* 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.
* 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