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More evidence that Tribune editorial board members don’t read their own newspaper

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune editorial published at 3:28 pm today

The October rise in COVID-19 cases isn’t surprising because people are spending more time indoors, and after seven months in crisis mode, fatigue is settling in. Not everyone is keeping their guard up and masks on.

Here’s what we didn’t see coming: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in conflict about whether to keep restaurant dining rooms open. As of this week, the governor ordered a new shutdown in the city of Chicago effective Friday, along with similar restrictions for Lake and McHenry counties, suburban Cook County and four other counties including DuPage. Caseloads and hospitalizations are rising. But Lightfoot disagrees with Pritzker’s decision.

We side with the mayor

* Tribune news report at 3:02 pm

A day after indicating she would try to talk Gov. J.B. Pritzker out of tightening restrictions in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday she had met with the governor and won’t try to block his order to ban indoor bar and dining service in the city.

“We had a very frank and productive conversation with the governor and his team and my team as well. We explored a lot of issues and we came out of that discussion really committed to making sure that we work hard together.”

  13 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** IHSA defies governor

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

According to several sources, the Illinois High School Association will announce Wednesday that the basketball season can start as scheduled. It’s a totally unexpected move that directly contradicts the guidelines Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health outlined on Tuesday. […]

“After diligent discussion, the Board has made the decision today to follow the recommendation of the IHSA SMAC as it relates to basketball,” IHSA spokesperson Matt Troha wrote in an email to athletic directors. “The Board remains considerate of rising COVID-19 cases in Illinois and understand the importance of adhering to safety guidelines for the good of all citizens. However, the Board has not been presented any causal evidence that rising COVID-19 cases make basketball more dangerous to play by the IDPH or any other health organization nationally or internationally.”

The email says the IHSA will “allow local school officials to make decisions related to participation.”

The disagreement between the IHSA and the governor/IDPH likely means the final decision will come down to the individual school districts. Theoretically the school districts would open themselves up to tremendous liability by playing against the guidelines of the governor and the IDPH.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Gov. Pritzker was asked about this today…

We’ve told school districts what the rules are and I think they all know. The IHSA may have their views on it but school districts know what the rules are and I think that it’s unfortunate, but they would be probably taking on legal liability if they went ahead and move beyond what the state has said is the mitigation standard.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the state school superintendent: “Defying the state’s public health guidance opens schools up to liability and other ramifications that may negatively impact school communities”

Dear Colleagues:

The Illinois High School Association recently announced its intention to move forward with the regularly scheduled basketball season, in contradiction to public health guidance. As COVID-19 cases rise across the State, the importance of following public health guidance has only increased.

We recognize the value of sports in students’ lives and share your hope that students can return safely to play this school year. However, at this moment, we urge you to prioritize health and safety, and to returning the 1.76 million students currently learning remotely to the classroom.

The parents and families of Illinois have trusted us as leaders not only with the education of their children but with their health and safety while in our care. Public health experts have determined that basketball poses a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and is not currently safe to play.

Defying the state’s public health guidance opens schools up to liability and other ramifications that may negatively impact school communities.

Our Illinois schools and communities are safer when we work together in support of public health standards. We are relying on superintendents and school leaders to make responsible choices to protect health and safety and to focus on bringing all of our students back to the classroom.

Sincerely,

Dr. Carmen I. Ayala

State Superintendent of Education

Illinois State Board of Education

  142 Comments      


Sun-Times Editorial Board: Save The Solar Industry In Veto Session

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

“Among all the states, Illinois jumped to the head of the pack when it comes to the environment in 2016 with its Future Energy Jobs Act, a law creating a welcoming market for installing solar energy. But because of delays in acting on a successor law to provide new funding, the solar energy industry is leaving the state in what is being called a falling off of the “solar cliff.”

Illinois is estimated to have lost close to 3,500 solar jobs already, and 1,000 more jobs could be gone by the end of the year…

Illinois has worked hard to become a leader in green energy, attracting jobs in the industry and improving the environment. The state has become an important home to businesses installing solar energy and making use of “community development” projects, in which property owners without good access to sunlight can share projects with other property owners.

Why let that industrial advantage slip away?”

Chicago Sun Times, 10/23/20 - Legislature should look at cleaner energy, criminal justice reform and pot laws in veto session

Learn more at https://www.pathto100.net/ Solar power is an affordable, local, and clean energy investment that benefits all Illinoisans.

  Comments Off      


Context is key

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jamie Munks and Dan Petrella at the Tribune covered House GOP Leader Jim Durkin’s press conference today

“I just went through DuPage County (data) for the month of October, and there’s not one case … that they can relate that goes back to restaurants,” Durkin said.

Chris Hoff, director of community health resources at the DuPage County Health Department, said last week that the department’s data has been widely misconstrued in arguing against restrictions on restaurants and bars.

While it’s true only a small percentage of outbreaks have been connected to specific eating and drinking establishments, only about 15% of the county’s more than 22,000 cases at the time had been tied to any specific location through contact tracing interviews with people who test positive.

“All of this information is based on those interviews with people, which means that information is only as good as the information we can get,” Hoff said, adding that the county has an ongoing campaign to encourage more people to answer the phone when tracers call.

Even when people do participate, it’s often difficult to pinpoint where they contracted the virus, he said.

“We know that the environments that promote transmission are indoor settings where there are large numbers of people who spend extended periods of time together without masks,” Hoff said. “And so bars and restaurants definitely fit the bill, along with a lot of other indoor venues.”

  22 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot and city’s top public health doc clearly not on the same page as mayor responded to mitigation order

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is how yesterday started

Chicago health officials released staggering numbers Tuesday that show just how quickly the coronavirus is spreading in the city, with one estimate indicating that more than 57,000 residents could currently be infected with the virus.

During a weekly press conference discussing the city’s latest travel restrictions, Dr. Allison Arwady, the director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said that approximately 8,213 Chicago residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and are currently considered to be “active” cases.

Those numbers are already high, but city health experts fear the virus could be even more widespread than that. According to Arwady, officials believe there could be between five and seven times as many active cases as are currently being reported, due to residents who haven’t been tested or who aren’t showing symptoms.

And

Gov. JB Pritzker said the mitigations were triggered in Chicago by seven straight days of hospital admission increases and eight consecutive days of rising test positivity. In Chicago, the number of non-ICU patients is up 72% since late September and the number of those in ICU is up 56% since October 1.

Chicago’s top public health official seemed to anticipate the move before the governor’s announcement.

“If the governor makes this decision, we will obviously support it,” Dr. Allison Arwady said earlier on Tuesday. “The numbers that we have seen here give me no reason to think that this is not imminent.”

But the mayor and her top doc were clearly not on the same page. Click here for more on that.

* Heather Cherone at WTTW has some interesting insights

In July, the Illinois Department of Health published its Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan, which laid out the metrics that would trigger restrictions on nonessential businesses and gatherings.

Pritzker’s actions on Tuesday followed that plan, and it was unclear why Lightfoot and her administration did not understand the metrics it details. […]

Hours after Lightfoot told reporters on Oct. 19 that she didn’t “think there is a cause and effect” between the surge in confirmed cases of the coronavirus and bars and restaurants, Pritzker told the news media he was confident there was a causal relationship between the fast spread of the virus and indoor dining and drinking.

