In the news...Governor J.B. Pritzker had a message for Illinoisans on Friday:  When you do go outside, wear something to cover your face. A mask, or a homemade covering--something over your nose and mouth in case you have no symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

Pritzker held his daily briefing Friday at McCormick Place--the first and largest of several alternative care sites to help ease the load on Illinois medical centers during this pandemic. McCormick Place was converted to accommodate less severe (mild to moderate) COVID-19 patients. An initial installment of 500 beds is in place.

Other recent COVID-19 news includes:

  • Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike had sobering words Thursday for businesses still in operation and for churches.  These businesses should:  have employee temperatures checked, be cleaned thoroughly, daily, and protect shoppers as well as customers, including the use of plexiglass (as dividers). Churches need to hold virtual services, by Web or by phone.
  • Pritzker on Friday named another alternative care site--Vibra Hospital of Springfield, now closed. Other such sites slated for conversion are: the former Westlake Hospital, Melrose Park; the former (Advocate) Sherman Hospital, Elgin; and the former MetroSouth Medical Center, Blue Island.
  • Licensed health care providers in Illinois are urged to sign up for a new emergency alert system so they can be called up quickly to help with COVID-19. Anyone with a medical background can register at
  • If you are a victim of domestic violence during this extremely stressful time, you can call: 1-877-863-6338.
  • On Saturday Illinoisans begin their third week of social distancing; Pritzker extended his executive order to stay home through April 30. COVID-19 is highly contagious. Wash your hands often. If you must go out--for groceries, gas, to the doctor, or other necessity--try to stay six feet between yourself and others. Grocers are putting marks on floors to remind shoppers to keep their distance, Pritzker has said.
  • Nineteen inmates at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, who tested positive for COVID-19, have been moved to another part of the prison.
  • Pritzker Thursday announced a new statewide effort, "All in Illinois," with the theme of staying home and saving lives.

Stay tuned to You can call  1(800) 889-3931, the state Department of Public Health's COVID-19 information hotline. Or, email

COVID-19 continues to claim more victims. By the numbers:

As of Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health listed 8,904 confirmed cases in Illinois, with 210 deaths and 1,209 new cases.

Nationwide, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists 239,279 cases (plus 55 in U.S. territories), with 5,443 deaths. These represent confirmed and presumptive cases submitted to the CDC as of January 21.

Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 976,249 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 50,489 confirmed deaths, involving 207 countries, areas or territories.

Be sure to visit the following sites for additional information about COVID-19 and how to deal with this emergency:

The death toll in Illinois due to vaping remains at five, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.      

Help try to prevent suicides. Options include:

Here's the latest on the opioid crisis.

Wondering about a career in health? Oakton Community College has information sessions scheduled through May.

Learn more.

Oakton also has Continuing Education for Health Professionals (CEHP).

Take a look.

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