* Press release…
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 9,277 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 126 additional deaths. Illinois has now reported more than one million cases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adams County: 1 male 70s
Boone County: 1 female 80s
Cook County: 1 female 40s, 1 male 40s, 3 females 50s, 2 females 60s, 4 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 7 males 70s, 7 females 80s, 7 males 80s, 3 females 90s, 7 males 90s
DeKalb County: 1 female 60s
DuPage County: 1 female 40s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
Edwards County: 1 male 80s
Effingham County: 1 male 80s
Fayette County: 1 female 80s
Fulton County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
Henry County: 1 male 90s
Iroquois County: 1 male 60s
Jackson County: 1 male 60s
Jefferson County: 1 female 90s
Kane County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
Kankakee County: 1 female 80s
Knox County: 1 male 50s
Lake County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 60s, 3 females 90s
LaSalle County: 1 male 80s
Livingston County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 90s
Madison County: 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
Marion County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
Marshall County: 1 female 50s
McLean County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
Montgomery County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
Morgan County: 1 male 70s
Peoria County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 80s
Perry County: 1 female 60s
Randolph County: 1 female 90s
Richland County: 1 female 70s
Rock Island County: 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90
Saline County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
Sangamon County: 1 male 90s
St. Clair County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s
Stark County: 1 male 80s
Stephenson County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s
Tazewell County: 1 male 40s, 4 males 70s
Vermilion County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
Whiteside County: 1 male 60s
Will County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 60s, 3 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s
Williamson County: 1 male 70s
Winnebago County: 2 females 90s
Woodford County: 1 female 90s
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,017,322 cases, including 17,395 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 118,665 specimens for a total 13,922,611. As of last night, 3,777 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 780 patients were in the ICU and 422 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from January 1–7, 2021 is 8.5%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from January 1–7, 2021 is 9.5%.
*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. Information for deaths previously reported has changed, therefore, today’s numbers have been adjusted. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illinois’ top education official is recommending school districts consider extending classes into the summer, a proposition that Chicago Teachers Union leaders for the first time have suggested could be amenable if it would put off mandatory in-person teaching until educators are vaccinated for the coronavirus.
Though an extended school year would come with potentially massive costs, including additional compensation for teachers and staff, State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala wrote in a letter to administrators this week that $2.25 billion in coronavirus relief that Illinois is getting from the feds should help make it possible. Chicago Public Schools is set to receive $720 million.
Ayala said the funds should primarily be used to “close the digital divide for good” and mitigate learning loss by offering more educational opportunities.
* Press release…
Governor JB Pritzker, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, demanding that the federal government begin distributing reserved COVID-19 vaccines to states immediately.
“In each of our states, vaccine delivery has been much slower than we anticipated, so it is imperative that the federal government distribute the vaccines it is holding on reserve. These vaccines will save millions of Americans from the unnecessary danger and hardship of contracting COVID-19,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Up to now, this vaccine has only been offered to a very specific group of people at very specific location. Our states are ready to work alongside the federal government to expand vaccine distribution so that we can protect the wellbeing of all our residents, families, small businesses and our economy.”
According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has more than 50 percent of currently produced vaccines held back by the presidential administration for unknown reasons. At the same time, the country is losing over 2,600 Americans each day, according to the latest seven-day average.
Earlier this week, Governor JB Pritzker announced guidelines for the next stage of COVID-19 vaccine distribution across Illinois, Phase 1B. Phase 1B prioritizes equity and lowers the vaccine age to 65 from 75 because black and brown Illinoisans with COVID-19 die at a much younger age than their white counterparts. Distribution of the reserved vaccines by the federal government would accelerate the completion of Phase 1A.
* Press release…
Today, the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (IDFPR) announced they have worked with the banks to provide services for unbanked Illinoisans seeking to cash their stimulus checks without incurring check cashing fees. The banks provided this service during the first round of stimulus checks and IDFPR secured the same agreement for the second round of stimulus checks.
The FDIC estimates that over 22% of Illinois households are under or unbanked. Many of these Illinois households will once again be receiving paper stimulus checks and will have few check cashing options that won’t incur fees. IDFPR is proud to announce a number of banking institutions that are able to work with non-customers on cashing their stimulus checks for free. Thanks to Bank of America, First Midwest, Fifth Third, Huntington, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and U.S. Bank, Illinoisans will be able to cash their stimulus checks without incurring fees in order to ensure these funds go toward the food, housing, and necessities that people need during this difficult time.
* Press release…
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced more than $275 million in nearly 9,000 emergency assistance grants have been made to small businesses in over 600 cities and towns statewide through the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program. Through this historic program – the largest of its kind in the nation - grants have been made available to a wide range of small businesses– with a focus on the industries and communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and with the majority of funding going to smaller and minority-owned businesses.
Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the BIG program, which was created by Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly to assist Illinois’ hardest hit businesses with making ends meet during the pandemic. A full list of awards made can be found on DCEO’s website.
* My COVID-19 test results came back today. I tested negative. Many thanks to Springfield Clinic for running such a tight ship.
* Chicago Tribune live blog headlines…
The Magnificent Mile is ‘not invincible.’ Water Tower Place faces its biggest challenge since the North Michigan Avenue mall opened.
25 have died of COVID-19 in Wisconsin prisons, with more than half of inmates infected
The best place for charity is often at home, as Chicago artists join forces to help each other manage the COVID shutdown
More PPP loans are on the way for small businesses in need of coronavirus relief. Here’s what you need to know.
Lightfoot, Jackson to give update on CPS reopening plans
As driver’s license offices reopened again, those braving the long lines also had to deal with freezing temps
* Sun-Times live blog headlines…
CPS forging ahead with reopening — and teachers who don’t show up won’t be paid, officials say
How Chicagoans are maintaining friendships during the pandemic
Biden to speed release of coronavirus vaccines
Some immigrants shut out of stimulus; other, mixed-status households will get COVID-19 relief check
COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for state workers who care for high-risk people