Two days later, Lightfoot acknowledged that the risk of getting COVID-19 is “greatest” at bars and restaurants, “because people gather, they take their masks off, they have a drink, they socialize, they talk.”

* Mitchell Armentrout and Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times

That group could eventually include more than 7,500 restaurants statewide, according to Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia, who said he raised his estimate to almost a third of the industry that could be sunk in part due to the governor’s “extreme” measures.

“Why the full shutdown? At least let us try 25% capacity,” Toia said. “We know how to do this right — masking, social distancing and sanitizing. Any business doing it right should be kept open, and any one that isn’t should be shut down. We don’t understand why the restaurants are the only ones affected.”

The rules issued by Pritzker, who has cited studies suggesting bars and restaurants are “super spreading” sites, also mean other city gatherings will be limited to 25 people or 25% of room capacity.

The Democratic governor noted Chicago is averaging twice as many COVID-19 hospital admissions per day compared to a month ago, while its average seven-day testing positivity rate has almost doubled since the beginning of October.

* Jamie Munks, Gregory Pratt and Dan Petrella at the Tribune

Late last month, Lightfoot cited a decrease in COVID-19 cases as she allowed bars that don’t serve food to reopen for indoor drinking. She also eased rules on restaurants, gyms and other retailers, allowing them to increase capacity. The changes were Lightfoot’s attempt to ease the financial burden on Chicago businesses by lifting frequently criticized restrictions.

But they also came as the number of new COVID-19 cases per day was hovering around 300, well above the 200-case threshold the mayor set months ago as a goal before moderating restrictions.

Chicago now is averaging nearly 800 new cases a day, Arwady said. To put it into perspective, she said 400 was a level of concern and 200 was the level the city wanted to stay under.

So, Toia does have a decent point. Chicago restaurants were limited to 25 percent capacity until the end of September, when the mayor upped the cap and then the spread greatly intensified. But whether reverting back to that 25 percent limit would actually drive numbers back down is another story. I hope to ask that question of the governor today.

*** UPDATE *** Inevitable…


  20 Comments      


6,110 new cases, 51 additional deaths, 2,861 hospitalized, 6.7 percent positivity rate - Springfield region one day away from mitigation mark

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 6,110 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 51 additional deaths.

    Adams County: 1 female 80s
    Bureau County: 1 female 70s
    Clinton County: 1 female 90s
    Cook County: 1 youth, 3 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 females 90s
    DuPage County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 3 males 80s, 1 male 90s
    Franklin County: 1 female 50s
    Jefferson County: 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s
    Kankakee County: 1 female 80s
    Knox County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
    Lake County: 2 females 80s, 1 female 100+
    Macon County: 1 male 70s
    Madison County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s
    Marion County: 1 female 80s
    McLean County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 90s
    Peoria County: 2 females 80s, 2 females 90s
    Piatt County: 1 male 80s
    Rock Island County: 1 female 60s
    Stephenson County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
    Wayne County: 1 male 60s
    Whiteside County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
    Will County: 2 males 80s
    Winnebago County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 389,095 cases, including 9,619 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from October 21 – October 27 is 6.7%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 70,752 specimens for a total 7,459,042. As of last night, 2,861 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 600 patients were in the ICU and 243 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

And as noted in the headline, Region 3’s 7-day rolling average positivity rate has been at 8 percent or higher for two straight days. One more and mitigations are automatically triggered.

  8 Comments      


Lake and McHenry counties’ turn in mitigation

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As expected. From a press release…

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 9, Lake and McHenry counties, beginning at 12:01 am on Saturday, October 31, 2020. Region 9 has seen a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

The administration continues to work aggressively to support small businesses, distributing nearly $11 million in emergency grants and assistance to businesses and communities in Region 9 alone. Businesses in Region 9, as well as other regions currently under additional mitigations, will receive priority consideration for the current round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG), with $220 million available to help offset costs and losses businesses have incurred as a result of the pandemic.

“As of this morning, Region 9 – Lake and McHenry Counties – has now sustained an average positivity rate of 8 percent or higher for three days – meaning that they will join seven of our 11 other regions in operating under resurgence mitigations,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “So, beginning on Saturday at 12:01 a.m., public gatherings in Lake and McHenry counties will be reduced to 25 people, and indoor dining and indoor bar service will be temporarily closed – although outdoor service in tents and takeout, delivery and drive through service will remain available. These resurgence mitigations aim to cut down on some of the highest high-risk activities until we bring down the positivity rate in a region once again. I know this virus is hard on everyone. But this battle isn’t going away by itself. We have to manage our way through it with the tools we have available to us. And there are many of those tools that nearly everyone in our state has available to join the fight.”

“With Region 9 being added to the list of regions in mitigation, we are getting close to the entire state implementing mitigation measures,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “This is not just a warning, but a call to action. We continue to move backwards, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer. We turned the state around once, let’s do it again. Limit your potential exposures by wearing a mask, physically distancing, and limiting in-person gatherings. It will take all of us working together to beat this virus.”

Mitigation measures taking effect October 31 in Region 9 include:

Bars

    No indoor service
    All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
    All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
    No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
    Tables should be 6 feet apart
    No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
    No dancing or standing indoors
    Reservations required for each party
    No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants

    No indoor dining or bar service
    All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
    Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
    No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
    Reservations required for each party
    No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings

    Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
    No party buses
    Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places.

From the onset of the pandemic, support for small businesses has been one of the central features of the Pritzker administration’s COVID-19 response. Since March, the administration has launched a menu of small business and community relief programs – with over $500 million in grants and programs launched by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), including emergency hospitality grants, a downstate small business stabilization program, Fast Track Capital, and more. For more information on programs available for businesses and communities, please visit DCEO’s website.

While all regions are seeing an increase in positivity rates, Region 9 has experienced sustained increases in both positivity and hospitalization rates. The region is currently seeing an 8.4 percent positivity average, an increase from 4.8 percent in September and from 3.1% percent in June. COVID-related hospital admissions have also surged, now three times as high as September and five times as high as June.

As of today, including Region 9, a total of eight of the state’s 11 regions have triggered one of the state’s failsafe state-action metric. Currently, Regions 4, 5, 7, and 8 are operating under Tier 1 mitigation measures given that these regions continue to report a 7-day rolling positivity rate above 8 percent. Regions 10 and 11 will soon operate under Tier 1 mitigations given that these regions triggered additional mitigations based on sustained increases in both positivity and hospitalization rates. Region 1 is currently operating under Tier 2 mitigation measures after continuing to see a rise in positivity, even under the Tier 1 mitigation framework, with the highest rolling positivity average in the state.

In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 9 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate in Region 9 averages less than or equal to 6.5 percent over a three-day period, there is a decrease in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness over a three-day period, and the three-day rolling averages of ICU bed availability and medical/surgical bed availability is greater than or equal to 20 percent over a seven-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. Conversely, if the average positivity rate continues to increase over seven out of 10 days and the hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness continues to increase over seven out of 10 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied. If the metrics remain stable, the region will continue to be monitored.

As part of the administration’s robust response to the pandemic, the state continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation. Testing remains readily available throughout Illinois, as the state continues to average more than 70,000 tests per day. The administration will build upon this progress, given that testing remains a critical step to reduce further spread of the virus in communities. To find the nearest testing center, please visit DPH.Illinois.Gov/Testing.

