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COVID-19 roundup

Thursday, May 21, 2020

* Debra Pressey at the News-Gazette

Increased testing in Champaign County has recently turned up dozens of new cases a day — 27 were reported Wednesday — and many would otherwise have likely gone undetected.

“The majority of cases we’re seeing right now are asymptomatic or no symptoms,” said Awais Vaid, deputy administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

* This needs to be addressed pronto

After weeks of only treating emergencies, dentists in Illinois can now resume offering routine dental care, though there will be changes to office visits to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Yet many dentists say they’re struggling to find adequate personal protective equipment amid a national shortage — a potential roadblock to fully reopening.

“N95 masks and gowns are extremely hard to get, as are suitable face shields,” said Dr. Terri Tiersky, president of the Chicago Dental Society, who practices in north suburban Skokie. “We are all trying very hard to return to our patients, but we must do so safely, and we cannot do that without access to adequate amounts of the proper PPE.”

Dentists and hygienists are exposed to “as much or more aerosol spray than any other health care professional, but we seemingly haven’t been considered essential when it comes to obtaining vitally necessary PPE,” she added.

Which reminds me, I need to make an appointment.

* Burt Constable

Almost everybody who gets a phone call from Elizabeth Thorn of the NorthShore University HealthSystem’s COVID-19 hotline has the same initial reaction.

“A sharp intake of breath,” the 36-year-old Lincolnshire woman says of the response when she introduces herself and explains why she is calling. What Thorn usually says next elicits a greater response.

“You have tested positive for COVID-19, so you do have the virus,” says Thorn, a former physical therapist and care transformation manager who is trained to handle whatever happens next.

“Many are shocked. Some are in tears. Some are devastated,” Thorn says. “I’ve done thousands of calls. Each phone call is as unique as the person on the other line.”

* Phil Luciano

The daughter is stunned and saddened.

Her father, in his 80s, contracted COVID-19. While he was hospitalized, the family could not visit him, and he died alone. That was agonizing and heartbreaking.

But it’s not the worst part.

In the wake of his death, the daughter keeps getting peppered with a new kind of pain —- from friends, no less.

Day after day, she gets hit with insensitive questions and remarks about the disease that killed her dad. In the process, they cast the man — her loving, hard-working father —- as some sort of pariah.

“They make you feel like it’s a venereal disease,” she says.

* Back to the News-Gazette

The University of Illinois System is expecting a financial hit this fiscal year from COVID-19 of about $167 million, its chief financial officer said at Thursday’s virtual board of trustees meeting.

Nearly $50 million of that comes from adjustments to student fees for housing, dining and other activities, Avijit Ghosh said. […]

The UI received $63 million from the federal CARES Act, of which 50 percent goes directly to students for coronavirus-related financial aid.

“Federal stimulus funding will provide some relief to the universities, but it will be inadequate to cover the costs I mentioned,” Ghosh said.

* Sun-Times live blog

What are Chicagoans doing with their weekends during the coronavirus stay-at-home order?

Feds should do more to safeguard nursing homes from COVID-19, U. of C. expert tells Senate panel

Cicero nursing home where 10 died from coronavirus says current residents test negative

‘Cocktails for Hope’ would allow restaurants to sell carry-out drinks

If liquor stores, dispensaries are essential, why not churches? Willie Wilson asks

Seven in 10 Latinos worried about keeping up with rent, food, utilities during the pandemic, poll finds

CPS to allow drive-thru and home-visit graduation ceremonies

* Chicago Tribune live blog

Cook County Board passes Sept. 30 disaster proclamation extension, property tax late fee waiver

Amazon Studios seeking Chicago essential workers for new docuseries

Admiral Theatre is among a bevy of adult businesses suing to get a PPP loan. So far, the nightclubs are winning.

Coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ on contaminated surfaces: CDC

State unemployment office has doubled call center staff taking jobless claims, but complaints continue

Nearly 39 million US layoffs during pandemic; more than 1 million Illinois jobless claims since mid-March

City officials to announce mental health supports for Chicagoans

Self-swab tests coming to 17 CVS drive-thru sites in Illinois

Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, sun and sand are calling. But when will the beaches open?

Residents say they are being kept in the dark about COVID-19 as nearly 90 deaths are recorded at low-income housing in Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Scott - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    To Dr Tiersky:
    Willie Wilson has 35 million masks in his bensenville warehouse…
    N95 and surgical

  2. - Bourbon Street - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    I hope the Liquor Store v. Church Service debate ends soon. If people cannot see the difference between a quick trip to the store and an hour’s long (at least) service in an enclosed room with multiple people who are singing (at least part of the time), they simply have not been paying attention to articles warning about what is considered to be a “high-risk” activity.

  3. - Huh? - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    “enclosed room with multiple people who are singing”

    There are news reports of a Washington state church choir practice of 60 people. 45 contracted covid19, 3 hospitalizations and 2 dead. All from 1 asymptomatic super spreader.

    All the more reason to stay away from church. Not that I go any more, being an atheist.

  4. - filmmaker prof - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    Here’s one fee that U of I students are not getting refunded, the 3 million dollars per year collected from students to pay off the debt for building luxury suites at the football stadium.

  5. - dbk - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    Re: PPE for dental offices. Before they returned to performing anything but emergency procedures, didn’t it behold the state to ensure PPE was available to this (very vulnerable) professional group? I just don’t get it.

    Re: Churches opening
    Maybe those so eager to return to in-sanctuary services might like to read the following and ponder on it

  6. - filmmaker prof - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:29 pm:

    One fee the UI isn’t refunding is the $3 million it collects from students to pay off the debt for building luxury suites in the football stadium.

  7. - Anotheretiree - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    They were building Liberty ships in a week in the 40’s..once they built one in a day ..we should have several billion N95’s by now..we’re going to need them this fall in addition to now..

  8. - filmmaker prof - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    sorry about double post

  9. - revvedup - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    To Anotheretiree - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:51 pm:
    Sadly, we no longer have the industrial and manufacturing capacity we once had, because we’ve off-shored so much because it’s cheaper labor, and makes stockholders and CEO’s rich. That’s why people started sewing at home, distilleries and breweries started making hand sanitizer instead of booze (I’ve been donating 2 liter bottles and anything else to a local brewery because they didn’t have containers to package the sanitizer in the beginning–again, made in China cause it’s cheaper).

  10. - tully monster - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    Churches are operating. At mine there are four or five people — our organist, our priest, a eucharistic minister, a cantor, and someone to handle the streaming.

    I’d say there are about that many people in one of our local liquor stores at any given time–most people are doing pickup/delivery, just as most parishioners/church members are participating in the service online.

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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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