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COVID-19 roundup

Thursday, Sep 16, 2021

* I checked this afternoon and it’s still zero

All 88 of the [southern Illinois] region’s ICU beds are in use, as COVID-19 case numbers continue to climb, leaving the area worse off than the rest of the state in terms of emergency care, according to state health department data.

There were zero ICU beds available in Region 5 as of early Tuesday afternoon, according to IDPH’s metrics.

* The U of I really needs to get its act together, like today

As of Wednesday, 449 public school districts and private K-12 school organizations in Illinois had signed up to implement SHIELD testing. About 79 of them had actually started testing, according to SHIELD Illinois. […]

SHIELD leaders say they have plenty of supplies and capacity. But they, and school leaders, say it’s taking time for schools to communicate with parents, get parental permission and then send rosters of participating students to SHIELD.

Further exacerbating the situation, the testing organization was hit with a wave of demand in the month before school started, with hundreds of school districts signing on in late July or August. In late August, Gov. J.B. Pritzker publicly announced that all schoolteachers and staff would be required to get vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 once a week. That month, the state also detailed an optional new test-to-stay program, in which students and teachers who are close contacts of people with COVID-19 may stay in school so long as they test negative on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 after exposure.

It can now sometimes take days for SHIELD to answer schools’ questions about implementing testing because of the high demand and a limited number of SHIELD staffers, said Ron Watkins, managing director of SHIELD Illinois, which is a nonprofit unit of the University of Illinois system. SHIELD is working to hire more people to help answer schools’ questions in the next few weeks, and upgrading its software to help make the process of getting started more efficient for schools.

* Center Square

The Illinois Department of Public Health was in the hot seat Wednesday during a House committee hearing on nursing home reform.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities house a small part of the U.S. population, but are estimated to account for about 3 in 10 deaths from COVID-19. IDPH reported 46% of all deaths from COVID-19 in Illinois occurred in long-term care facilities.

Lawmakers had questions for IDPH representative Becky Dragoo, including the number of deaths in long-term care facilities during the pandemic, and the number of nursing homes that were cited by the state for a lack of protocols.

State Rep. Lakeshia Collins, D-Chicago, was not happy that Dragoo did not provide the number of deaths in Illinois nursing homes during the pandemic.

“If there’s no numbers that you can present to us when we get on these calls and you have to give us a follow-up, that’s a problem because you know we are going to ask these questions,” Collins said.

* Maybe the southern states should try harder to not need such massive amounts of a drug in limited supply

(U)ntil recently, the [Biden] administration had shipped the antibody treatments to states on an as-needed basis — with top health officials in early August going as far as encouraging those battling the Delta surge to seek even more supply.

But demand from a handful of southern states has exploded since then, state and federal officials said, raising concerns they were consuming a disproportionate amount of the national supply. Seven states — Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama — accounted for 70 percent of all orders in early September.

The imbalance prompted an effort to rein in control of supplies, over concerns that the government wouldn’t have enough on hand to respond to Covid-19 surges elsewhere in the country. […]

DeSantis has similarly touted efforts to make the treatment widely available, while downplaying the virus’ threat and criticizing the Biden administration’s support for vaccine mandates and school mask mandates.

* Related…

* COVID-19 hospitalizations level off, but ICU availability continues to shrink

* End of COVID-19 homeowner protections is unlikely to bring a wave of foreclosures

* ‘It’s A Nightmare’: Families Concerned About COVID-19 ‘Outbreak Status’ At State Run Facilities

* ‘We’re desperate’: Southern Illinois schools scramble to find substitute teachers

* Hospital staff must swear off Tylenol, Tums to get religious vaccine exemption: The move was prompted when Conway Regional Health System noted an unusual uptick in vaccine exemption requests that cited the use of fetal cell lines in the development and testing of the vaccines. … The list includes Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, aspirin, Tums, Lipitor, Senokot, Motrin, ibuprofen, Maalox, Ex-Lax, HIV-1, Benadryl, Sudafed, albuterol, Preparation H, MMR vaccine, Claritin, Zoloft, Prilosec OTC, and azithromycin.

* 39-year-old Illinois teacher hospitalized for weeks with complications related to COVID-19 has died

* How Child Care Providers Are Dealing with a Staff Shortage

- Posted by Rich Miller        

17 Comments
  1. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 2:42 pm:

    SHIELD testing is at our school and kids who sign up are tested once a week. The kids go spit in their sample cup - I’ve never received an email about their sample or if they test negative. I find that part hard to understand.

    Thankful for the testing, but I do agree right now it doesn’t seem up to speed.


