis. Phil Rogers takes you into their effort to crack the code of COVID-19.
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory are engaged in an all-hands-on-deck effort to find a treatment for the coronavirus. NBC 5’s Phil Rogers has the exclusive report.
Illinois Reports 929 New Coronavirus Cases, 116 Additional Deaths
For the third time this week, Illinois has reported fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases, as the state recorded 929 new cases of the virus Thursday.
In all, 124,759 cases of the virus have been reported statewide since the pandemic began, with all but one county in the state reporting at least one positive case as of Thursday.
Authorities confirmed 116 additional deaths related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 5,736.
Illinois Opens Community-Based Testing Sites to All
Illinois has opened its community-based testing sites to anyone seeking to get tested, regardless of symptoms or other criteria, health officials announced Thursday. The state manages 11 such drive-thru sites, which will now test anyone at no cost, with no appointment, referral or insurance needed.
“As we move forward, COVID-19 testing must be widely available and this is a step in that direction,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a statement. “The state-operated Community-Based Testing Sites currently have the capacity to test more than 6,000 people per day, and now there will be no restrictions to who can be tested for this potentially deadly virus.”
Health officials recommended that anyone who has recently been part of a large gathering, including rallies or protests, get tested to identify cases early.