IDPH will continue to work closely with local health departments in Lake and McHenry counties to provide education to the public and offer information to businesses and organizations on safe ways to reopen. The significance of face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing have been consistently emphasized by the administration throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website at www.dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois.

  18 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Asked by a reporter during the governor’s press conference today

Do you ever feel that you’re the most hated man in Illinois in this virus situation?

* Part of his response…


* The Question: How would you have reacted to that question?

  39 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** After weeks of enduring attacks, Londrigan puts up new explainer ad

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan’s campaign released its 11th television ad, “Truth,” which lays out the repeated fact checks of Congressman Rodney Davis’ lies. Multiple independent fact checks have called Davis’ ads and claims false, yet he continues to fill the airwaves with lies about Betsy as well as his disastrous health care record.

The KMOV fact check found Davis’ claim that Betsy Dirksen Londrigan is lying about not taking any money from Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and that Madigan spent nearly $300,000 to elect Dirksen Londrigan is “false.” The $300,000 Davis refers to is from the Democratic Party of Illinois, a group dedicated to electing Democrats to office in Illinois.

Davis also lied about Dirksen Londrigan breaking her promise not to accept corporate dollars, another claim KMOV confirmed is “false.” Unlike Davis, who has accepted more than $3 million in corporate PAC money, Dirksen Londrigan is refusing to accept corporate PAC money, now or when in Congress, so she won’t be beholden to anyone except the Central Illinois families she represents.

A separate fact check from WGLT also confirmed that Davis voted 11 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement despite his repeated false claims to the contrary. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would strip health care coverage from millions, including more than 31,000 in the 13th District, and remove protections from more than 282,500 13th District residents with pre-existing conditions.

“After all the ads, you deserve to know the truth,” said the narrator. “Independent fact checkers say Rodney Davis’ attacks against Betsy Londrigan just aren’t true. … The truth: Mike Madigan is not funding Londrigan’s campaign. Davis is also lying about his record on health care. “Davis voted 11 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement.””

“Trump Campaign Co-Chair Rodney Davis is taking a page out of the Trump Playbook by doubling down even after being called out repeatedly for his lies by independent fact checks,” said campaign spokeswoman Eliza Glezer. “Davis doesn’t want to run on his horrible health record so he’s resorting to lying to his constituents about his opponent and his disastrous record. Central Illinois families can’t trust Rodney Davis.”

* Rate it

* Script…

Betsy: I’m Betsy Londrigan and I approve this message.

Narrator: After all the ads, you deserve to know the truth.

Independent fact checkers say Rodney Davis’ attacks against Betsy Londrigan just aren’t true.

Reporter: That claim is false… That claim is false.

Narrator: The truth: Mike Madigan is not funding Londrigan’s campaign.

Davis is also lying about his record on health care.

“Davis voted 11 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement.”

We can’t trust Rodney Davis.

* Meanwhile…

Yet another independent fact checker has confirmed that the false claims in Betsy Londrigan’s attack ad featuring the former owner of the Feed Store are not true. In a tweet, WCIA’s Mark Maxwell said the claims in Londrigan’s “misleading attack ad” are “baseless” and “false.”

From WCIA:

Richardson said the Londrigan campaign “called up and asked if we’d be willing to make that ad, and explained what the subject was, so I thought about it for about a day or so and said, ‘sure, yeah.’”

Londrigan’s campaign did not make a strategist or advertising consultant available for an interview, but the campaign acknowledged the ad’s message was crafted to connect with voters who are frustrated with the economic fallout from the pandemic.

“The PPP loan program was supposed to be a lifeline for small businesses, but we got the run around while political insiders got the money first, and funds ran out,” Richardson said in the ad.

Fact check: PPP funds were quickly replenished, and while the application window has closed, the program still has available funds remaining. The temporary lack of funding did not prevent Richardson from applying for a loan. There’s no evidence Davis ever tipped the scales in favor of his brother’s company or against any other company.

“Rodney Davis’s family got to the front of the line for a million dollar payout, and he voted to keep it secret while businesses like ours suffered,” Richardson says.

Fact check: Several hundred thousand companies successfully applied for wildly popular COVID-19 relief loans within the first few days of the program’s opening. There is no evidence the Congressman’s influence expedited their application or slowed down anyone else’s.

The Londrigan campaign cites a vote on House Resolution 6782 to support their claim that “he voted to keep it secret.”

Fact check: The text of that bill would have only required loans worth more than $2 million to be publicly disclosed, and would not have applied to the loan in question.

The Davis campaign says the political attack ad is “absurd” and “dishonest.”

WCIA video: Fact check: Davis never voted to keep brother’s loan “a secret”

Last week, KMOV called the false claims in a similar TV ad from the Londrigan campaign “misleading” and also said “there is no evidence showing Rep. Rodney Davis had anything to do with his family getting PPP.” The Illinois Times also reported, “There also is no proof that the congressman’s family was treated any differently than anyone else…”

*** UPDATE 1 *** Congressional Leadership Fund is up with a new ad

*** UPDATE 2 *** Congressman Davis…

Today, Rodney Davis’ campaign for Congress released two new ads, “No Proof” and “Very Best.” The first ad, “No Proof,” highlights independent fact checks of Betsy Londrigan’s lies about Rodney Davis and his family, and also highlights Rodney’s support for the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program.

The second ad, “Very Best,” highlights Londrigan’s close ties to Mike Madigan and Rodney’s bipartisan work to lower healthcare costs, protect pre-existing condition coverage, and support small business.

No proof

I think that could be a mistake. We’ll see.

Very best

  31 Comments      


Rate Ives’ closing cable ad

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, Congressional candidate Jeanne Ives (IL-06) released her final cable ad of the General Election, highlighting opponent, Rep. Sean Casten’s, dismal record of choosing tax hikes and special interests over the real people and small businesses of Illinois Sixth Congressional District.

The ad, Trust, confronts the fact that for the past two years Sean Casten has neglected his district to push for sweetheart tax deals and subsidies for special interests. Casten has been so diligent in his self-dealing, that when the CARES Act was being negotiated in the House, his first action was not to ask what his district would get. No. Congressman Casten’s first play was to lobby Nancy Pelosi for special energy subsidies.

The ad goes on to contrast Casten’s disinterest in those he serves with Ives’ involvement in her community and service to her neighbors.

* The ad

* Script

America stands at a crossroads.

Sean Casten’s shown us his path:

More government.

Higher taxes.

Debt for our children.

Jeanne Ives walks our path.

Safely opening businesses;

Getting kids back in school;

Protecting our families.

That’s why our neighbors and job creators endorse Jeanne.

She’ll unleash America’s economy.

And believes in America’s Spirit.

Don’t trust another Washington insider.

Trust the leader who has walked our path.

And has always stepped up for us.

  19 Comments      


COVID-19 roundup

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Are Lake and McHenry next?

The region that includes Lake and McHenry counties could face the same restrictions as early as Saturday. Positive COVID-19 results, measured as a seven-day average, exceeded 8% of tests given for two straight days in those counties. A third day would trigger more restrictions.

Region 6, which includes Champaign County, Decatur and much of the Eastern Bloc region, is getting up there. It’s latest positivity rate average is 7.9 percent, excluding the UIUC results.

* Speaking of Region 6, here’s WCIA

With positive tests on the rise across the state, more people are getting tested. The testing site at the Market Place Mall is a prime example.

On Tuesday morning, more than 100 cars were in line. They were lined up around the mall, making it difficult to get in.