  2. - Smalls - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 2:52 pm:

    Not only is Region 5 still at zero ICU beds available, but they have increased capacity from 82 ICU beds about a month ago, to 94 currently and are still at zero. Not good.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    How is it that freedom means getting to no ICU beds to prove a point?

    How can one make freedom be so selfish?

    Make that freedom dangerous to others’ own existence.


  4. - Mandymae - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 3:16 pm:

    Just talking about the school district testing today with another 186 parent. We have to get PCR tests if a kid has symptoms, which can take 2 days+. Meanwhile siblings can’t return to school until the kid with symptoms has a negative test result. The District said they were working on surveillance testing in June or July. I know the logistics are a nightmare but it would be so helpful if this could get up and running so that kids miss as few days this year as humanly possible. I am thankful for the UIS community testing option at least, but I’m lucky enough to have flexible work and transportation options to take advantage.


  5. - JoanP - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 3:29 pm:

    Good for Conway Regional. Let people know what they’re actually asking for.


  6. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    While the Governor is not immune from criticism, there is no doubt in my mind that he has been guided by the belief that his actions will save lives. And if I think of his opponents I can’t come up with any logical explanation for their actions given the inevitable consequences that they bring.


  7. - Publius - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    Governor Newsom beat the recall over a lot of GOP concern. It wasn’t even close. Also Newsom had some number of problems. However there isn’t a lot of talk from the GOP on what they would do besides ignore things. That didn’t work out well for the last Governor of Illinois.


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 3:48 pm:

    U of I lost either my kid’s SHIELD test or test results (they aren’t sure which) earlier this month, resulting in both kiddos being quarantined at home while we awaited his results for a week. I feel bad for them - I know they’re trying to ramp up in a massive way really fast - but they’re in over their heads on this one.


  9. - Jason Bourne - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 4:19 pm:

    Funny that those who won’t take a $20 vaccine because it was emergency use authorization have no qualms about receiving a $2000 antibody treatment that is currently emergency use authorized. I guess like everything else the Republican states are fiscally conservative unless the federal government is paying for it.


  10. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 4:26 pm:

    SJ-R is reporting that a Springfield District 186 parent is planning to protest in front of the district headquarters to call for the return to remote learning:

    https://www.sj-r.com/story/news/2021/09/16/sangamon-county-reports-15th-death-september-due-covid-19/8361884002/


  11. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 4:43 pm:

    ==planning to protest in front of the district headquarters to call for the return to remote learning==

    Let them protest. I’ll stand next to them protesting a return to remote learning.


  12. - JoanP - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 5:39 pm:

    = Funny that those who won’t take a $20 vaccine because it was emergency use authorization have no qualms about receiving a $2000 antibody treatment that is currently emergency use authorized. =

    Of course, if they’d had that $20 vaccine they woudldn’t need the $2000 antibody treatment.


  13. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 6:59 pm:

    Send the lifesaving drug to states by population and then let stress with extra sell to states in need.


  14. - SI - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 7:46 pm:

    Meanwhile, downstate Metropolis and the State Park is planning to host the Fort Massac Encampment that draws hundreds of thousands in two days with people shoulder to shoulder. And we all know, our region isn’t vaccinated or mask wearers.


  15. - Tired Teacher - Thursday, Sep 16, 21 @ 9:16 pm:

    So much unneeded pain and suffering. Get the damn shot. Please.


  16. - Odysseus - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:52 am:

    “the testing organization was hit with a wave of demand in the month before school started, with hundreds of school districts signing on in late July or August.”

    … no one could possibly have foreseen that this is when this decision would be made…

    insert gif of banging head on desk


  17. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    SHIELD does need to get their act together, but at the same time it’s been a HUGE logistical lift, to put weekly medical testing in schools for, what, around 2 million students? Our district signed up the moment it was announced, and is well-resourced, and it still took about three weeks to get it rolling once school started, because we’ve never had weekly medical testing in school before. They had to work out a lot of logistics, staff it up (staff and volunteers), keep social distancing, etc. Monday was their first testing day; they were really pleased that it actually went more smoothly than anticipated, and are hopeful they can make it more efficient.

    ===I’ve never received an email about their sample or if they test negative. I find that part hard to understand.===

    You only get an e-mail if they’re positive or can’t produce an adequate amount for a sample. If you don’t get an e-mail, they got a good sample and your kid is negative. I think our district said it takes 48 hours for them to post the batch results on the district’s Covid dashboard?

    Anyway, all three of my kids (ranging from 8th grade to kindergarten) said it was a little weird but no big deal, and I’ve listened to a lot of discussion of saliva production strategies, since you gotta produce a fair amount of drool.


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