Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020

Without progress, Pritzker says more COVID-19 restrictions ahead

A region of the state is getting a taste of what COVID-19 mitigations could be revisited.

New restrictions on certain businesses take effect in the Metro East today and there could be more restrictions from the governor in two weeks if it doesn’t bring down it’s COVID-19 positivity rate.

The region includes the Metro East and rural counties like Bond where state Rep. Blaine Wilhour said there are few hospitalizations.

As parents study options, school leaders say remote learning to look different this fall

As more districts across the state reverse course to go full remote learning instead of offering some form of in-person instruction, some are staying the course.

Despite that, in-person instruction amid COVID-19 concerns is in the minority.

Of school districts responsible for nearly 1.7 million students that have responded to the state education board’s survey, districts covering nearly 990,000 students will be fully remote at the start of the semester.

One positive case could mean remote learning indefinitely for one district

Students had their first in-person instruction day Monday and the Riverton School District Superintendent east of Springfield said things went well.

Superintendent Brad Polanin said if there’s one positive COVID-19 case in the district’s schools, the districts will go full remote indefinitely.

Could outbreaks in county clerk’s offices hamper November election?

It’s unclear how to handle election outcomes if there’s an outbreak at a local county elections office.

The question was posed last week during a virtual roundtable discussion amid Illinois elections officials and Congressman Rodney Davis. Green County Clerk Debbie Banhart said her entire staff was sent home for two weeks because an employee contracted COVID-19.

Davis said that’s a real threat to the November General Election.

State health officials warn about travel

There’s a new COVID-19 map the Illinois Department of Public Health wants residents to review before heading out of state for business or pleasure.

The map assigns a higher risk to states that have more than 15 cases per 100,000 residents.

Among the state’s neighbors as of Monday are Missouri and Iowa.

Public health officials said regardless, people should wash their hands, watch their distance and wear a mask in public.

Pritzker says progress is being made on contract tracing

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says there’s some progress being made on expanding COVID-19 contract tracing throughout the state, though it’s slow to ramp up.

The governor in May announced tens of millions of dollars for the program.

He said more grants are going out to more counties in the coming weeks.

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