COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Friday

COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Friday

Officials also reported 25 additional fatalities, bringing the death toll since the start of the pandemic to 7,144.

The city has restricted alcohol sales in restaurants and bars, requiring them to stop serving at 11 p.m., with stores that sell alcohol for offsite consumption required to end sales at 9 p.m.

Here’s what’s happening Friday regarding COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

3:36 p.m.: Chicago Catholic parishes got as much as $63 million in federal PPP coronavirus money

Roman Catholic parishes and organizations in the Archdiocese of Chicago received between $24.4 million and $63.6 million in loans through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program that was designed to save jobs amid the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to federal records.

The money was mostly applied for by individual parishes, so archdiocese officials said they did not immediately know the total of money received here.

The Archdiocese of Chicago itself did not apply for funds because it is a large employer with thousands of employees, many more than the threshold of 500 staff laid out by the PPP program, spokeswoman Paula Waters said.

Since the federal data on who received PPP money was released this week, public scrutiny has mounted on some deep-pocketed corporate interests that received millions from the forgivable loan program.

The Associated Press found that the U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.

Some large and relatively prosperous parishes — such as Saints Faith, Hope & Charity in Winnetka and St. Benedict’s on the North Side — received larger loans because the formula for applying was driven by payroll and utility cost size, Waters said.

“Here’s what they applied for: 2½ times your monthly payroll and a set formula for utilities,” she said. “So, some big parishes got a lot of money.”

2:35 p.m.: For second day in a row, Illinois’ daily coronavirus counts tops 1,000

For the second day in a row on Friday, Illinois’ reported tally of newly confirmed coronavirus cases climbed back into four-digit territory. State officials on Friday announced 1,317 new known cases, and 25 deaths, raising the statewide death toll to 7,144 since the pandemic began.

The statewide known case count now stands at 151,767.

That followed 587 newly confirmed cases on Wednesday, 614 on Tuesday and 639 on Monday. The four days prior to that, the daily new cases hovered between 800 and 900. Weekend day and early weekday numbers are sometimes lower, due to testing result lags over the weekend.

State officials have repeatedly said they’re much more focused on longer-term trends, as opposed to single-day data. The preliminary statewide seven-day positivity rate for cases now stands at 2.9%.

Illinois entered the fourth phase of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan on June 26, which allows for gatherings of up to 50 people, and allowed many businesses to reopen further than previous phases, with capacity limits and other precautions in place.

Pritzker has said if Illinois sees a backslide it could return to earlier and stricter phases of his reopening plan, but no plans to clamp back down with stricter rules have been announced.

Several states that reopened earlier, including Arizona and Texas, have seen sharp increases in their coronavirus metrics, forcing them to again impose stricter measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

12:12 p.m.: Chicago Catholic schools to require masks, temperature checks when students return this fall

When more than 70,000 students who attend Roman Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago return to in-person classes this fall, they’ll be required to wear masks indoors and get temperature checks before entering their building each day, under plans announced Friday.

Students also must adhere to designated pick-up, drop-off and walking routes, and they will remain in assigned cohorts with the same classmates throughout the day, according to a news release. Catholic schools in the archdiocese, which covers Cook and Lake counties, possibly will have scattered start dates ranging from August through early September, a spokesman said.

12:01 p.m.: Glenview’s Flick Aquatic Center closes after 2 lifeguards test positive for COVID-19

Flick Outdoor Aquatic Center in Glenview shut down Thursday afternoon after two lifeguards were diagnosed with COVID-19.

The aquatic center, which opened less than two weeks ago, closed at 3 p.m. Thursday, Glenview Park District officials announced later that night. The center will remain closed Friday for deep cleaning and disinfecting. The closure may be extended if needed, according to officials.

11:11 a.m.: PPP loans were meant to help small businesses save jobs amid the pandemic. So why does official data show thousands of recipients retained zero jobs?

When Quest Food Management Services was approved for a forgivable federal loan to help it preserve jobs during the pandemic, the Lombard-based company, which supplies meals to schools throughout the Chicago area, was so grateful that it issued a news release celebrating its ability to keep more than 830 people employed.

But data released this week by the Small Business Administration detailing who received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program did not tie any jobs to Quest’s $5.3 million loan. Like tens of thousands of other loan recipients listed in the official government data, the line item for retained jobs at Quest was listed as 0.

In fact, Quest’s loan was one of about 20 $5 to $10 million loans awarded to Illinois companies that listed zero jobs retained.

For a program meant to help small businesses preserve jobs amid government-mandated shutdowns and the general economic upheaval caused by COVID-19, those zeroes can look alarming. In many cases they are also wrong — raising questions about the reliability of the data showing how billions in taxpayer dollars are being used.

Read more here. —Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz

7:15 a.m.: City tightens bar and restaurant regulations to help prevent COVID-19 spread

Chicago on Friday was tightening hours for any establishments that serve alcohol, requiring them to close at midnight to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, as officials announced 17 businesses have been cited for violating restrictions since June 3.

The city has restricted alcohol sales in restaurants and bars, requiring them to stop serving at 11 p.m., with stores that sell alcohol for offsite consumption required to end sales at 9 p.m.

“While the vast majority of establishments are following regulations and taking important preventative steps, this directive will minimize the spread of COVID-19 by preventing late-night congregating that could occur after the cutoff of alcohol sales,” according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

Restaurants that serve liquor can only do curbside pickup or delivery after midnight and those that don’t serve liquor aren’t held to the same restrictions.

Fines for violating reopening regulations can be up to $10,000 and the immediate closing of a business.

6 a.m.: City expands reopening of Riverwalk, restoring path to full, daylong use

Since it reopened in June, Chicago’s popular downtown Riverwalk has operated under rules that limited when and where people could use the path but let restaurants and bars expand their seating onto the public space.

While the arrangement helped the establishments recover from the economic hit they took after Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed the Riverwalk in March, public space advocates called it an unwarranted takeover that denied joggers, walkers and others full use of the path.

On Friday, however, Lightfoot’s administration was scheduled to restore the Riverwalk’s former hours — 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. — and reopen the path to the public during those hours.

Read more here. —Blair Kamin

5 a.m.: After historic responses to COVID-19 and civil unrest, Illinois National Guard winds down its deployment

The Illinois National Guard was already in the midst of an unprecedented mission, on the ground around the state administering thousands of COVID-19 tests, when there was another urgent call for help.

Protests over the death of George Floyd had given way to looting, vandalism and violent clashes in parts of Chicago, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the Guard to assist police in quelling the unrest. It was clear even more of their troops would need to be deployed.

“Those folks all packed their bags, put on their uniforms, laced their boots up really tight and were on the street within 10 to 12 hours,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Richard Neely said Thursday while reflecting on the Guard’s historic mission that is now winding down.

With the motto “Always ready, always there,” members of the Guard are used to being called up when disaster strikes at home or overseas. But never in its history has it been put to the test more than this year, Neely said, as members responded to the high-risk coronavirus pandemic and walked a fine line assisting police at protests without overstepping their role.

Read more here. —Christy Gutowski and Stacy St. Clair

Here are four things that happened Thursday related to COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

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About the Author: Martin Gray

Unapologetic organizer. Student. Avid music specialist. Hipster-friendly internet buff.

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