Headlines for Saturday, March 21st

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered all residents across the state to stay home, venturing outside only for essential jobs and some errands, as the “shelter in place” measure is put into place to battle the coronavirus.  Pritzker’s office said essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open, and area roadways and highways and interstates will remain open.  The order will remain in effect through April 7th.  As of Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 163 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including the death of a Cook County woman in her 70s, bringing the state’s number of cases to 585 and fatalities to five.  Washington County, IL has also reported the county’s first positive test for COVID-19.

Governor J.B. Pritzker on Friday issued an executive order requiring schools to remain closed through April 7th, with a new tentative reopening date of April 8th.  Edwards County Community School District Superintendent David Cowger said Friday in a news release that he anticipates further guidance and details from the Illinois State Board of Education next week.  During the stay-at-home order, essential school personnel can still report to work as long as they are practicing social distancing, and those involved with providing meals will not be in violation of any governor’s order.

A blood drive held this past Wednesday at the Community of Christ Church in Fairfield resulted in 80 units of blood being collected.  There were four first-time donors, Katherine Book, Ciji Resor, Randall Thomas, and Kathie Shepard, all of Fairfield.  Winners of $25 Save-A-Lot gift cards were Chris Gray of Fairfield and Angela Cole of Norris City.  Blood Drive Coordinator Diane Vaughan said no donors were turned away due to a fever and they only had six deferrals.  The next blood drive is set for May 20th.

Grayville Police confirmed Friday that the man wanted for stabbing two people has been captured.  Sanjay Lewis was reportedly seen at the Road Ranger Truck Stop looking through semis.  White County Sheriff Doug Maier said Friday that White County dispatch received a call that Lewis was seen at a cabin at Westwood Campground in Grayville.  Lewis then walked to the Super 8 Motel, and a Grayville officer arrived in the area, with Lewis fleeing into a wooded area.  Units from the White and Edwards County Sheriff’s Office and Carmi Police Department arrived on scene, Sheriff Maier said, with an officer observing Lewis walking toward I-64 near the rest area.  He was taken into custody and transported to the White County Jail, where he is being held on warrant for aggravated battery, with bond set at $10,000 cash.

The National Weather Service in Paducah, KY has released information on a pair of EF-1 twisters that touched down Thursday afternoon in southern Illinois.  The NWS says the tornado that hit the Dahlgren area had maximum winds of 110 mph and traveled 2.9 miles with a maximum width of 300 yards.  The tornado touched down southwest of Dahlgren in extreme Jefferson County and lifted northeast of Dahlgren, with several homes sustaining roof damage.  Two travel trailers were overturned and numerous trees were snapped or uprooted.  The other tornado touched down north of DuQuoin, damaging around a dozen homes.

Area river stages this morning: the Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 25.9 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the stage is 21.14 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the river is at 28.04 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 19.69 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is at 20.45 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.