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COVID-19 roundup

Thursday, Apr 9, 2020

* Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas at the Tribune

With the number of coronavirus deaths in Cook County climbing above 300, the medical examiner’s office is opening a refrigerated warehouse as a “surge center” capable of holding as many as 2,000 bodies.

In addition to the 66,000-square-foot warehouse, opening Thursday, the county said it is has acquired 14 refrigerated trailers and is looking for six more for hospitals so their morgues are not overwhelmed.

“We are paying special attention to the southern portion of Cook County, an area that is traditionally disproportionately impacted during crises,” said William Barnes, executive director of the county’s Emergency Management and Regional Security Department.

* This lawsuit was an overreach, in my opinion

A federal judge on Thursday denied a bid by Cook County Jail detainees for release or transfer amid the coronavirus outbreak but ordered Sheriff Tom Dart to implement new policies to keep inmates safe.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered Dart to begin prompt coronavirus testing of detainees who exhibit symptoms of the virus by Saturday. He said the sheriff must also enforce social distancing when taking in new inmates.

An adequate amount of soap or hand sanitizer must be available for inmates to frequently clean their hands, the judge said, and staff must receive sanitation supplies. Finally, the judge said the sheriff must “provide face masks to all detainees who are quarantined.”

Given those measures, the judge said he would not order the sheriff to move inmates to other forms of custody.


It started small. On March 23, two inmates in the sprawling Cook County jail, one of the nation’s largest, were placed in isolation cells after testing positive for the coronavirus. In a little over two weeks, the virus exploded behind bars, infecting more than 350 people.

The jail in Chicago is now the nation’s largest-known source of coronavirus infections, according to data compiled by The New York Times, with more confirmed cases than the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., or the cluster centered on New Rochelle, N.Y.

* Headlines from the Tribune’s live blog

Rush University Medical Center was built for a moment like this. Take a look inside the calm at the center of Chicago’s coronavirus storm.

Lightfoot administration files legal brief opposing immediate release of Cook County Jail detainees

After diagnosis, how do you know when it’s safe to be around others? Answers about getting it — and getting over it.

Gary is emerging as new epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak in Lake County, Ind., reports show

Elected officials, activists, union leaders press for changes in reaction to impact of coronavirus on black community

Neighbors rally to local handyman locked up in Cook County Jail as threat of coronavirus spreads

CTA passengers will have to enter through back of buses to promote social distancing during coronavirus pandemic

* Headlines from the Sun-Times’ live blog

Security firm hiring 300-plus positions for McCormick Place field hospital

Mayor Lori Lightfoot drives around city telling groups to ‘break it up’

150 cases of coronavirus found in 20 Lake County nursing homes

* Roundup…

* Essential workers exposed to coronavirus can return to work if showing no symptoms, CDC says: Under the new guidelines for essential workers, the CDC recommends that exposed employees take their temperatures before their shifts, wear face masks and practice social distancing at work. They also are advised to stay home if they are ill, not share headsets or other objects used near the face and refrain from congregating in crowded break rooms. Employers are asked to take exposed workers’ temperatures and assess symptoms before allowing them to return to work, aggressively clean work surfaces, send workers home if they get sick and increase air exchange in workplaces.

* Major Meat Processors Shutting Down Plants As Employees Get Sick With COVID-19: The United States has a large enough meat inventory to prevent shortages for consumers, explained Christine McCracken, senior analyst of animal protein for Rabobank. Processors that were previously servicing restaurants or cafes have started to sell to retailers. And some restaurants are selling groceries, including meat, directly to customers.

* Virus Sparks Prison Riot, Hits More Washington state Long-Term Care Homes: Corrections officers used verbal orders, pepper spray and rubber pellets to get the demonstrators under control, but the inmates ignored those efforts, officials said. Both housing units were evacuated and the situation was under control soon afterward. No one was injured.

* Haywire Immune Response Eyed In Coronavirus Deaths, Treatment: The out-of-control immune response eventually causes the patients’ lungs to stop delivering oxygen to the rest of organs, leading to respiratory failure and in some cases death, the experts say. The malfunctioning immune system may be driving the rapid decline in lung function experienced by some patients, including younger and relatively healthy ones, after the initial onset of symptoms, doctors say.

