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Tuesday live updates on coronavirus: Illinois' death toll rises to 73

Belleville News-Democrat logoBelleville News-Democrat 3/31/2020 By Kelsey Landis and Hana Muslic, Belleville News-Democrat

Here is a roundup of coronavirus news you need to know on Tuesday:

St. Elizabeth's Hospital to host blood drive

HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center will host a blood drive from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14 at the hospital in O'Fallon.

The center's mobile donor bus will be parked in the hospital's parking lot at 1 St. Elizabeth's Blvd., O'Fallon, IL.

All donors must make an appointment. No walk-ins will be accepted. Anyone who is feeling sick or who has been in contact with someone being tested for COVID-19 should not attend the donation drive.

To schedule a donation time, call the center at 866-GIVE-BLD (866-448-3253) or log on to and use the sponsor code: 10155. Photo identification is required to participate. Donors must be 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds.

A full list of donor eligibility guidelines may be found at

The Red Cross made an urgent call last week for blood donations amid a statewide and national shortage during the coronavirus crisis.

8 employees test positive for coronavirus at Chesterfield restaurant

Eight employees at Annie Gunn's smokehouse in Chesterfield, Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19, KMOV reported Tuesday morning.

The restaurant announced last week in a social media post it would close temporarily because of the coronavirus crisis.

State death toll on the rise

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, these are the latest coronavirus case totals:

-- Illinois: 5,057 positive cases and 73 deaths; 30,446 persons tested.

The previous death toll stood at 65.

Cases in southwestern Illinois increase

The number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Illinois has increased to 72, according to state and local statistics on Monday.

Here's a breakdown of the cases:

-- St. Clair County: 41, two deaths

-- Madison County: 16

-- Clinton County: 6

-- Monroe County: 4

-- Washington County: 1

-- Randolph County: 2

-- Bond County: 2

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency said Monday that 294 people have been tested in St. Clair County. There have been 41 positive cases, 201 have been negative and 52 are pending.

Mascoutah School District food service employee tests positive for coronavirus

A Mascoutah School District food service department employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the district announced Monday.

The food service worker helped prepare meals that were handed out on March 22, but people who received the meals had " a very low risk" of exposure to coronavirus, the district said.

"In an effort to remain transparent, we felt it was important to inform all of our families of the district's first known case of COVID-19. Based on the information we know and with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone who picked up a sack lunch on March 22 would be at a very low risk for exposure," the district said in a message to parents and employees.

On March 22, "the employee had no symptoms and had no contact with anyone picking up meals. Under advisement from the St. Clair County Health Department, we notified any employees that had close contact with the employee who tested positive," the district said.

Earlier Monday, Belleville School District 201 announced that a bus driver who had been delivering lunches had also tested positive for the coronavirus.

SIU president says student reimbursements could total $5M

By The Associated Press

Southern Illinois University's Board of Trustees voted Monday to give the school's president the authority to reimburse students for some costs as instruction has moved online due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In handing university President Daniel Mahony the authority to reimburse the students, the board did not specify how the reimbursements should be handled. However, it gave Mahony the flexibility to make that determination in consultation with chancellors of the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses and the dean of the school of medicine.

Mahony said he anticipates reimbursements to students could total between $4 million and $5 million.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says feds sent wrong type of masks

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced during a Monday news conference that hospitals in Madison and St. Clair were two of the counties that would receive new stocks of personal protective equipment, or PPE, sent in from the federal government this week.

During the conference, Pritzker again criticized the federal government for not fulfilling its promises of providing enough PPE and tests. He mentioned that while Illinois received masks from the government in the latest shipment, they were not the N95 masks he had asked for and which medical experts say protect health care workers on the front lines.

Pritzker asked Illinois businesses to donate any medical supplies to local health departments and asked citizens to continue efforts of helping each other, whether that is donating money to nonprofit organizations, sewing face masks or following social distancing guidelines.

More National Guard members activated

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated about 115 additional Illinois National Guard soldiers and airmen, including some based at Scott Air Force Base, in support of COVID-19 response operations to bring the statewide total to 380 activated, officials said on Monday.

"About 80 of these additional Illinois National Guard members will help with communications and reporting between county health departments throughout the state and the State Emergency Operations Center," according to a news release from the National Guard.

About a dozen Airmen from the 183rd Wing based in Springfield, the 126th Air Refueling Wing based at Scott Air Force Base, and the 182nd Airlift Wing based in Peoria, will manage the medical operations center and information collection in Springfield for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health, the release said.

Previously, the state said approximately 50 soldiers from the 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis would support medical warehouse operations in central Illinois.

Postponed and canceled events

The News-Democrat has compiled a list of events in Illinois and St. Louis that have been canceled due to concerns about coronavirus.

You can find the list at

Want to help? Here's what you need to know

The BND has compiled a list of ways you can help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Go to BND. com to learn about the opportunities to volunteer your time or donate to help communities in the metro-east without putting yourself or others at risk.

You can sew face masks, read stories for people with vision loss and deliver meals to seniors.

If you know of a recognized charitable organization looking for help that isn't listed, please tell us about it; send an email to or fill out the BND's Southwest Illinois coronavirus service and assistance guide online at

Get the latest news on coronavirus will keep you updated through the day with information about the spread of coronavirus through southwestern Illinois.

You can also find the most complete and up-to-date information from government sites including:

-- State of Illinois' coronavirus page:

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

-- Federal government's coronavirus page:

How to contact the BND with tips, concerns

If you have suggestions about something for the BND to cover regarding the coronavirus pandemic or if you see a report that sounds suspicious on social media or anywhere else, please drop us a note at and include a link. We'll check it out.

If you're a health care worker, we'd like to hear from you

The BND would like to speak with nurses, doctors and other health care professionals who are on the front lines caring for patients in doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals during this difficult time. We're interested in hearing about your challenges and rewards, frustrations and accomplishments. How is this affecting you? Send us an email at

Recovering from COVID-19? The BND would like to talk to you

Have you recovered from coronavirus or are you in the process of recovering from COVID-19? We would like to hear from you on how you dealt with the respiratory disease. Send us an email at


©2020 Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Ill.)

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