The drive-thru testing site has not seen this kid of response since it opened in May.

That doesn’t sound good.

* This is definitely not good

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to increase across the state. As of Monday night, the state reported 2,758 people in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 595 in intensive care unit beds and 241 using ventilators. Those numbers were once again new highs since early to mid-June.

* Confirmation of what most of us already know

Researchers at the University of Kansas report counties with mask mandates thwarted significant escalation in transmission of COVID-19 and counties operating without a requirement people wear a face covering suffered steady infection rate increases. […]

“Cases in counties with a mask mandate stopped increasing. They didn’t go away. They stopped increasing,” Ginther said. “And, cases in counties without a mandate, starting in mid-August, just kind of went crazy.”

The KU researchers demonstrated Kansas counties without the mask order experienced a surge in coronavirus infection rates that climbed from about 10 cases per 100,0000 in July to nearly 40 cases per 100,000 in October. The number of cases for counties covered by the mask order plateaued since July at around 20 cases per 100,000.

Masks are not 100 percent effective, but they do work. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The study is here.

* Reuters

Antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer, a study found on Tuesday, suggesting protection after infection may not be long lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community.

Scientists at Imperial College London have tracked antibody levels in the British population following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April.

Their study found that antibody prevalence fell by a quarter, from 6% of the population around the end of June to just 4.4% in September. That raises the prospect of decreasing population immunity ahead of a second wave of infections in recent weeks that has forced local lockdowns and restrictions.

Although immunity to the novel coronavirus is a complex and murky area, and may be assisted by T cells, as well as B cells that can stimulate the quick production of antibodies following re-exposure to the virus, the researchers said the experience of other coronaviruses suggested immunity might not be enduring.

* SJ-R

A church and nursing home in Jacksonville are among the latest places with COVID-19 outbreaks, health officials said Tuesday.

The Morgan County Department of Public Health said 11 people who have attended Westfair Baptist Church had the virus. Department officials also confirmed two residents and two staff members of Heritage Health Therapy and Senior Care were infected.

Dale Bainter, Morgan County’s public health administrator, said there is a lot of community spread of the virus.

“We’re just seeing a lot of small clusters and pockets, and … family spread.” He said it’s sometimes hard to identify the origin of a case.

“Let’s say we’ve got two outbreaks, but we might have a family … impacted by both,” Bainter said. “You don’t know which caused the other one.”

* Not the greatest idea I’ve ever heard

DeKalb County Board member Larry West, a Republican representing the county’s first district, also weighed in on mitigation enforcement in a Saturday social media comment on a public Daily Chronicle social media post.

“Here is an idea….as long as any business has restrictions on it and employees and owners are not able to make ends meet, the state government should not be paid,” West wrote. “This would be the governor, his cabinet and advisors, all state senate and representatives and health department. This should include county boards and health departments. Being a board member I would support this until our local businesss are safe.”

* Other stuff…

* Chicago election officials still looking to assign polling places for 7 precincts in the final stretch to Election Day

* 9 Winnebago County sheriff’s deputies, 1 sergeant test positive for COVID-19

* DuPage County Sheriff’s Office Launches Internal Probe After Staff Are Seen Dining Inside Restaurant, Against Governor’s Orders

  30 Comments      


Today’s number: 124,000 hours of IDES overtime

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WICS TV

More than 124,000 hours of overtime, equaling more than $6.4 million.

That is what has been dished out to employees of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) because of the increased need for their services.

Representatives from around Illinois on both sides of the aisle say 124,000 hours of overtime in nine months is not sustainable.

Rep. Kathy Willis, D-Northlake, said it is not fair to the employees or the people of Illinois.

However, IDES said they really had no other option. […]

Willis said the crux of this issue is the lack of employees that the department has. She said with all of this overtime, more progress should have been made thus far.

Discuss.

…Adding… Rep. Willis in comments…

Want to add something that i actually said in the interview that conveniently got cut… I actually thanked the employees that were willing to work the overtime to help the people that needed unemployment help. I also mentioned that having people work such long hours of overtime that adds to the stress of their job and again how the employees were willing to step up and work through the back log.

  28 Comments      


Downstate manufacturing training academies to be created by state

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* News-Gazette

During a visit Tuesday in Champaign, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced plans to create two community college–based manufacturing training academies.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will provide a total of $15 million for two capital grants through a competitive application process.

The manufacturing training academies will be constructed in downstate Illinois, where the DCEO said there’s a shortage of skilled laborers.

Pritzker made the announcement at Champaign-based Eden Park Illumination, which was founded by two University of Illinois professors and makes ultraviolet lighting for various industries.

* Capitol News Illinois

[DCEO Director Erin Guthrie] noted that Eden Park has grown rapidly in recent months, creating a large number of new jobs in the Champaign area.

“However, they need help with the hiring to fill the demand they have both for their customers and as they make product advancements and innovate,” she said. “The same is true for many of other Illinois companies that we’ve heard from. The need for skilled manufacturers is a big one and it weighs heavily on them as they plan for the future.”

Despite the decline of manufacturing nationally, Guthrie said it is still the largest contributor to the state’s economy, employing more than 500,000 workers and accounting for $60 billion in exports annually.

But David Boulay, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, said rapidly changing technology in the industry is making it challenging for manufacturers to find the skilled labor they need.

“Worker skills really are expiring like never before,” he said. “Automation, artificial intelligence, collaborative robots are creating massive change in the workplace. And even during this pandemic, we are seeing the signs of that massive change accelerated.”

* Related…

* Illinois receives $116M in water infrastructure grants

  9 Comments      


Urbana city council calls on Pritzker to enact utility disconnection moratorium

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WICS

The Urbana City Council is calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to enact a mandatory moratorium on utility disconnections.

This comes after the council passed a resolution to prioritize making utility shutoffs a safety risk.

Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin hand-delivered the resolution to the governor’s staff on Tuesday, Oct. 27, while Pritzker made a stop in Champaign. […]

“I don’t have the ability to simply put a moratorium in a place like that,” Pritzker said. “What we did do was go to the ICC and have them work with all of the utilities to try to have a moratorium on shutoffs.” […]

“I was surprised to hear him say that he didn’t have the power to do that,” Marlin said.

Thoughts?

  20 Comments      


React rolls in to winter prep sports changes

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. NBC 5

On the eve of a special IHSA board meeting to announce new details about the fate of the winter high school sports season, Illinois health officials have moved basketball from being classified as a “moderate risk” sport to the “higher risk” category.

According to new guidelines released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the department assessed the risk for transmission associated with basketball, and found that it should be classified as a “higher risk” activity. […]

While it isn’t clear what that could mean for the winter basketball season, some clarity could be coming, as the IHSA will host a special board meeting on Wednesday to provide updates on its various winter sports, and to vote on the path forward for those activities.

* Tribune

Winter high school sports seasons in Illinois were “put on hold” Tuesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Practice for boys and girls basketball seasons were expected to begin Nov. 16, with games to be played as early as Nov. 30.

But the IDPH moved basketball from medium risk to high risk on its website Tuesday, and under current conditions in the coronavirus pandemic, high-risk sports are allowed only no-contact practices.

