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COVID-19 roundup

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020

* Center Square

The first public hearing of the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission focused on grants of federal dollars the Pritzker administration is administering to businesses. But one aspect of the program was labeled “abuse of power” by a commission member.

Tuesday’s hearing also gave the public a glimpse of what Republicans have characterized as short and unproductive meetings.

The hearing lasted about 70 minutes with about half the time for questions from lawmakers. The other half was a presentation about federal funds being administered to businesses through the Business Interruption Grant program.

The grants for businesses are being managed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Agency officials said a third party vendor helping facilitate the application process cost around $1 million. Of $270 million available, there’s about $130 million left to distribute.

DCEO Assistant Director Michael Negron said if grant recipients don’t follow the governor’s executive orders, the grants ranging from $5,000 to $150,000 could be clawed back.

“It’s something that the state is trying to communicate that in order to get the economy on a path to recovery and in order to save lives we’ve got to get the virus under control, and that requires certain measures,” Negron said.

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, said that’s “government overreach and abuse of power.”

“For you to put in your contract that these businesses have to follow executive orders with no level of certainty of what those orders might be and then face clawback, it rubs me quite wrongly,” Caulkins said.

I just have no words for that.

* Once again, the federal government is forcing states to participate in a dystopian Hunger Games scenario…

Chicago health officials yesterday announced that they expect the COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for distribution by mid-December 2020. According to ABC Chicago, the CDC is expected to formally recommend that health care workers and residents of long term health facilities are first in line for vaccines, but “it will be up to state and local officials to decide where doses go first…” The state of Illinois is expected to announce a tiered plan later this week.

In response to this news, Anthony McGee, Vice President of Teamsters Local 700, the union representing nearly 3,000 Corrections Officers at the Cook County jail, issued the following statement:

    “We agree 100% that initial distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine should be determined by risk of exposure to the virus. With that in mind, Teamsters Local 700 is urging city and state leaders, including Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, to ensure that CCDOC Corrections Officers, and all other law enforcement officers, are among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    “CCDOC Corrections Officers have heroically put their lives on the line to protect their communities since the start of the pandemic. As the virus raged throughout the Cook County jail — labeled at one point as the top COVID-19 hot spot in America — officers continued to work long hours in confined spaces, where keeping social distance is impossible, oftentimes without proper PPE or protocols in place to keep them safe. CCDOC Corrections Officers have paid a terrible price for their service: five officers have died due to COVID, and hundreds more have tested positive for COVID-19.

    “Unfortunately today, many months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Cook County jail is still a dangerous COVID-19 hotspot. Despite knowing for months that COVID-19 would likely spike at the jail as winter approached, Sheriff Tom Dart failed to develop a comprehensive plan to protect Corrections Officers and others in the jail from the deadly virus. COVID-19 cases have now reached their highest levels at the jail since April–and officers are still reporting that the Sheriff is failing to provide them with proper PPE and forcing others to interact with inmates who have not been wearing masks.

    “Given the high risk of exposure to COVID-19 that currently exists at the Cook County jail, along with the essential work Corrections Officers do every day, it is imperative that city and state officials prioritize CCDOC officers with vaccine distribution. The wellbeing of CCDOC Corrections Officers — along with their family, friends, and the public at large — depends on it.”

* Ladies and gentlemen, my alderman

A Springfield alderman unsuccessfully sought the removal of a newspaper reporter from city council chambers Tuesday evening, arguing that the reporter was violating his social distance.

Minutes before the Springfield City Council was set to convene, Ward 1 Ald. Chuck Redpath requested that Illinois Times reporter Bruce Rushton be restricted to the space in the back of the council chambers reserved for the media.

Redpath alleged that Rushton, who typically sits in the public seating area nestled in between the horseshoe where council members sit and the press box, was getting too close to him.

Redpath typically does not wear a face mask when seated at the horseshoe, and this trend continued throughout most of Tuesday’s meeting, with his mask either completely off or around his chin.

He later told reporters that he has a medical condition exempting him from the city’s mask ordinance. But, he declined to elaborate further.

A medical condition? A good friend of mine has asthma. She has to regularly visit her doctor for steroid shots and IV treatments. She wears a mask whenever she leaves her home and has never once complained.

* Speaking of masks

The Naperville City Council affirmed that everyone who is medically able should wear a protective face covering in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but stopped short of mandating masks.

After hearing two hours of comments Tuesday from nearly 150 people, many of whom oppose wearing masks or governmental interference in their decision to cover their face, the council opted to take a positive approach rather than a punitive one.

The council initially voted 5-4 against an ordinance requiring people to mask up in Naperville anytime a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained.

Mayor Steve Chirico and council members Kevin Coyne, Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong and John Krummen opposed the mandate; council members Judy Brodhead, Patrick Kelly, Theresa Sullivan and Benny White voted in favor of it.

* Sun-Times live blog headlines

Officials announced Chicago and Illinois will receive its first doses of COVID-19 vaccines later this month

Starbucks offering free coffee to health care workers, first responders

Who will get the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Chicago?

Anthony Fauci optimistic that stadiums could be full by late 2021

CDC to shorten COVID-19 quarantine to 10 days, 7 with test

Celebrities, stop partying like arrogant buffoons

A national pandemic plan — finally — comes to the rescue first of health care workers and the elderly

* NBC Chicago live blog headlines

Pritzker Recommends COVID-19 Testing for Residents Who Traveled for Thanksgiving Holiday

Physicians Urge Drug Makers to Step Up Efforts to Ensure COVID Vaccine is Safe for Children

Arwady, Pritzker Don’t Anticipate COVID-19 Vaccine Will be Mandated by Officials

Chicago Could See Coronavirus Vaccine Within the Month, Health Officials Say

Chicago Includes 46 States, Puerto Rico in Coronavirus Travel Order Update

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Osborne Smith III - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    Redpath, and quite frankly, Ralph Hanauer, as well, is an embarrassment to the city as an alderman. They aren’t on the same level of ridiculousness as Joe McMenamin in Ward 7, but they’re not too far behind.

