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Coping with COVID: Illinois case numbers still good, national cases skyrocket

State law mandating hiring Illinoians for public works projects goes into effect. Cook County Circuit Court reopens, with restrictions. Local case numbers continue slow climb. 

Local numbers. As of July 5, Homewood had 298 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of seven over the past week, and Flossmoor had 92, an increase of eight, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. There have been no additional deaths reported by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Homewood has lost 31 residents to COVID-19 and Flossmoor has lost eight.

Long-term care facilities in Homewood have reported 133 cases and 31 deaths. In Flossmoor, the numbers are 12 cases and six deaths.

State’s public works hiring rule takes effect. The Employment of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act took effect July 1. Because of the high unemployment rate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, state law requires the workforce on all public works projects be comprised of a minimum of 90 percent Illinois residents. The requirement applies to public works projects or improvements, including projects involving the clean-up and on-site disposal of hazardous waste.

The unemployment rate in the state went from 4.2 percent in March, to 17.2 percent in April with a slight improvement to 15.2 percent in May. 

Cook County Circuit Court resumes operation Monday. The court system, including the courthouse in Markham, will resume limited in-person operations and services July 6 with most cases being conducted via videoconference to limit the number of individuals in court buildings. To find out more about restrictions on visits read Resumption of Court Operations and Services Plan.

While in-person operations will resume July 6, individual judges will continue to conduct most cases via videoconference to limit the number of persons in courthouses due to the ongoing public health risks inherent to COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing.

National re-peak. While local and state case numbers continue to be relatively low and stable, COVID-19 cases have spiked again in a number of mostly southern and southwestern states after declining some and leveling off from mid-May through early June. The states with the most dramatic increases include Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, Nevada and Tennessee. On July 1, the U.S. topped 50,000 new cases in one day, a rate that continued for the next three days.

In news conference and Congressional testimony last week, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized that everyone in the nation needs to continue observing physical distancing and hygiene practices, even if they live in a place with low case numbers. He said the country is so interconnected that what happens in one area can quickly affect other areas.

“When you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well, they are vulnerable,” he said in addressing the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 (cases) a day if this does not turn around.”

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