Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » COVID-19 roundup: Child dies; Aurora mayor and police chief test positive; Dart lashes out; GA will have to approve home cannabis delivery; Strike? Maybe; Abbott’s new test; Remote notary allowed; Sewing warriors; Adorable video
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COVID-19 roundup: Child dies; Aurora mayor and police chief test positive; Dart lashes out; GA will have to approve home cannabis delivery; Strike? Maybe; Abbott’s new test; Remote notary allowed; Sewing warriors; Adorable video

Saturday, Mar 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Oy

A young Chicago child has died from coronavirus, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health said.

“Obviously, our hearts go out to that family,” Arwady said, adding that the county’s medical examiner is doing a full investigation.

She stressed that while the death is likely to raise concern among parents and caregivers, Arwady said, “local data is not looking different in any way than in settings that have seen more cases.”

* Not good, but, unfortunately, this sort of thing will continue happening

The mayor and police chief in Aurora, the state’s second largest city, have tested positive for COVID-19, city officials said in a news release Friday, making them among the first city leaders in the west suburbs publicly known to have the coronavirus. […]

Ziman and Irvin have been working remotely during the past week, and intend to continue doing so, their spokesmen said. Neither has been hospitalized, and anyone tested is mandated to be quarantined for at least 14 days from their initial tests.

* Dart agrees with the state sheriff association on this, but advocates are with the Illinois Department of Corrections. WBEZ

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is slamming Illinois Gov. JB Prtizker’s decision to largely stop accepting new prisoners into the Illinois Department of Corrections, an attempt to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 behind bars. Instead of going into state prisons, those detainees will be held in jails under the supervision of county sheriffs.

“If someone thinks that is proper, they need to get a new job,” Dart said. “People who do that clearly don’t look at it as we are in this thing together. That’s every man for himself. And I clearly don’t think anybody who’s thoughtful would be doing that at this time.”

But criminal justice advocates have praised the governor’s move as a way to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They say Cook County has drastically reduced its population in recent years so Dart has more space to facilitate social distancing.

The advocates also say limiting transfers between facilities will help contain the spread of the virus. As of Friday morning, the Cook County jail had 38 detainees who tested positive for the disease.

Dart is in an unenviable position, but passing his problem up the food chain to a much larger system is probably not a wise idea. I additionally checked with Jennifer Vollen-Katz, the executive director of the John Howard Association…

JHA supports reducing incarcerated populations, including stopping admissions into jails and prisons, which includes stopping transfers from county detention into state run institutions. The more people moved, the greater the exposure to COVID19 is for everyone. Stopping admissions and transfers is consistent with sheltering in place efforts.

Dart needs to stand down and get ahold of himself.

* Tom Schuba at the Sun-Times

As Illinoisans are ordered to hunker down to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, calls to allow legal marijuana deliveries have increased.

Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago) introduced legislation last month that would allow cannabis dispensaries to deliver marijuana to both medical pot patients and recreational customers. Now, she’s calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to take immediate action amid the rising public health crisis.

“I would be happy to see if the governor maybe could make a special executive order allowing that, or us being able to get that legislation through maybe quicker than normal this year to provide for that,” said Harper, who co-sponsored the bill that legalized pot statewide at the start of the year.

That landmark piece of legislation didn’t include a provision allowing deliveries, though lawmakers discussed the prospect while it was being drafted.

As Charlie Wheeler always says, read the bill. Or in this case Public Act 101-0027

(n) A dispensing organization shall not:

    (7) Operate drive-through windows;
    (8) Allow for the dispensing of cannabis or cannabis-infused products in vending machines;
    (9) Transport cannabis to residences or other locations where purchasers may be for delivery;
    (10) Enter into agreements to allow persons who are not dispensing organization agents to deliver cannabis or to transport cannabis to purchasers.

All of those restrictions should eventually be repealed, but only the General Assembly can do it. And I didn’t see anywhere in the law that allows the state to set up a licensing procedure for home delivery, so I checked with the sponsors and the state cannabis czar and was told the GA has to take action before it can be done. The governor can waive administrative rules, but he cannot just waive away statutes.

* I do not know how organized this union actually is, nor do I know how widespread its support is beyond the San Francisco area . Its not-for-profit status hasn’t even been approved yet. But, hey, these are new times and the company most definitely needs to step up for its workers

Shoppers for the online grocery delivery service [Instacart] are threatening to strike Monday if the San Francisco-based company doesn’t meet their demands for more safety protections and better pay, as demand skyrockets during the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Instacart Shoppers and Gig Workers Collective accused the company of turning “this pandemic into a PR campaign, portraying itself [as] the hero of families that are sheltered-in-place, isolated or quarantined.

But “Instacart has still not provided essential protections to shoppers on the front lines that could prevent them from becoming carriers, falling ill themselves or worse,” collective members said in a statement issued Friday.

Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta announced last week the company planned to nearly triple its ranks with an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers nationwide, as states have ordered residents to stay home and practice social distancing to contain the viral outbreak.

* Hope

Abbott Laboratories says it has received approval for the fastest COVID-19 test to date.

The North Chicago medical device maker today announced the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has authorized the use of its new coronavirus test, which delivers positive results within five minutes and negative results within 13.

* From the daily Q&A with legislators…

Q: Are individuals obligated to attend in person any legal witnessing such as getting documents notarized or witnessing signing a will?

A: Per Executive Order 14, any act of witnessing required by Illinois law may be completed remotely via two-way audio-video communication technology provided certain requirements are met. Please refer to the Executive Order 14 for further guidance.

* We shouldn’t have to be doing this, but I’m glad it’s being done

Across Southern Illinois, people are reporting for COVID-19 pandemic duty with an unlikely weapon: their sewing machines.

Collectively, they have made hundreds of homemade face masks for paramedics, nurses, doctors, nursing home staff, drivers, cooks and others whose jobs require that they keep showing up while the rest of us hunker down at home.

They join an unofficial network of people across the country sewing masks in response to a critical shortage of them.

* Adorbs…


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