* IHSA statement

Craig Anderson, IHSA Executive Director:

“About 15 minutes prior to Governor Pritzker’s press conference today, we were alerted that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has elevated the sport of basketball from a medium risk level to a high risk level. We remain considerate of the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our state. However, in our meeting with IDPH on Friday (October 23), we felt that we presented multiple options that would allow for basketball to be conducted safely by IHSA schools this winter, many of which are being utilized in neighboring states who plan to play high school basketball. Despite that setback, there is some positive news, as IDPH accepted the IHSA’s mitigations related to other sports, including cheerleading and dance, allowing them to move from a medium risk level to a low risk level. We will hold our special Board of Directors meeting on October 28 as scheduled, where our Board will provide direction on the other winter sports, as well as discuss the IHSA sports schedule for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.”

* News-Gazette

Later Tuesday, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association released its own statement in response to Pritzker’s announcement, with the organization’s Twitter account posting that the IBCA is “very disappointed to learn of (Tuesday’s) decision by the governor and IDPH.”

“Our data suggests that the spread of this virus has been minimal inside our gyms among our student-athletes and coaches,” the IBCA statement reads.

The aforementioned data comes from a survey sent out by the group to the state’s basketball coaches that tabulated both the use of summer and fall contact days and the number of positive COVID-19 tests in programs.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes will always be a primary consideration of our coaches,” the statement reads. “But we have not been given specific information as to why basketball has been elevated to “High Risk” in Illinois. … The lack of transparency is incredibly frustrating for all of us who simply want to enjoy playing the game of basketball in our home state of Illinois.

“We strongly urge the governor and IDPH to re-evaluate their decision to move basketball to the “High Risk” category and to provide clarity with the metrics used to drive these decisions.”

* Bucky Dent

This is not to criticize Pritzker for using science and data to make his decisions. He’s been very consistent on that over the last 7 ½ months. And you’d rather see someone err on the side of caution in a pandemic.

But you can’t blame players, coaches and administrators around the state for feeling as though Pritzker dealt them the stick’s short end again. It’s also not unfair to say that the lines of communication between Pritzker and the IHSA could stand to be much better.

If it looks like Pritzker has upstaged the IHSA in order to get his way, well, you know what they say.

Perception for some is reality.

* Related…

* Prep Basketball Coaches Disappointed Sport Moved to ‘High Risk,’ Await IHSA Decision Wednesday

* Local coaches react to Gov. Pritzker, IDPH release of new winter sport guidelines

* Coaches upset with basketball’s upgrade to high-risk sport

  54 Comments      


Open thread

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gotta agree with Hannah…


Keep it Illinois-centric and polite, please. Thanks.

  17 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and some campaign news

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

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*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


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Source: Lightfoot missed Monday call with Pritzker, but her staff was briefed

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mayor Lightfoot went well beyond state rules and strictly limited indoor dining until late September. And now

Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushed back late Tuesday on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to suspend indoor dining and drinking in Chicago to stop a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, the latest sign of a serious split between the officials leading the effort to stem the pandemic.

“Communication is the key to navigating through this crisis,” Lightfoot said in a statement to reporters. “We will continue our efforts to engage with the governor and his team to better understand their metrics so that we can forge targeted solutions to address the public health challenges here in Chicago and across the state.”

During an interview Tuesday evening on the “PBS NewsHour,” Lightfoot said she had asked Pritzker to reverse his order.

“If the governor’s order goes into effect, it’s shutting down a significant portion of our economy at a time when those same businesses are hanging on by a thread,” Lightfoot said.

But a clearly angry source close to the governor pushed back on the assertion that Lightfoot was blindsided…

The governor and the mayor were supposed to speak on Monday, but the mayor didn’t call the governor. Staff were briefed on the metrics.

Not to mention that all anyone had to do was look at the numbers and it was pretty crystal clear what was about to happen for days in advance.

* Greg Hinz

Lightfoot immediately pushed back on that assertion.

“The mayor reached out on Monday to the governor” to schedule a meeting to talk about COVID and the state’s plans, said spokeswoman Jordan Troy. “The governor was traveling, so they didn’t talk but to accommodate the governor’s schedule a meeting was set for tomorrow (Wednesday). ” As a result, “There was no need for another talk.”

Team Pritzker is sticking with its story that Lightfoot was the one who was supposed to have called to finalize a time to talk. “The governor has been publicly warning for days about Chicago’s troubling numbers,” said the senior Pritzker aide.

…Adding… Hannah makes a very valid point…


The time to address the “metrics” was in August, or September or even early October.

  20 Comments      


Pritzker goes off on Jacobson

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WIND’s Amy Jacobson prefaced her question at the governor’s press conference today with a short speech on bar owners who don’t trust the state’s science. And then she claimed that “people in each county want the breakouts for each county” for contact tracing to see the info for themselves. Gov. Pritzker said counties are required to publish that information and said the state was working on aggregating it in one place. He then gave a short speech of his own to the far-right talk radio host

I would just say back to you, Amy, that, you know, I would appreciate it if you would spend a little more time promoting people wearing masks, promoting people doing the right thing in this very difficult time when people are dying and getting sick, and a little less time sort of ginning up the idea that this is a hoax or giving people a platform for the idea that this is some sort of conspiracy. I just want to point out every day - no, you asked question after question, let me answer you - question after question is always about trying to find some thing that might have been done wrong along the way. And the reality is we’re all trying very hard to get this right. All across the country, every state is fighting this right now. Can you not see that? COVID is rising everywhere. Let’s not try to find the loopholes here and there, but instead find ways that we can promote safety and health.

* That ain’t her job, but check out the response from the station…


Thoughts?

  43 Comments      


Piatt County board to discuss $50K budget cut to public health department, raises for non-union workers

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Piatt County Journal-Republican

The Piatt County board will consider a balanced budget at a special meeting Wednesday morning, one that relies on $218,000 in federal pandemic aid and a new $250,000 tort levy to boost revenues. As approved by the county board finance committee on Oct. 23, it also trims the local health department levy by $50,000 in order to help the struggling county corporate general fund. […]

As for the levy cut for the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Director David Remmert said it could actually result in a $100,000 revenue hit for his agency.

“Our budget is based on an agreement developed years ago between the two counties that ties the two tax levies we receive together, so what happens in Piatt also has to happen in DeWitt. I don’t believe the board or the fiscal consultant they’ve brought in understand the predicament that leaves us in, and I’m hopeful they will discuss this further,” he said.

The levy adjustment was made after the committee decided on the balanced version of the budget, added back in $30,000 for a sheriff’s police car, and figured in 2 percent raises for employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Unreal.

The state needs to redo the entire local public health system’s structure.

  21 Comments      


Winter sports guidelines released

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Click here for a document entitled “Science Behind Winter Sports Guidance.” Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH announced updated guidance for youth and adult recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports, travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. Collegiate sports and professional leagues are not impacted by these restrictions. The updated guidance was developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in conjunction with public health experts from around the state and nation and reflects the high levels of risk associated with contact sports played indoors. The guidance also accounts for new research related to COVID-19 and sports, sports related outbreaks in other states, and the fact that the second wave of the pandemic is now well underway in all regions of Illinois.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us – because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring.” said Governor JB Pritzker. “It’s with that in mind that today, my administration is releasing our updated guidance for youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois ahead of the winter season. As with sports in the fall, nothing is ‘cancelled,’ just put on hold until we’re through the thick of this pandemic. We adapt as we learn. That has been our mantra throughout this pandemic, and as is true in every other facet of life, we know this virus is of most concern when people are indoors with high contact, especially in vigorous situations that bring about heavy breathing – like in wrestling, hockey and basketball. Life in a pandemic is hard for everyone, and it’s hard for all of our kids, whether or not they play sports. That doesn’t make it any easier – but we really are all in this together.”

