FDA loosens restrictions on MSM donating blood

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced looser restrictions on gay, bisexual men and men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood on Thursday.

Among others changes, the FDA is changing the deferral period for MSM from 12 months since their last sexual contact to three months.

The FDA said in their announcement that the changes were because of the pressure put on the blood supply because of the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing and the cancellation of blood drives have pushed down the available supply.

Illinois has 937 new coronavirus cases, shelter at home to be extended

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Tuesday announced 937 new cases of coronavirus disease in the state, including 26 additional deaths.

Media across the state also reported that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker would be extending the shelter in place order to the end of April. According to the Peoria Journal-Star, the order will extend Pritzker’s previous order from its original April 7 end date through April 30, and will also mean that schools would continue distance-learning for students through at least that point.

Illinois records first coronavirus infant death

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Saturday reported the death of an infant younger than one year in Chicago who tested positive for coronavirus disease.

“There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike during the daily press conference. “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.”

Illinois announces 128 new cases of coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD — The State of Illinois announced that there were 128 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday afternoon.

In a press release, the state department of public health said that brought the number of cases in the state to 288 in 17 counties. Most of the cases were in urban areas such as the Chicago metro area, MetroEast and other metro areas of the state. Cook County still has the largest number at 178.

Gonorrhea outbreak in Rock Island

ROCK ISLAND — Public health officials in Rock Island have declared a public health emergency because of higher than normal cases of gonorrhea. The Rock Island Dispatch-Argus reported that forty-four gonorrhea cases have been reported in the first three months of 2019, compared with 27 cases in 2018. Rock Island County Department of Heath Chief Operating Officer Janet Hill told the newspaper that one of the thresholds for declaring an outbreak is at least a five-case increase per month. The department is encouraging anyone who thinks they could be at risk to get tested. “Our rates have been going up just like they are all across the country.