* State lawmaker questions Pritzker’s order for prisoner furloughs during pandemic: “I would give him an ‘F.’ Right now, the governor is not including the General Assembly,” Cabello said. “Right now the governor is acting like a dictator.”

* Alton mayor’s wife got death threats after she violated stay-at-home order, she says

* Illinois has ‘supreme authority’ to enforce coronavirus quarantine — but won’t use it: “To be honest, we don’t have the resources, the capacity or the desire to police every individual’s behavior,” Pritzker said on March 20. “Enforcement comes in many forms and our first and best option is to rely on Illinoisans to be good members of their communities.”

* Illinois State Police, ministers want you to stay home for Easter to fight coronavirus: Kelly, the former St. Clair County State’s Attorney, said police officers will not be “storming” into churches on Easter morning, but cautioned that if there is evidence that large groups had gathered, there could be consequences.

* Cities across Illinois consider civil fines to stack on top of possible criminal charges for violating governor’s stay-at-home order

* Langfelder signs order toughening stay at home enforcement

* Illinois State Museum seeks to preserve pandemic history

* Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle not ready to consider layoffs as ‘economy falls off a cliff’ because of coronavirus crisis

* Constable: Elgin has a history of enduring other plagues

* Effingham County Health Department reports first COVID-19 death

* 3 people in Pulaski County Detention Center diagnosed with COVID-19

* Will pandemic short-circuit Illinois clean energy reform?

* Rosemont convention center considered ‘last resort’ field hospital

* He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather: ‘That he had to die alone just breaks our hearts’

* CTA bus drivers might pass you by if more passengers make social distancing impossible

* Coronavirus interrupted our lives. Now it’s invading our dreams.

* McLean County officials extend property tax due date, may delay interest penalties, because of coronavirus

* Woodward lays off 425 workers in Loves Park

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Telly - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    == This lawsuit was an overreach, in my opinion ==

    Yep. Kennelly is maybe the most liberal judge on South Dearborn street. If he’s not buying it, it’s an overreach.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    There have been two really important things I’ve found so helpful and informative:

    * The “ COVID-19 roundup” that Rich puts together for one stop information, so many sources, so many side stories, so grateful for this information.

    * The posts Rich puts up daily on the “Governor’s Briefing”. The word by word has been a godsend, and the questions and answers, equally as important. I’ve sent numerous people here specifically to these two daily posts.

    Felt the need to say that. Taking anything for granted in these times is bad form, to say the least. Thank you, Rich.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    To the Post,

    ===* Illinois State Police, ministers want you to stay home for Easter to fight coronavirus: Kelly, the former St. Clair County State’s Attorney, said police officers will not be “storming” into churches on Easter morning, but cautioned that if there is evidence that large groups had gathered, there could be consequences.===

    Here’s my own take;

    I’m Catholic. Said it numerous times. It’s only pertinent here, for me, in my own faith. As a Catholic I see Rome, and the churches and cathedrals in Italy, and the Vatican, practicing “social distancing”, by actually not being open. Not only are they not open, no public services, if anything televised or streaming services with few besides the Officiant there.

    If the Vatican, Rome, Italy, is closed and not allowing public services, especially and pointedly during Holy Week and Easter, I need to do what’s needed and required during my own state’s lockdown. The greater good for society can still be met by streaming services… for me.

    It’s not about me, it is about we… saving lives by staying home.

    My hope is streaming Easter services will be helpful to curtail gatherings on Sunday. The state police and local officials have enough to do.

  4. - Commisar Gritty - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    Did I read that right? CDC guidelines tell essential workers who test positive but are asymptomatic to return to work? Did I read that right? I read it 5 times but surely, I am spontaneously illiterate

  5. - Commisar Gritty - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    Oh, good, I am illiterate. It says exposed, not infected. But still

  6. - In 630 - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    That CDC guidance is so dumb. It reads more like cover for employee mistreatment than evidence-based health guidance.

