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COVID-19 roundup

Monday, Apr 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Molly Parker and Brian Munoz at the Southern Illinoisan

After initially reporting a small outbreak of COVID-19 at an immigration detention center in rural Southern Illinois in early April, county officials and the health department have clammed up about the spread of the virus inside the facility, even as advocates say detainees have been left in the dark and are fearful for their lives. […]

What’s happening inside one small detention center in Illinois raises important questions about how ICE and its contractors are handling the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 was introduced into the facility following a transfer of detainees on April 1, documents reveal, well after advocates sounded the alarm on the need for ICE — and other correctional institutions — to stop making unnecessary transfers. The purpose behind the recent transfer to the Pulaski County Detention Center is unknown as ICE and county officials have declined comment. […]

County officials have sought to tamp down concerns in Pulaski County as they’ve worried over whether news of an outbreak could lead to protests among detainees and immigrant rights’ groups and cost them a lucrative contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Jail fees bring in more than $8 million annually to the county of fewer than 5,500 people.

“You know, it’s just, you know, there’s not just a whole lot more we can say at the moment without jeopardizing Pulaski County’s relationship with ICE and the ICE contract. That’s what I just wish everybody would realize,” said Rex Wilburn, Pulaski County Board chairman, after the health department confirmed the first three cases among detainees there on April 9.

After initially disclosing that Pulaski County’s first cases of COVID-19 involved detainees, the Southern Seven Health Department, which covers the county, said it had changed its policy for releasing whether cases involved people in congregate settings. It has also directed another area health department not to disclose cases involving Pulaski County Detention Center employees to the media.

Go read the whole thing.

* Joe Mahr and Patrick M. O’Connell at the Chicago Tribune

The state released figures this weekend that showed a dramatic jump in deaths of those linked to long-term care facilities — to 625, more than double reported a week ago.

The latest figures compiled by the state showed that, as of a Friday count, at least 278 facilities had 4,298 cases of residents or workers testing positive. Illinois Department of Public Health figures from the prior week reported 186 facilities, with 286 deaths out of 1,860 cases.

As of now, a third of all Illinois deaths from the virus have been tied to long-term care facilities.

* Press release…

Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge President Chris Southwood, Illinois State Troopers Lodge 41 President Joe Moon, and Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Executive Director Shawn Roselieb issued the following joint statement after Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul determined that the addresses of those with positive COVID-19 test results could be shared with first responders so they are fully aware of the danger when they answer calls for assistance:

“The coronovirus has already killed several first responders in Illinois, and Attorney General Raoul’s ruling will help save the lives of those who remain in the front-line fight against this menace. First responders can’t see a virus, and not sharing these vital test results is like sending a police officer to a dangerous area without a bullet-proof vest. Sharing only with first responders during an enforcement action the addresses, but not the names, of those with positive test results is certainly better than publishing a funeral notice for another first responder who could have been saved by a simple piece of information.”

* Chicago Tribune’s live blog

Illinois repeals controversial worker’s compensation rule that presumed front-line workers with COVID-19 got it on the job

10th inmate in Illinois prison dies from a COVID-19-related illness: officials

Coronavirus victims tell their stories to dispel fear, stigma. Experts warn that some minority patients are being blamed for getting sick.

CDC adds six COVID-19 symptoms to its list, but many doctors, hospitals already had been using them

Farmers markets in some suburbs this year ‘won’t be the leisurely experience people are used to’

The law denies stimulus checks to Americans married to immigrants in the U.S. illegally. An Illinois man alleges that’s discrimination.

New poll shows rising support for mail-in voting due to coronavirus concerns, but Trump’s opposition resonating with GOP voters

Chicago health department launching app to communicate with those with COVID-19, prepare for vaccinations

Coronavirus school shutdown has been particularly tough on kids with disabilities: ‘It’s not just a disruption. We’re going to see kids who actually go backward.’

Chicago’s curve is flattening, but “not on the way back down yet,” public health commissioner says

* Sun-Times live blog

Chicago Loop Alliance cancels 2020 ACTIVATE season

We’re stuck at home, bars are closed: homebrew industry is exploding

‘You’re literally putting everyone around you in danger’: Pritzker responds to viral house party video

Small-business loan program resumes Monday morning: Here’s what you should know

South Side LGBTQ pride festival moves online amid COVID-19 concerns

Civic boosters look at promoting a post-pandemic city

A laugh amid the pandemic? It’s harder than you think

Chicago’s blues musicians, clubs hit hard by pandemic: ‘There’s gonna be a lot of songs to come from this’

* Roundup…

* Coronavirus antibody tests: Can you trust the results?

* ‘The food supply chain is breaking,’ Tyson says as plants close

* Want a mask contract or some ventilators? A White House connection helps

* Kids are ending up in intensive care for COVID-related syndrome, British doctors says

* Smithfield Idles Illinois Pork Plants Over Virus

* How hard will the coronavirus pandemic hit Illinois school finances and for how long?

* Workers Offer Troubling View Inside Chicago Nursing Homes Fighting COVID-19

* A Chicago nurse returned to work after recovering from coronavirus. His cough came back. He tested 2 more times and got different results.

* South Side Leaders Call On Walgreens To Open Coronavirus Test Site There

* Judge mandates additional social distancing rules at Cook County Jail

* Guns, abortion and COVID-19 opportunism — what Gov. Pritzker got right: “When an anti-gun Democrat governor declares that essential businesses include firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for the purposes of safety and security, that is a really big deal,” said Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. “Every governor should copy the Illinois example when issuing shelter-in-place and business closure orders in the face of the coronavirus.”

* Sangamon County: Two more resident deaths from The Villas in Sherman

* Residents call for Near North luxury tower to close hotel, say it’s a ‘significant health risk’

* Illinois State University officials considering options for fall semester


  1. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    === County officials have sought to tamp down concerns in Pulaski County as they’ve worried … cost them a lucrative contract ===

    I’m waiting for a GOP call for transparency …

  2. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    Good news out of ISU for H.S. Seniors and returning college students…

    ““All of that bodes very well for students coming back in the fall,” said Hodges.

    Dietz said, “I don’t think by any means we’re out of the woods” and said he expects “the new normal will be one of increased vigilance.”

  3. - Former Downstater - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    Two employees of the detention center carry the virus home, where it gets transferred to more people, who carry it to the grocery store, where it gets transferred to more people, etc., etc. That’s how this happens, folks, even in Pulaski County.

  4. - JB13 - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    We’re not just going to gloss over the “Food supply chain is breaking” story right? That seems… significant.

  5. - Downstate Illinois - Monday, Apr 27, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and the Tri-County Detention Center has long been a black hole for public information. It was the first county in the state I believe to not be served by a local newspaper though the weekly it once had barely served anything other than news releases and legal notices.

    Local county health agencies have long done a poor job of informing the public in this region. The local one won’t even post all of its news releases on its website regarding Coronavirus cases.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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