Latest Coronavirus News, Wednesday, March 18

Mar 18, 2020

Cancellations continued to rise across the Midwest, as more states took aim at gyms, theaters, hair salons and other places where people gather. The coronavirus also was interfering with planned elections, including the Ohio presidential primary, which is being rescheduled.

Illinois

Amid coronavirus fears, turnout was low in the statewide primary.

The state recorded its first COVID-19 death, a Chicago woman in her 60s who had an underlying health condition. The state has 160 coronavirus cases, including 22 at a nursing home.

The Illinois Funeral Directors Association recommends that no more than 10 people attend funerals, visitations and graveside services.

Indiana

The number of COVID-19 cases jumped from 30 t0 39. So far, two Hoosiers have died.

Purdue University canceled its in-person commencement ceremony and is developing a virtual version.

The governor activated the Indiana National Guard to assist as needed.

Iowa

The governor ordered gyms, theaters, casinos and similar businesses to close. Bars and restaurants are limited to takeout service.

Cities and counties with upcoming special elections are urging people to vote by mail.

The Fareway supermarket chain is reserving the first hour of business for customers who are 65 or older, expectant mothers, and people with serious medical conditions.

Kentucky

The governor urged the legislature to quickly pass a two-year budget or adjourn and return for a special session in the coming months.

The state is halting wage garnishments and other enforced collections, as well as driver's license and vehicle registration revocations.

The governor ordered the closure of entertainment, hospitality and recreational facilities, including fitness centers, theaters, and nail and hair salons.

Missouri

The governor promised increased COVID-19 testing efforts, and said the state will be able to administer about 10,000 tests per day by April 1. As of Monday, 215 people had been tested statewide, fewer than in neighboring states.

The mayor of Columbia, where the University of Missouri is located, wants to prohibit gatherings of 50 people or more, and limit restaurant and bar capacities.

Ohio

Following the postponement of Tuesday's primary, elections officials were making plans to move it to June 2. But state legislators have yet to weigh in on that plan.

The state health department ordered a halt to all elective surgeries and procedures, in a bid to free up staff and equipment for the coronavirus crisis.

After being overwhelmed by demand for COVID-19 tests at a drive-up facility, the Cleveland Clinic changed its policy to focus on high-risk patients. It's prioritizing tests for people who are hospitalized and those who are 61 or older.

This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.