* Press release…
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 1,665 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 27 additional deaths.
- Christian County: 1 female 90s
- Cook County: 1 female 40s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70, 8 males 70s, 1 female 90s
- DuPage County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 90s
- Kane County: 1 male 60s
- Knox County: 2 females 70s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s
- Madison County: 1 male 90s
- Marion County: 1 male 70s
- Winnebago County: 1 male 20s
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,177,320 cases, including 20,330 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 61,400 specimens for a total of 17,721,561. As of last night, 1,488 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 361 patients were in the ICU and 172 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from February 16–22, 2021 is 2.8%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from February 16–22, 2021 is 3.0%.
A total of doses of 2,307,685 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 445,200 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. This brings the total Illinois doses to 2,752,885. A total of 2,254,982 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight, including 291,269 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 55,917 doses. Yesterday, 43,282 doses were administered in Illinois.
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Meanwhile, from a press release…
A federal district court judge presiding over the Society Insurance Business Interruption Coverage MDL, which involves the potential applicability of insurance coverage for restaurants suffering financial losses due to COVID, ruled late Monday (Feb. 22, 2021) that the cases may move forward in determining whether their insurance policies cover such losses.
The Hon. Edmond E. Chang, U.S. District Court Judge of the Northern District of Illinois, ruled in a 31-page written opinion that plaintiffs in the consolidated bellwether cases survive defendant’s motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. The court granted summary judgment only as to the coverage theories under the Civil Authority and the Contamination provisions of the policies. All of the restaurants in the MDL maintain coverage by Society Insurance, headquartered in Wisconsin.
Shannon M. McNulty, partner at Clifford Law Offices who heads the class action/mass torts practice area at the firm and a co-lead counsel of one of the bellwether cases, said, “This decision is highly significant for businesses, particularly here in the Midwest, who have suffered financial losses due to the pandemic and paid insurance premiums to protect against those losses. We will continue to work on behalf of our client in the bellwether case, Valley Lodge Corp., as well as all of the businesses with claims pending in the MDL, to see that justice is carried out to the end under their insurance policies.”
Valley Lodge has two restaurants in Illinois in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
In its decision, the court recognized that, “All have been forced to modify their normal business operations due to the pandemic – for example, suspending in-person dining and relying only on take-out orders – and all alleged that they have lost significant revenue as a result” in the past year since the pandemic took hold.
After quoting significant and relevant passages from plaintiffs’ insurance policies, the court found at the very least that its “policy does not contain a specific exclusion of coverage for losses due to a virus or pandemic … a standard exclusion in the insurance industry.” [Italics in original] In fact, the court held that, “Exclusions are narrowly or strictly construed against the insurer if their effect is uncertain” and “a reasonable jury can find that the Plaintiffs did suffer a direct ‘physical’ loss of property on their premises.”
Notably, the court stated that Society Insurance may have acted in bad faith in denying coverage to the Illinois plaintiffs and that issue may be litigated as the bellwether cases of Valley Lodge Corp. and Big Onion Tavern Group, LLC, move forward. The court, citing to Plaintiffs’ arguments that “Society, which denied coverage across-the board, allegedly misrepresented the true scope of the insurance policies; failed to investigate individual claims, as required, and instead issued hasty denials not based on individual claims; and Society’s actions have caused an improper and lengthy delay in receiving payment,” ruled that these matters must be decided by a jury and not as a matter of law at the pleadings stage.
The decision is here.
* Sun-Times live coverage blog headlines…
Chicago Park District to reopen more than 500 outdoor playgrounds in response to declines in COVID-19 positivity rates
Before Trump left office, FEMA OK’d exporting millions of N95 masks U.S. workers say they need
Mark Brown: Behind growing number of coronavirus death are names, and behind each name, a story — and a heartache
Not to be sniffed at: Agony of post-COVID-19 loss of smell
Drug execs face Capitol Hill questions on vaccine supply
* Tribune live blog headlines…
Indiana opens up COVID-19 vaccine to residents age 60 to 64
Wisconsin, Indiana moved down on Chicago’s emergency travel order that now exempts vaccinated people
Cinemark 18 closes, leaving downtown Evanston without a movie theater
Hundreds of Oak Park educators, staff receive COVID-19 vaccine at health department clinics
Cosmetic procedures are in demand during the pandemic, suburban plastic surgeons say
Park District to finally reopen lakefront, playgrounds, as well as indoor pools
New state mass vaccination site opens Tuesday in Rockford
Woman who died after transplant surgery in Michigan got COVID-19 from donated lungs
*** UPDATE *** Press release…
Gov. Pritzker Announces One Million Illinois Children to Receive Monthly Food Aid Following Expansion of Pandemic EBT Program
Up to $110 Million Federal Dollars Will be Brought into State Per Month, 200 Thousand More Children to Receive Support This Year
SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker today announced that beginning next month, approximately one million children across Illinois will receive additional federally funded food benefits, valued at up to $110 million per month. Following a state request to expand eligibility for the program, the additional food support, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, is expected to reach about 200,000 more eligible children this school year compared to last year.
Eligible children across the State will automatically receive these benefits on an “EBT Card” mailed directly to their homes. The funding will be distributed by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to Illinois students who are eligible for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) support.
“Today, we move another step closer to ending hunger for all of Illinois with a benefits program that will support approximately 1 million children across our state. Starting next month, eligible families across Illinois can be on the lookout for a benefits card in the mail to provide additional, federally funded food benefits for their children,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m excited to announce that we’ll be able to serve about 200,000 more children who have previously received this support, each with a larger daily benefit than in the past. My administration is proud to secure more federal funding for Illinois to make this expansion possible.”
Illinois’ P-EBT program brought approximately 764,000 children more than $259 million worth of nutrition benefits during the 2019-2020 school year. In the coming weeks, eligible Illinois families will begin to receive this year’s expanded benefits. Families will receive $6.82 for each day the child did not have access to school meals. This represents a 19% increase over the 2019-2020 school year, when the daily benefit was $5.70.
“At IDHS, we are committed to ensuring Illinois school children and their families have access to food assistance when they need it and will continue to apply for and maximize any opportunities,” said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou.” “We are proud to be one of 16 states to receive the federal approval from the USDA to continue these critical P-EBT benefits that put food on the table for Illinois families and bring in hundreds of millions of federal dollars to Illinois.”
Through P-EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food. Children who would have received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days are eligible.
“Research shows that children who are hungry are not able to focus and learn,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Schools have served more than 113 million meals to students since the pandemic began, and the P-EBT builds on this care and commitment to ensure all Illinois children have their nutritional needs met. The fact that eligible families do not have to take any action and will receive these benefits automatically is a huge sigh of relief. We are proud to collaborate with other state agencies to make this happen and excited share this good news with our students’ families across the state.”
Families do not need to apply for this round of P-EBT benefits. In the coming weeks, they will receive one P-EBT card per eligible child, and the cards can be used to purchase food items at EBT-authorized retailers, which include most major grocery stores in Illinois. Cards will be mailed to the address the school has on file for the child.
Additionally, in the coming month, the Illinois Commission to End Hunger – a public-private partnership organized by the Governor’s office and stakeholders from across the state – will release a new “Roadmap” to end hunger in Illinois. The forthcoming plan focuses on strategies to better connect Illinoisans to nutrition assistance programs, including P-EBT, and promote equitable food access.
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is part of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, go to https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=131776.