The youth sports guidance puts sports into three risk levels, lower, medium, or higher, based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play. The guidance sets four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions. In all levels, some form of play is allowed ranging from practice and trainings in level 1 to tournaments and conference play in level 4.

    In level 1, only no-contact practices and training are allowed.
    In level 2, intra-team scrimmages are allowed with parental consent for minors but there can be no competitive play.
    In level 3 intra-conference, intra-EMS-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only.
    In level 4, tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed. Championship games would also be allowed in level 4.

Based on current conditions, lower risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and higher risk sports can be played at level 1.

The updated guidance moves basketball from medium risk to high risk due to the close contact of players and indoor play. Wrestling and hockey continue to be categorized as high risk as well. Cheer and dance will be categorized as lower risk, only if masking and distance are enforced. Low risk sports like bowling, gymnastics, swimming and diving will be permitted to play during winter.

“The science, as we know it right now, applies in all situations,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “The more people you are in contact with, the longer you are together, and the closer you are together, the greater your risk of getting COVID-19. Being face to face with another person for a basketball or football game puts players at higher risk of getting and spreading the virus. Right now, cases across Illinois and the country are increasing.”

Similar to other guidance, sports organizations should make temperature checks available and participants and coaches should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and should not participate if they are experiencing illness. If multiple individuals have symptoms or test positive, coaches or organizations should alert their local health department. Sports organizers or coaches also must maintain attendance logs of participants for contact tracing purposes. Masks should be worn by everyone in attendance. Spectator limits should follow mitigation occupancy limits in each region. For Tier One mitigation that limits spectators to 25 people or less. For Tier Two mitigations no spectators should be allowed.

Athletic equipment such as bats and hockey sticks should be cleaned between each use. Other equipment, including personal gear such as hockey, football, lacrosse, or other sports using helmets, pads, or gloves should only be used by one person and not shared. Coaches should limit access to locker rooms as much as possible.

Illinois first issued guidelines for youth and recreational sports in late May when every region in the state advanced to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, marked by return to work, the reopening of retail as well as the return of specific recreational activities. The latest guidelines make adjustments to temporarily halt competitive play for most higher to medium-risk sports pending further health progress, as well as to provide additional clarity on capacity limits and high school sports.

A full list of the winter safety guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website at https://dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois/.

  27 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Your one-word description of this week so far? One word only, please.

  95 Comments      


It’s official: IDPH mitigation measures announced for Chicago

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 11, the City of Chicago, beginning at 12:01 am on Friday, October 30, 2020. Region 11 has triggered additional mitigations due to a sustained increase in its positivity rate as well as a sustained increase in COVID-related hospitalizations for more than seven of the past ten days. These increases exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. Region 11 is the second of the state’s 11 regions to trigger additional mitigations based on sustained increases in positivity and hospitalization rates, the first being its neighbor, Region 10 (Suburban Cook County) earlier in the week.

Support for small businesses has been one of the central features of the Pritzker administration’s COVID-19 response. Thus far, nearly $33 million has been distributed in emergency grants and assistance to businesses and communities in Region 11 alone. Chicago businesses, as well as other regions currently under additional mitigations, will receive priority consideration for the current round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG), with $220 million available to help offset costs and losses businesses have incurred as a result of the pandemic.

“Region 11 is now averaging more than twice as many COVID-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago, with a positivity rate that has almost doubled since the beginning of October,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “So, starting on Friday the City, too, will begin operating under our resurgence metrics, with a closure of indoor restaurant and bar service and a restrained gathering cap limit of 25 people. We can’t ignore what is happening around us – because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring. So please, no matter where you live, what your politics are, where you work or who you love: Illinois: mask up! And we’ll get through this together.”

“When the first several regions started implementing mitigation measures, it was because the 7-day rolling test positivity was above 8% for three consecutive days,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “What we are starting to see now, first with suburban Cook County, and now with Chicago, is that mitigation measures are needed because COVID-19 hospital admissions are going up alongside increases in test positivity. Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems. Please, for our health care workers, yourself, and your community, keep distance between you and others, wash your hands, and always wear a mask when around people.”

Mitigation measures taking effect October 30 in Region 11 include:

Bars

    No indoor service
    All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
    All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
    No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
    Tables should be 6 feet apart
    No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
    No dancing or standing indoors
    Reservations required for each party
    No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants

    No indoor dining or bar service
    All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
    Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
    No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
    Reservations required for each party
    No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings

    Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
    No party buses
    Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places.

From the onset of the pandemic, the administration has worked to prioritize distributing emergency relief for small businesses and communities impacted by COVID-19. Since March, the administration has launched a menu of small business and community relief programs – with over $500 million in grants and programs launched by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), including emergency hospitality grants, a downstate small business stabilization program, Fast Track Capital, and more. For more information on programs available for businesses and communities, please visit DCEO’s website.

In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track metrics in Region 11 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate in Region 11 averages less than or equal to 6.5% over a three-day period, there is a decrease in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness over a three-day period, and the three-day rolling averages of ICU bed availability and medical/surgical bed availability is greater than or equal to 20% over a seven-day period, the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. Conversely, if the average positivity rate continues to increase over seven out of 10 days and the hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness continues to increase over seven out of 10 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied. If the metrics remain stable, the region will continue to be monitored.

As of today, including Region 11, seven of the state’s 11 regions have triggered one of the state’s failsafe state-action metric. By tomorrow, Regions 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10 will all operate under Tier 1 mitigation measures given that these regions continue to report a 7-day rolling positivity rate above 8%. Region 1 is currently operating under Tier 2 mitigation measures after continuing to see a rise in positivity even under the Tier 1 mitigation framework, now at a rolling positivity average of 12.5% as of this morning.

As part of the administration’s robust response to the pandemic, the state continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation. Testing remains readily available throughout Illinois. Chicago has state-run operations in Auburn Gresham that operate daily, in addition to the multiple free testing locations offered by the City of Chicago. In the past month alone, Regions 10 and 11 each reported an increase of roughly 50 percent in testing. The administration will continue to build upon this progress, given that testing remains a critical step to reduce further spread of the virus in communities. To find the nearest testing center, please visit DPH.Illinois.Gov/Testing.

IDPH will also continue to work closely with the Chicago Public Health Department (CDPH) to provide education to the public and offer information to businesses and organizations on safe ways to operate. The significance of face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing have been consistently emphasized by both the city and the state throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website at www.dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois.

  10 Comments      


Sign of the times

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From a reader…

On the entrance of a north suburban Walgreens, I assume because misinformation is out of control.

The pic…

  26 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Chicago appears to trigger IDPH mitigation with huge hospitalization growth, as statewide figures show 4,000 new cases, 46 additional deaths, 2,758 hospitalized and a 6.4 percent positivity rate

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Kelly Bauer yesterday

The city could soon face more restrictions, including the banning of indoor dining and drinking, to try to rein in the coronavirus surge here.

Starting Wednesday, six of Illinois’ 11 regions, including the suburbs in Cook County, will be under what Gov. JB Pritzker has dubbed “enhanced mitigations.” The mitigations include stopping indoor service, limiting gathering sizes and putting an 11 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants.

