COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening this weekend
With the announcement that bars and restaurants will be able to welcome and serve customers indoors, many business owners and their employees have said looser restrictions will inevitably help an industry crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. But such optimism is also tempered by worry.
Illinois public health officials reported 3,292 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 40 more deaths on Sunday. That brings the total number of known infections in Illinois to 1,101,819 and the statewide death toll to 18,750 since the start of the pandemic.
Here’s what’s happening this weekend with COVID-19 in the Chicago and Illinois area:
After days of voting on whether to launch class action to stay at bay, the Chicago Teachers Union announced Sunday that its members had “overwhelmingly” chosen to only perform remote work as of Monday.
It was at this point that teachers and school staff who are in the second wave of the Chicago public school reopening plan were to begin attending school to prepare for February 1, when some of the 70,000 elementary school students in the district are due to return for their first person in person. classes since the schools closed in March.
After word about the results of the vote began circulating on social media on Sunday, district officials released a statement saying negotiations are not over yet.
“To ensure we have the time we need to resolve our discussions without risking disrupting student learning, we have accepted a request from CTU management to postpone the return of kindergarten teachers and staff to Wednesday 27th. January, ”he said. .
And although more than 70% of the grassroots members have voted to continue to teach remotely, the two sides remain at the negotiating table in the hope of reaching a deal that will allow families who have opted for apprenticeship. in person to send their children. return to primary schools on February 1st.
3,292 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, 40 additional deaths reported
Illinois public health officials reported 3,292 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 40 more deaths on Sunday. There have been 90,138 tests in the previous 24 hours and the statewide seven-day positivity rate is 6%.
This was the lowest number of cases reported in the state since 3,293 cases on December 16.
That brings the total number of known infections in Illinois to 1,101,819 and the statewide death toll to 18,750 since the start of the pandemic.
United States surpasses 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19
The United States has passed 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The new milestone, reported by Johns Hopkins University on Sunday, is a grim reminder of the wide reach of the coronavirus in the United States, which has seen many more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country in the world.
The United States accounts for about one in four cases worldwide and one in five deaths. India recorded the second highest number of cases, with around 10.7 million.
The number of new cases in the United States has shown signs of slowing recently, with an average of 176,000 reported per day last week, up from 244,000 at the start of January. The country’s first case of infection was diagnosed almost exactly a year ago.
5,152 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 97 additional deaths reported
Officials also reported 110,178 new tests in the past 24 hours. The statewide seven-day mobile positivity rate for cases as a percentage of total tests was 4.9% for the period ending Friday.
Dining room officially allowed to return to Chicago, Cook County under COVID-19 restrictions
Chicago and the suburb of Cook County are officially open for the first time since late October under restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic, state officials said on Saturday morning.
The announcement that both regions have moved to Level 1 means restaurants will reopen for indoor service – but at a capacity of 25% or 25 people per space, whichever is less. Bars and restaurants open for indoor service will also be subject to a series of other restrictions.
Tables will be limited to a maximum of four people inside or six people outside; masks must be worn at all times, except when seated and “actively eating or drinking”; tables should be spaced 6 feet apart; domestic service will be limited to a maximum of two hours; and bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m.
Read more here. – Alice Yin and Liam Ford
Illinois National Guard latest mission: Help vaccinate Cook County against COVID-19
After just a few days of helping distribute the COVID-19 vaccine at a Cook County health facility, 2nd Lt. Alex Villafuerte has grown accustomed to the surprised look on patients’ faces as they walk in and see soldiers in uniform administering shots.
He acknowledges their surprise with a masked smile, explaining that the Guard was recently activated to speed up the state’s immunization program. If he is unable to allay their concerns, he digs into the right breast pocket of his uniform and pulls out his own vaccination record showing he received the vaccine on Tuesday at the same location.
Villafuerte’s effort shows the delicate dance the Illinois National Guard must perform. No one questions the ability of the troops to boost the effectiveness or pace of the massive operation, but there have been debates across the country as to whether uniformed soldiers would fuel conspiracy theories without based on the government’s motives for mass immunizations and would exacerbate reluctance to immunize.
“We’re trying to crush the plots,” said Villafuerte, who lives in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. “I’m using my (vaccination) card to show them it’s not a conspiracy. It is a real thing and we are very lucky to have the vaccine. As members of the Illinois National Guard, we’re right here to help.
The aid comes as nearly 1.1 million people in Illinois have been infected with the virus. Friday the reported death toll reached 18,615 statewide since the start of the pandemic.
Small business PPP loans are pouring in and more help may be on the way. Here is what is available.
Small business aid included in $ 900 billion pandemic relief package approved last month started to sink, and some programs made changes to make it easier for smaller businesses to access.
The U.S. Small Business Administration approved more than $ 5 billion in new Paycheck Protection Program loans in the first week the program was reinstated, and opened the PPP to a larger group. of lenders Tuesday.
More help could be on the way: President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan includes $ 15 billion in small business grants and a $ 35 billion investment in funding programs small state, local, tribal and nonprofit businesses offering low interest loans; and businesses. Capital city.
While several small business assistance programs from local state and Chicago area governments ran out of money at the end of December, some officials are hoping new federal programs will include funds to bring them back.
If more dollars become available, “our team is ready to flip the switch and restart the program,” said Greg Bedalov, president and CEO of the Choose DuPage business development group, who worked with DuPage County to award to 1,621 local businesses $ 21 million in grants. Last year.
Seniors, shelters keen to get COVID-19 shots as Illinois enters next phase – but they hope the pace picks up
Robin O’Connor remembers growing up with children with polio, rubella, mumps and measles – and the lifelong complications that have accompanied some infections. O’Connor herself suffered from the last three illnesses.
So the 67-year-old woman from Mount Prospect enjoys vaccines and is happy to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
“We missed a lot of school days back then too,” she said, recalling times that looked like today. “Our parents were terrified of letting us go out in the summer with a large group or even to the movies.”
O’Connor is among hundreds of thousands of people in the Chicago area who will be added to the list of authorized COVID-19 vaccines starting Monday, but many will wait longer to receive their first vaccine, local officials said and states. .