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COVID-19 pandemic March 20 updates: CTA bus operator tests positive for COVID-19

Information in the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly, so to help keep WGN viewers informed with the latest updates, follow our live blog for March 20, 2020.
These updates will mostly focus on the Chicago area, but will include some national and international news as well.
A full list and explanation of the stay-at-home order and essential businesses is available here.
Newest updates are at the top of this post.
8:30 p.m.
A CTA bus operator has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed to CTA that the operator, who works out of the Forest Glen bus garage, tested positive.
 “CTA has been in communication with the individual. CTA has also contacted employees who may have had direct contact with that person,” CTA said in a statement.
 CTA said the Forest Glen bus garage will remain open and they are conducting an extensive cleaning and disinfection of the impacted area of the building.
“CTA continues to follow cleaning and disinfecting recommendations suggested by health professionals,” the statement said.

5:48 p.m.
Cardinal Blase Cupich will preside over the Archdiocese of Chicago’s online Mass this Sunday, March 22.
It will be on the air at 9:30 a.m.
The Mass will also be available online starting Saturday, March 21 at 4 p.m. 
As a reminder, please see below for online Mass times:
Sunday Mass from Holy Name Cathedral:
  • Sunday Masses will be available on our website,, beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Sunday Mass will be available in English, Spanish and Polish. Each Sunday Mass will remain available for viewing until the following Saturday.
Weekday Masses from St. James Chapel: 
  • Daily Masses will be available on our website,, beginning at 10 a.m. each weekday. Those Masses will remain available for viewing until the next online Mass is celebrated.
5:20 p.m.
Illinois' Craft Beer Week, scheduled for May 15-22 is postponed indefinitely.
But more than 90 Illinois craft breweries are offering residential deliveries during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. 
The Illinois liquor control commission gave the go ahead Friday for the temporary program.
Approval is required from local municipalities to take advantage of the offer.
3:45 p.m.
Indiana Department of Health announced a third person has died due to COVID-19.
"The patient is an adult resident of Marion County over age 60 who had been hospitalized," according to a statement.
Indiana reported 23 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 79.
3:38 p.m.
A 73-year-old Chicago man has been identified as one of the five people who had died due to COVID-19.
The Cook County medical examiner has identified the man as Michael Mika.
2:45 p.m.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, is asking Catholic parishes to ring their church bells five times a day, as a means of calling all to unite in prayer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The prayer times will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, and continue every three hours each day, with the last bells rung at 9 p.m. Each of the five prayer times will be dedicated to a specific group particularly affected by the pandemic.

2:23 p.m.
Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin announce the city is offering a new Emergency Loan
Program to lessen the financial challenge faced by small businesses and their employees,
particularly in the city’s most vulnerable communities.

The loans will be provided using up to $50 million of the Chicago Community Catalyst
Fund which is authorized to make loans targeted to small businesses operating or serving
historically under-resourced communities.

Businesses interested in applying for a loan or for more information, should visit
12:55 p.m.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to order all Illinois residents to “shelter in place” beginning Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Like other states, the order will mean residents can still go to the grocery stores, put gas in their cars, take walks outside and make pharmacy runs. All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways, will remain open to traffic, as well.
Pritzker will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. CT Friday. We will stream it live on WGN-TV and on
12:29 p.m.
A physician at Mount Sinai Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. The doctor developed respiratory symptoms while at work, according to the hospital. The doctor was evaluated and was sent home from work Monday
The doctor is now in isolation at home.
Sinai Health System is now working to identify the staff and patients this doctor came in contact with to notify them and coordinate any appropriate testing, the hospital said in a statement.
11:19 a.m.
 Indiana political leaders say they decided to postpone the state's May 5 primary because of concern about the coronavirus pandemic. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said during a news conference with the state GOP and Democratic chairmen that the primary will instead be held on June 2.
The announcement came shortly after Indiana health officials reported that the state had 23 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. That raised the state's total count to 79, including two patients who died.
11:16 a.m.
President Donald Trump says the U.S. and Mexico will sharply curtail cross-border travel to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
The limits on travel will apply only to recreational and tourist travel. Trade will not be affected.
The restrictions are similar to limits the U.S. and Canada put in place earlier this week along their shared border
There also will be no ban on people traveling for work or other essential activities.
Trump says these actions taking with America’s North American partners “will save countless lives.”
10:32 a.m.
President Trump and the White House coronavirus task force has a news conference planned for 10:45 a.m.
9:45 a.m.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Friday the IRS has officially moved Tax Day to July 15. 
8:37 a.m.
A COVID-19 Regional Command Center may be set up at the airport in Gary, Ind., perhaps as early as next week.
The proposed emergency operations center could be a focal point for the various health and relief agencies to share information, coordinate their response and distribute a unified message to the public.
The timetable for such a command center hasn't been finalized yet.
8:23 a.m.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 14,000 cases of COVID-19 across the United States. Johns Hopkins is also reporting that over 200 people have died.
In Illinois, there are 422 total COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths.
8:15 a.m.
A preschooler in northwest suburban Bartlett has tested positive for COVID-19. The child is the youngest patient to be diagnosed with the virus in the state of Illinois. 
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