High school athletes in Illinois now have some more clarity about which winter sports will and won't be allowed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
In new guidelines issued by the state, basketball, hockey and wrestling are all categorized as "high risk." Based on current conditions, those athletes won't be allowed to compete.
IDPH said it moved basketball from a "medium risk" category to "high risk" in its most recent update due to the close contact of players and indoor play.
"The science, as we know it right now, applies in all situations," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "The more people you are in contact with, the longer you are together, and the closer you are together, the greater your risk of getting COVID-19. Being face to face with another person for a basketball or football game puts players at higher risk of getting and spreading the virus. Right now, cases across Illinois and the country are increasing."
Swimming, cheerleading, dance and gymnastics would all be allowed to compete under the state guidelines. The IHSA plans to release more details on its winter sports schedule Wednesday.
"As with sports in the fall, nothing is 'canceled,' just put on hold until we're through the thick of this pandemic," Gov. Pritzker said. "We adapt as we learn. That has been our mantra throughout this pandemic."
Illinois High School Association Executive Director Craig Anderson expressed disappointment in a written statement: "About 15 minutes prior to Governor Pritzker's press conference today, we were alerted that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has elevated the sport of basketball from a medium risk level to a high risk level. We remain considerate of the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our state. However, in our meeting with IDPH on Friday (October 23), we felt that we presented multiple options that would allow for basketball to be conducted safely by IHSA schools this winter, many of which are being utilized in neighboring states who plan to play high school basketball. Despite that setback, there is some positive news, as IDPH accepted the IHSA's mitigations related to other sports, including cheerleading and dance, allowing them to move from a medium risk level to a low risk level. We will hold our special Board of Directors meeting on October 28 as scheduled, where our Board will provide direction on the other winter sports, as well as discuss the IHSA sports schedule for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year."
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois now stands at 382,985, with 9,568 deaths, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
"The resurgence of COVID-19 infections and deaths across Illinois has begun," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health. "If I haven't made it clear, we are in that second wave that we have been alluding to for months."
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Over a 24-hour period, officials said the state processed 62,074 specimens for a total of 7,388,290. The seven-day positivity rate from Oct. 20- 26 is 6.4%.
As of Monday night, 2,758 people were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, with 595 in the ICU and 241 on ventilators.
The state has seen a 49% increase on the number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators since the beginning of October.
The deaths reported Tuesday include:
- Adams County: 1 female 70s
- Carroll County: 1 male 90s
- Clinton County: 1male 60s, 1 male 80s
- Coles County: 1 female 90s
- Cook County: 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
- DuPage County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s
- Jefferson County: 1 female 90s
- Jo Daviess County: 2 females 90s
- Kane County: 1 male 80s
- Knox County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
- LaSalle County: 2 female 80s
- Macon County: 1 female 70s
- Madison County: 1 female 80s
- Mason County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
- McLean County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 90s
- Moultrie County: 1 female 50s
- Pike County: 1 female 70s
- Richland County: 2 females 90s
- Rock Island County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
- St. Clair County: 1 male 70s
- Vermilion County: 1 male 70s
- Warren County: 1 male 60s
- Wayne County: 1 male 90s
- Whiteside County: 1 female 80s
- Will County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
- Williamson County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s
- Woodford County: 1 male 90s
DuPage County announces $2.5M in grants for bars, restaurants
There is some help on the way for restaurants and bars in DuPage County that are struggling because of the pandemic and new restrictions.
The DuPage County Board approved $2.5 million in grants Tuesday from the federal CARES Act, which is designed to help small businesses with revenue of $4 million or less.
For more information about the grant program, visit the Choose DuPage website.