COVID-19 Informational Hub

WNIJ News and NPR is committed to connecting you with the latest news related to COVID-19 in northern Illinois and across the country. We are taking precautions to keep staff safe while providing you with the resources you need. Thank you for your continued support which allows us to remain your trusted source on the coronavirus pandemic. 

Maybe you have heard the term "infodemic" in response to the onslaught of coverage on-air and on social media related to the spread of the coronavirus disease. Perhaps you are already feeling news fatigue on this topic. Here at WNIJ, we believe accurate and timely information can save lives in uncertain times. That's why we are committed to bringing you a wide range of perspectives to help you understand the scope and scale of this pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, Kane County Health Department, and the McHenry County Department of Health on Tuesday announced the first Illinois residents outside of Chicago and Cook County to test positive at the IDPH laboratory for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  According to a news release, the cases include a Kane County woman in her 60s and a McHenry County teen, neither of whom had a history of travel to an affected area and no connection to a known case of COVID-19.  Public health officials are identifying and contacting all close contacts.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health are reporting four additional people in Illinois have tested positive at the IDPH laboratory for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to a news release, two of the cases -- a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 70s, are both family members to the sixth case, a woman in her 50s who acquired the virus on a cruise ship and is an employee at Jacqueline B. Vaughn Occupational High School.  

With a fourth case of COVID-19 announced in Illinois Monday, coronavirus continues to dominate headlines. But experts say there’s another, more common disease that ought to be getting more attention.

DeKalb County Health Department

As the coronavirus spreads, local health departments and hospitals are monitoring the situation and making plans. 

To keep abreast of the situation, municipalities are in constant contact with their counterparts across the state. Lisa Gonzalez, Public Health Administrator for the DeKalb County Health Department, explains. 

“We have the Region 1 Health Departments which are the 9 counties in northwest Illinois, but we also work with Chicago region health departments and statewide health departments as well," she said. 


The decreased purchasing power of Chinese markets as a result of the coronavirus is creating further uncertainty for Illinois farmers. 

The Chinese economy entered a downturn as a result of fears of the coronavirus. That’s creating doubt as to whether China will be able to fulfill its promises to increase purchases from the United States as part of the newly negotiated trade deal. Illinois farmers rely on Chinese purchases of their crops and livestock. Eldon Gould, a hog farmer in Maple Park explained his concerns.

"Soybeans" by Flickr User Aerna's Mom / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois farm exports to China have suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak, but that isn’t the only factor.

China is the world’s largest importer for products such as soybeans, which Illinois farmers produce in abundance.  The coronavirus outbreak has reduced demand, but economist Todd Hubbs at the University of Illinois said it’s been a recurring problem with the trade war.