Chicago, where cases and the positivity rate have skyrocketed in recent weeks, is well on its way to tripping the same metrics that will lead to those stricter rules.

Officials will take action if they see an increase in a region’s seven-day average positivity rate for seven days out of 10, as well as one of these indicators:

    A seven-day increase in hospital admissions for a coronavirus-like illness.
    A reduction in hospital capacity that would threaten the area’s surge capabilities
    Three consecutive days where a region averaged a positivity rate of 8 percent or higher.

According to IDPH, the city has now reached the seven-day increase in hospital admissions mark. Daily hospital admissions for coronavirus-like illness increased by 43 percent in that week.

In suburban Cook, daily hospital admissions for coronavirus-like illness increased by 58 percent in a week. That is not a trend anyone wants.

* Meanwhile…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 4,000 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 46 additional deaths.

    - Adams County: 1 female 70s
    - Carroll County: 1 male 90s
    - Clinton County: 1male 60s, 1 male 80s
    - Coles County: 1 female 90s
    - Cook County: 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
    - DuPage County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s
    - Jefferson County: 1 female 90s
    - Jo Daviess County: 2 females 90s
    - Kane County: 1 male 80s
    - Knox County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
    - LaSalle County: 2 female 80s
    - Macon County: 1 female 70s
    - Madison County: 1 female 80s
    - Mason County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
    - McLean County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 90s
    - Moultrie County: 1 female 50s
    - Pike County: 1 female 70s
    - Richland County: 2 females 90s
    - Rock Island County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
    - St. Clair County: 1 male 70s
    - Vermilion County: 1 male 70s
    - Warren County: 1 male 60s
    - Wayne County: 1 male 90s
    - Whiteside County: 1 female 80s
    - Will County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
    - Williamson County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 80s
    - Woodford County: 1 male 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 382,985 cases, including 9,568 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from October 20 – October 26 is 6.4%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 62,074 specimens for a total 7,388,290. As of last night, 2,758 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 595 patients were in the ICU and 241 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

*** UPDATE 1 *** As noted by a commenter, Region 3, which includes Springfield, just hit an average 8 percent positivity rate. Two more days in a row of this will trigger mitigation.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Region 10 is suburban Cook County. From IDPH…

  38 Comments      


Today’s must-read

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* John Lippert and Natalie Moore at the BGA

Amazon has been quietly cutting such deals in and around Chicago since 2015, winning tax breaks and public incentives to build 36 warehouses as part of its nationwide effort to expand its own distribution system, cut its dependence on rival shippers like the U.S. Postal Service and bolster its famous promises of next-day delivery.

To help pay for its vast expansion, the company and its developers have won at least $741 million in taxpayer-funded incentives in northeast Illinois alone, according to a Better Government Association/WBEZ investigation.

An examination of public records from more than two dozen municipalities provides new details in Amazon’s six-year effort, revealing a patchwork of nondisclosure agreements, a lack of transparency during negotiations and suburbs pitted against each other to secure the most favorable deal.

The BGA/WBEZ analysis found the company received far more tax breaks from communities of color — like University Park.

Amazon collected less than $100 million in public incentives for the 15 warehouses it built in predominantly white communities but won more than $640 million in taxpayer incentives for the 21 projects built in communities with larger nonwhite populations, the examination found. Many of those communities are either mostly Black, mostly Latinx or have higher concentrations of low-income residents, and with municipal budgets already short on cash.

Records show the three largest incentive packages Amazon received — totaling $512 million — all came from predominantly Black suburbs. By contrast, the company built warehouses in at least seven mostly white communities that reported offering no public incentives at all.

  26 Comments      


A pattern is developing

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rep. Darren Bailey as interviewed by Jim Meadows

“I believe wholeheartedly that Gov. Pritzker is trying to destroy the economy of Illinois,” said Bailey. “He’s trying to wreck it, so he can bring us to an early bankruptcy, whatever that looks like, so that he, hoping for a Biden presidency, will possibly receive a complete federal bailout, as well with many other states. We cannot let that happen.”

Bailey also said COVID-19 is “much like the flu.” Except, of course, there’s a vaccine for influenza. And he complained that nursing homes are being “locked down,” which is odd.

* He’s not the only one who claims that Pritzker is deliberately trying to “wreck” the economy. From my weekly syndicated newspaper column

Even so, Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) complained during a House Republican campaign press conference last week about the state mitigation measures which will soon be imposed on her home county of DuPage, claiming that “we do not have the same type of crisis scenario that we did back in March.”

Scientists knew very little about the virus in March, so people didn’t know quite what to do. Also, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said over and over that he has zero plans to impose another sweeping stay-at-home order, which shut down a gigantic swath of an already mostly self-shuttered economy beginning in March.

The new mitigations apply mainly to bars and restaurants, closing indoor service and limiting hours. There is really no comparison between these mitigations and what was imposed in March. Remember when you couldn’t get a haircut, or visit the doctor for a routine checkup, have a cavity filled or hang out with a friend? This is most definitely not that.

Mazzochi went on to declare that the governor is “perfectly happy to wreck what’s going on in DuPage.”

  29 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Kane County judge cites misinformation in restaurant TRO decision

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Eric Schelkopf at the Kane County Chronicle

Kane County judge Kevin Busch on Monday granted a temporary restraining order to prevent Gov. JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Kane County Health Department from enforcing an indoor dining ban at FoxFire restaurant in Geneva. […]

“There is no question that a person’s ability to pursue their calling, to earn a living and to run a business is a protectable right under both the federal and state constitution and is inherent in everyone’s natural right to liberty,” Busch said, in issuing his opinion. “The state’s ability to deprive people of their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is tempered by due process.” […]

Busch agreed with the suit’s contention that Pritzker exceeded the 30-day emergency powers granted to him. In March, he issued a disaster proclamation because of COVID-19. […]

“The crowds at our local food stores are much greater than the crowds that can, and I expect do, populate our local restaurants, including FoxFire,” he said. “I note that in our community that every one of the big box stores is open. And again, the crowds that populate these stores are significantly greater than the crowds that populate are local restaurants, including those like FoxFire. And the court cannot turn a blind eye to these facts. If there was such a compelling public need to shut down businesses for public health, then how did we pick the winners and losers?”

The Patch’s coverage included this important context to the judge’s comments

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dining at bars and restaurants is closely linked to the spread of the virus in many communities. Adults who tested positive for the virus were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than those with negative test results, according to a CDC study published in September. Experts now believe the coronavirus is airborne, and tiny droplets containing the virus can linger indoors for hours as aerosols, making indoor dining especially risky since diners can’t wear masks while eating.

* Maybe if the state had been allowed to brief the case, the judge would’ve had some answers. From the governor’s office…

The administration is disappointed the court has ruled against public health protections that keep people safe. This decision was made without briefing and is contrary to how many other Illinois state and federal courts have ruled on this matter. Positivity rates and hospitalizations are rising across the state; this public health crisis is not over. The administration will review the court’s order and determine the appropriate next steps.

From the attorney general’s office…

With 9,522 lives lost and half the counties in Illinois now at the Illinois Department of Public Health’s warning level, the need for these lifesaving measures could not be more evident. As we have argued successfully in other Illinois courts that have considered these issues, the governor’s constitutional and statutory authority to protect Illinois residents during the pandemic is clear. We are committed to continuing to defend the well-reasoned measures being implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout Illinois, particularly as the numbers of positive cases and hospitalizations once again increase.

