Thursday’s coronavirus updates | Champaign police officer tests positive -Gazette

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CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign police officer has tested positive for COVID-19, the city said Thursday evening.

The officer is currently recovering at home in isolation and does not require hospitalization, a news release said. The city is not releasing their identity or specific responsibilities to protect their privacy.

All employees who may have been in contact with the officer have been notified and instructed to self-quarantine, the news release said, and any members of the public who may have been in direct contact are also being notified.

“First and foremost, I am saddened to confirm COVID-19 has hit Champaign police, and our thoughts are with our officer for a full recovery and a quick return to public service,” Chief Anthony Cobb said. “Our department has been proactive in taking as many precautions as possible to reduce exposure for our officers and the public, and we will continue to do so. We have worked tirelessly to prepare in the event that one of our employees tested positive. I want to reassure the community that we remain fully operational and able to deliver responsive public-safety services.”

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde said her agency was working closely with the department on the case.

“We are making sure that all appropriate protocols are being followed to identify any individuals who may have been in direct contact with this officer and to provide them with appropriate guidance regarding the need to self-quarantine,” she said.

The department’s release said the officer will not be allowed to return to work until cleared by the health district.


Eight COVID-19 cases in Champaign County are among 715 new cases statewide, officials said Thursday.

Champaign County’s total now stands at 46. At least five of those people are considered recovered.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported Thursday that 16 more people have died.

There have now been 7,695 confirmed cases in Illinois and 157 deaths.

Elsewhere around the area:

— Douglas County added one new case Thursday — a woman in her 60s — for total of nine.

— Vermilion County now has its third and fourth COVID-19-positive residents, according to Vermilion County Health Department Administrator Doug Toole.

The two reported Thursday are both in their 30s, and neither has required hospitalization, he said.

There aren’t any obvious connections among the county’s four cases, he said.

— DeWitt and Piatt counties each have their first cases of COVID-19.

The DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department announced Thursday the DeWitt County case is a 52-year-old woman who began showing symptoms March 23 and was tested March 30.

She may have been exposed by a household member who attended a conference in Chicago, and was told by conference officials that those attending were exposed to a confirmed case, according to the health department.

The Piatt County case is a 22-year-old woman and health care worker who worked with COVID-19 patients in Champaign.

She developed a fever March 28 and was tested March 30 in a drive-thru testing event in McLean County. She didn’t return to work after her symptoms began, and she and another member of her household have been in isolation since the onset of symptoms, the health department said.


The inaugural Human Festival of Savoy that was to include a 5K run on the Willard Airport runway has been postponed from May 30 to next year.

The Human Festival and 5K originally scheduled for May 30, 2020 has been postponed. We hope you will join us in 2021 for the inaugural event. #staysafe 🏃‍♂️🥇👏

— Fly Champaign-Urbana (@IFlyCU) April 1, 2020


To discourage social gatherings, basketball nets are being zip-tied to rims at parks in Champaign.

To discourage crowds gathering at basketball courts, park districts are zip-tying nets to rims. Here’s a look at Douglass Park in #Champaign

— The News-Gazette (@news_gazette) April 2, 2020



The University of Illinois has decided to move its summer courses online.

The move comes as UI instructors and students are finishing up their second week of online teaching after returning from spring break.

“In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and continued guidance from both local and state health officials, we have made the decision that all Summer 2020 courses will be conducted remotely via alternative delivery mechanisms,” a massmail from Chancellor Robert Jones and Provost Andreas Cangellaris said.

“We know that this decision about summer courses may generate additional questions about summer research, programs, travel, housing, events, remote work protocols, etc,” they said. “We are not ready to make those decisions at this time, but as soon as we are ready, you will be notified.”

Students will be able to begin registering for summer classes on April 20.

Summer study abroad programs had already been suspended.



On Thursday, Iroquois County reported two more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to four: males in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.



Bruce Swartz opened up about his recent illness and eventual testing to The News-Gazette’s Bob Asmussen on Wednesday. This morning he announced that he indeed had tested positive for CIVD-19.

“I keep reminding myself I’m not in control and God is,” he said. “And that’s OK.”

Read his story here.


virus A1 religion flower1


With Easter nearing, 27 members of the Interfaith Alliance of Champaign County submitted a letter that published in Thursday’s News-Gazette:

‘Religion has placed a supreme value on the sanctity of human life. If we have the opportunity to preserve the life and well-being of another, we must take that responsibility seriously.’

Read it in its entirety here.


— Among Illinois’ 102 counties, Douglas is just 58th in population but tied for 20th in the number of COVID-19 cases. After reporting its first three cases Tuesday, the county with just under 20,000 residents added fivemore Wednesday — a man in his 50s, a man in his 20s, a woman in her 50s and two women in their 20s.

— Champaign County’s total climbed to 38 after nine cases were added Wednesday. Of the 38, 33 are considered ‘active,’ five ‘recovered.’

— Vermilion County’s second positive case in as many days involves a resident described only as a person in his or her 20s. The two cases are apparently not connected, according to county health Administrator Doug Toole.

— Statewide, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 986 new cases and 42 more deaths, pushing the totals to 6,980 and 14. Those numbers will continue to rise ‘until we get to that peak,’ IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike warned, citing global trends that show about 20 percent of patients will be hospitalized, 5 percent will require ICU care and 1 to 3 percent will die.

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