  7. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    Kelly really needs to keep his mouth shut. He has bad enough record already when it comes to curtailing Americans’ First Amendment rights. Christians need to follow the instructions of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1 and submit to the civil authorities and not gather Sunday, but law enforcement leaders whether state police directors or the Pulaski County sheriff need to refrain from escalating bad situations to something far worse.

  8. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    “Lightfoot said she drove around on the Far North Side Tuesday and told people she saw hanging out in groups to “break it up.””

    Really want to see video of this.

  9. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    == but law enforcement leaders whether state police directors or the Pulaski County sheriff need to refrain from escalating bad situations to something far worse.==

    Keep the church closed and you won’t have to worry about that. I know in Springfield you can now be fined $500 if you’re caught gathering in a group of more than 10 people.

  10. - BonJovi - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    =This lawsuit was an overreach, in my opinion.=

    =The jail in Chicago is now the nation’s largest-known source of coronavirus infections, according to data compiled by The New York Times, with more confirmed cases than the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., or the cluster centered on New Rochelle, N.Y.=

    Maybe not?

  11. - @BonJovi - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    I don’t know about the merits, but I am skeptical of using the total number v. % of staff and employees (i.e. 50% of the staff and residents of nursing home x v. 3% of the staff and inmates at ccdoc). If they are testing more than any of the other jails prisons, also wouldn’t this have been the most likely largest known source. Not sure.

  12. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    “Lightfoot said she drove around on the Far North Side Tuesday and told people she saw hanging out in groups to “break it up.””

    ===Really want to see video of this.===

    If it exists, I wonder if a faint voice in the background can be heard saying “Hey, nice haircut Mayor(banned punctuation)”

  13. - Sayitaintso - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    Mayor Lightfoot drove around telling groups to “break it up”. Once the groups saw the three 6’8” cops in the backseat, they decided to break it up.

  14. - Morningstar - Thursday, Apr 9, 20 @ 5:39 pm:

    I agree with Commisar Gritty - the CDC interim guidance seems premature, and at this point, I have lost confidence that the CDC can provide sound medical advice which is independent of the administration’s eagerness to restart the economy.

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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker thanks Dr. Ezike, extends financial protections, points to progress, says no more daily COVID-19 briefings - Calls Trump tweets "reprehensible" - "I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country" - Defends budget decisions - Credits Illinoisans for progress against virus - No bill signing ceremonies - Hopes testing progress continues - "It seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world" - No out of state travel plans - Talks contact tracing - Asks Illinoisans to be careful during reopening - Will sign Medicare for undocumented seniors bill - Refuses to criticize Lightfoot for Trump comments - Talks about difficulties in securing testing locations - Dr. Ezike and Pritzker respond to question about what they've learned about themselves and leadership - "We're no longer in a stay at home order"
* 1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?
* COVID-19 roundup
* All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates
* School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition
* Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO
* Question of the day
* Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff
* Architects abandon alternative reopening plan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Sheriffs file suit against state for refusing to accept jail transfers
* Pritzker says IDPH has offered "suggestions" to churches - Says he's received "pushback" from some private nursing homes - IDPH will file new rule on nursing homes - Still looking at what to do about IDPH rule - Dodges question about Willie Wilson - Employers should use "common decency" when bring workers back - Will wait on feds before making any more budget decisions - Central Illinois hospitalization numbers improve - "We might potentially have to move backwards in the phases - "Not our intention" to make changes to Phase 4 guidance - No plans to dine at restaurant this weekend - No decision about ending daily briefing - Repeats that he has never encouraged police enforcement - Suggests GOP demand for IDES audit could be a "political move" - Still pondering school reopening - All testing is free - Asked about dangers of Legionella in large buildings - Testing and tracing metrics are "internal goals" - Points to federal rules on unemployment and workers who refuse to return - "Difficult for us to open theaters in the near future" - Dr. Ezike talks rules for malls - Dr. Ezike monitoring outbreak at county jail with ICE detainees
* Yesterday's stories

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