The lawyers representing the restaurant were on WGN Radio yesterday. Click here to listen to the interview.

The TRO is here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the plaintiff’s petition

(T)he [Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act] does not authorize Gov. Pritzker to declare a “disaster” to manage an existing “disaster” for an additional thirty (30) days, and certainly not ad nauseum.

Judge Busch

“The state has argued that there’s nothing in the Emergency Management Act that suggests that the governor couldn’t issue then successive proclamations,” Busch said. “And while that is certainly true, there’s nothing in the act that suggests he can.”

* From an Illinois Supreme Court order issued today

Illinois has been in a state of emergency since Governor Pritzker’s declaration on March 9, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating temporary court-imposed restrictions to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the court system, while continuing to provide access to justice.

That could be a pretty good hint at where the high court is going here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The attorney general’s office has asked 2nd Appellate District to hear its appeal of the TRO. Click here. The AG also filed this document with Judge Busch. Worth a read.

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to today’s edition

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Did the Republicans catch Bustos off guard?

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sorry for coming a bit late to this, but here’s The Hill

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), the head of House Democrats’ campaign arm, is facing an increasingly competitive reelection bid to represent Illinois’ 17th District.

Bustos, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), represents a congressional district that then-candidate Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016. And while she trounced her GOP competitor in 2018, winning by more than 24 percentage points, Bustos is now facing what may be her most expensive and heated battle yet against GOP candidate Esther Joy King.

The Cook Political Report on Wednesday moved Bustos’ race against King from likely Democrat to a lean Democrat district. And internal GOP polling has also elevated Republican hopes that they can win the seat from the woman leading the House Democrats’ campaign effort.

Bustos, in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday, projected confidence heading into the final stretch, while also acknowledging that she has always expected tough races with her Trump-leaning district.

“We are well prepared to finish strong and I live the advice that I give to all of our frontliners and red to blue candidates, which is run your race like you’re running for mayor…everything is hyperlocal,” Bustos said in part. “You show up, you listen, you fight for the people at home, and everything you do is for the people you represent.”

Asked why the race was tightening, Bustos said it is a “Trump district” and noted that her campaign has had to figure out ways to campaign in her district’s 14 counties amid the pandemic.

It’s more of a swing district at the very top. President Trump won it by less than a point, about the same as Gov. Pritzker won it two years ago. The Republicans think they caught her napping. We’ll see.

* MSN

“[H]er opponent, who supports the lawsuit that would raise health care costs and take away protections for people with preexisting conditions, just moved to the district from Chicago right before filing to run for Congress,” said Bustos campaign manager Tom Bryant. […]

Some reports have also raised questions about King’s claims about starting various social media and media-focused companies, which have little presence online. King, in response, has blasted Bustos for the scrutiny, claiming she is attempting to distract from her record representing the district.

“This is what Washington politicians like Cheri Bustos do when voters have had enough of them - they attack and distort their opponent’s record as a distraction from the fact that Bustos is helping create jobs in China, not here Illinois,” King said.

King’s campaign has also dismissed accusations of being a carpetbagger, noting she moved for military training and opted to remain in the area. […]

King and other GOP critics, meanwhile, are claiming that Bustos is absent from the district, which is helping her campaign gain traction.

* Peoria Public Radio

A King-commissioned poll conducted by the Tarrance Group of 418 17th District voters Oct. 10-12 put Bustos at 49% and King at 44%, with 7% saying they were still undecided. Seventy percent of th0se polled recognized King’s name.

The King campaign and pollster declined to release the full polling data, or provide additional information about the results on the record.

Wasserman said Bustos became chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in part because she proved she can pull off Democratic victories in more conservative districts through her own success, but said that role also opens her up to attacks linking her closely to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

* From Mark Maxwell’s interview

Maxwell: All right. Also this: I think this is your first time running for public office. Correct me if I’m wrong, a political newcomer, but not your first time in government. I noticed on your resume, you worked for Governor Rauner for a short stint. That was back in his early days, but didn’t last too long. What happened there? Why’d you leave? How’d you like it?

King: Yeah. Well, what I loved, Mark, about working for the state of Illinois as Director of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology is I got to be around business owners. I got to be around entrepreneurs and it was my job to help grow and promote the business community of Illinois, which is actually exactly what I’m excited to be doing as Representative. Our business owners need help right now, Mark. We absolutely need support during this time of pandemic. For example, there’s a section of the Illinois 17th that has been rolled back, and business owners are like, “We can’t shut down again, Esther. We’re not going to make it through. And so getting them support is actually really critical, Mark, and what we’ve seen from Congress, whose job it is to help pass a stimulus package… I mean, talk about some political game playing. What Nancy Pelosi is doing right now in her left hand lieutenant Cheri Bustos, my opponent, she is preventing support coming directly to these businesses that are desperate that need help right now. And that’s what’s important. And that’s what this is about, is bringing better representation to the Illinois 17th Congressional District.

Maxwell: You were there in that job with the state for in just a little over a year. Why’d you leave?

King: It was a decision that was, came from the, the administration. We did not agree on the methodology and some of the values that were being placed and we split ways.

Maxwell: How would you grade Governor Rauner’s time in office?

King: That’s not relevant to this election. What is important is Cheri Bustos’ time in an office. She has been in office for eight years. During her time in office, she’s only authored three bills, three bills renaming three post offices. That’s all we’ve gotten in eight years. Come on, now. We deserve better than that.

* Related…

* Bustos talks campaign, COVID relief, and Trump

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“This division will not save us”

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* DeKalb Daily Chronicle editor Kelsey Rettke

Our reporting this week has been met with disdain: people have compared our coverage and the health department’s decision to Nazi Germany, equating our reporting of public record with the Gestapo and genocide.

It’s not a fun place to be. But we have to remember there are no ‘bad guys’ here. The bad guy is the virus. It’s the disease that’s left 42 DeKalb County residents dead and many more hospitalized, out of work, without a family member.

That is what we are fighting here. Not each other. If you want to support a local business, order take out or curbside pickup or drop off a check or just straight up cash if you have to. Talk to your local chamber of commerce, municipal leaders, banks to see how you can apply for state COVID-19 relief grants to perhaps take the edge off the devastation your business is feeling. Get tested at the free COVID-19 testing sites in Sycamore and Genoa next week. Wear a mask when out and about. Don’t gather in large groups with people you don’t live with.

A lot of things are spiraling out of our control right now. But these are the things we can actively do in the coming days. We can do this.

Go read the whole thing.

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Open thread

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* If you’d rather not watch all the motorhead stuff, skip ahead to the 10:45 mark, switch to full-screen mode and enjoy the ride

I’m telling you, it’s a blast. Hat tip to Kim Janssen.

* Keep it Illinois-centric and be polite to each other, please. Thanks.

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and some campaign news

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

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*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


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« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Illinois receives $430 million federal pollution reduction grant
* Today's quotable
* The Internet is forever, Rodney
* Edgar Fellows Class of 2024 unveiled
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* Governor Pritzker endorses Kamala Harris for president (Updated)
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* Selected press releases (Live updates)
* Pritzker, Durbin, Duckworth so far keeping powder dry on endorsing VP Harris (Updated x7)
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