  2. - Leigh John-Ella - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    So Dan Caulkins now supports unrestricted government assistance programs?

  3. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    The government always has grant agreements that a stipulation of receiving the money is a promise to follow the rules. Caulkins is out of line.

  4. - Intensive Care - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    Little Dan Caulkins: Fightin’ for the little guy, but missin’ the big picture.

  5. - illinifan - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    Naperville, I wonder if you would have this same view of driving without a seat belt or not putting children in car seats, or not driving drunk. There are times leadership is required and you don’t listen to the vocal few but rather you do what is best for all residents whether or not the action is popular. I am so tired of the anti-maskers saying they don’t like it or it restricts their freedoms. Grow up and do what is good for society.

  6. - T - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    “It rubs me quite wrongly” is a favorite quote. Local politics getting brutal all over. Village board meetings nuts nowadays

  7. - Club J - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Redpath and Hanauer are both an embarrassment to the City of Springfield. The outcry at last nights meeting the the County Health Officials weren’t being fair and keep moving the goal posts sounded childish. Then when Redpath went as far to say after talking to a restaurant owner and calling him out by name that restaurants in Springfield are cleaner than the hospitals made his credibility go to zero. I read the daily emails sent by Dr. Govindaiah from Memorial and Dr. Kruse from SIU and they paint a totally different picture than what Chuck Redpath and Ralph Hanauer do. I’m not sure who Redpath is talking to at the hospital, but he’s not getting his information from the right source.

  8. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 1:12 pm:

    Give him time, former Democrat who also worked as an agency legislative staffer under Democrat governors, might flip back to being a Dem, that is after he decides he has played Republican long enough it no longer serves his goals.

  9. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    Those Naperville City Council members voting against a mask mandate should join Grant Wehrli on the bench. You need to do what’s right - not what vocal bullies call for. They actually aren’t your primary constituency. Ask the candidates on the county board - that flipped democratic in a big way.

  10. - NoMoreMC - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    From the antics/social media posts of some of the folks on this side of town, I’m pretty sure Redpath’s behavior is not going to hurt him. He got the new bike path built, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere any time soon.

  11. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    I think not just law enforcement, but all first responders as well as prisoners need to be vaccinated. First responders can’t really isolate well due to their jobs and neither can prisoners by definition. Plus COVID doesn’t tend to stay in prisons once there. Too many people go in and out of them (people whose sentences are ending, new prisoners, the lunch crew, contractors, paramedics, visitors….)

  12. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    I wonder if the people so vehemently fighting against masking would change their tunes if there was a monetary reward for wearing mask. Would their “Live Free or Die” be replaced with “Live Free and Pay Me (banned punctuation)”? I’m not proposing starting such a “reward”, but I wonder what the level of hypocrisy in those anti-masker ranks would be if such am implementation was rolled out. Gotta wonder how Devorites would roll with that concept. Lawsuits still or instant compliance.

  13. - Mama - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    “Chicago Includes 46 States, Puerto Rico in Coronavirus Travel Order Update”

    Please explain this statement. It makes no sense to me.

  14. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    ==- Mama - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 2:15 pm:==

    Follow the link.

  15. - Mama - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    “I wonder if the people so vehemently fighting against masking would change their tunes if there was a monetary reward for wearing mask.”

    Some states charge a $100 fine for not wearing a mask. Charging a huge fine is how they got most people to stop driving drunk. I think it is time IL starts charging a fine for not wearing a mask and give the money to the hospitals, veterans homes, schools, and nursing homes.

  16. - Mama - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    - Precinct Captain - I tried to open the link, but it didn’t open.

  17. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    Mama, the link is the the “headlines”.

  18. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 3:41 pm:

    I know what “medical condition” my Alderman. Decorum and Rich’s rules prevent me from sharing.

  19. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    ===He later told reporters that he has a medical condition exempting him from the city’s mask ordinance. But, he declined to elaborate further.===

    Is it anal-cranial inversion? It’s anal-cranial inversion, isn’t it?

  20. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 4:13 pm:

    Caulkins just can’t seem to get it…rightly?…He’s constantly rubbing the wrong way.

  21. - Intensive Care - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 4:27 pm:

    And in the news, Illinois suffers it’s largest death toll today from COVID.

  22. - Sleestak - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 4:52 pm:

    && And in the news, Illinois suffers it’s largest death toll today from COVID. &&

    Likely leftovers from the long weekend, Illinois government doesn’t move that fast.

  23. - State Employee - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 5:24 pm:

    If Langfelder has seen the light on enforcing COVID restrictions, maybe he could get a little more spine on encouraging the Governor, agency directors, and the statewides to encourage more state employees who can work from home (but not able to do so now) to be able to work remotely at least on a part-time basis? (Perhaps alternating days in office, the next day remote, with at least half staffing in the office each day?).

    Or is the loss of gas tax revenue (or Qik-n-EZ’s revenue) that will result too much for him to pass up? Methinks the latter.

  24. - Chatham Resident - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    ==They aren’t on the same level of ridiculousness as Joe McMenamin in Ward 7, but they’re not too far behind.==

    As well as Sam Cahnman and his escapades when he was on the City Council, but he supposedly “got things done” and “worked hard for the people.”

  25. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 7:08 pm:

    State Enployee

    You really need to give it a rest.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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