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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Pritzker says Illinois is expanding testing to include anyone with symptoms, as officials announce state death toll passes 1,000

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday that the state is expanding testing for COVID-19 to include anyone with symptoms, even without a doctor’s order.

The expansion in made possible by newly available testing capacity and the ability to acquire the supplies needed to take samples in much larger numbers. The Illinois Department of Public Health’s three labs are now able to process thousands Chicago News more tests per day, Pritzker said.

The news about testing came as Illinois officials announced 125 additional deaths from COVID-19, the most in a single day since the start of the outbreak, bringing the state death toll to more than 1,000.

Earlier Thursday, Pritzker’s office announced that Illinois will work in concert with governors of six other surrounding states on reopening state economies and lifting stay-at-home restrictions in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

COVID-19 cases in Illinois by ZIP code: Search for your neighborhood »
The Tribune is keeping a running list of Chicago-area closings and cancellations, asking experts to answer your questions about COVID-19, tracking cases across the state and memorializing those who have died in the Chicago area.

Here’s what’s happening on Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

9:30 p.m.: COVID-19 death of ‘hardworking and dedicated,’ bus mechanic is CTA’s 3rd
The male employee, who the CTA did not identify, was a veteran bus mechanic who began working for the transit agency in 2000, according to a statement from the agency.

“I join the entire CTA family in extending our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said in the statement. “For nearly 20 years, this hardworking and dedicated gentleman was committed to making sure our customers had the best transit experience possible.’’

On Tuesday, the CTA announced it had lost its second staffer who was Press Release Distribution Service In Chicago a bus driver, who joined the CTA in 2018. The male bus operator was a “dedicated professional” who was “committed to providing the essential transit service that people rely on,” Carter, Jr. said in an earlier statement. “We hope everyone will remember and honor this employee’s service to CTA and Chicago.”

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