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COVID-19 roundup

Friday, Jan 7, 2022

* It’s only a one-day movement, but hospitalizations actually dropped by 2 since yesterday after more than doubling in the past four weeks. ICU admissions increased very slightly and ventilator usage dropped a bit. Positivity rates are still climbing, however. And for the second day in a row, IDPH is reporting more than 100 deaths per day. IDPH

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 201,428 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including an increase of 444 deaths since December 31, 2021.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 2,382,437 cases, including 28,361 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Since December 31, 2021, laboratories have reported 1,322,127 specimens for a total of 45,992,122. As of last night, 7,096 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,123 patients were in the ICU and 639 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from December 31, 2021 – January 6, 2022 is 15.2%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from December 31, 2021 – January 6, 2022 is 18.5%.

A total of 19,535,937 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 42,098 doses. Since December 31, 2021, 294,687 doses were reported administered in Illinois. Of Illinois’ total population, 73% has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 64% of Illinois’ total population is fully vaccinated, and 40% boosted according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

All data are provisional and will change. Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.

Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to www.vaccines.gov.

* On to the news roundup. I posted this Bloomberg story earlier today

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has asked the Biden administration for Covid-19 tests to help resolve the latest dispute between Chicago Public Schools and its teachers union, a disagreement that’s led to the cancellation of classes for three straight days.

I followed up with the governor’s office about what all he said to the reporter and was told that Pritzker mentioned the things they’d offered CPS and what he’d asked the White House to do for the school district.

I then asked what state help Pritzker had directly offered CPS. I was told the state had offered SHIELD tests, vaccination clinics and masks for the past several weeks.

The city has not yet taken the state up on those offers.

Sigh.

* Meanwhile the Chicago Board of Education has filed an Unfair Labor Practices charge against the Chicago Teachers Union

On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, the CTU illegally directed its members, including teachers, related service providers, and PSRP’s, not to report to work as directed but to work remotely instead from January 5 until the earlier of January 18 or when CPS meets certain health metrics. The refusal to report to work deprives students of instructional days. Pursuant to Section 4 of the IELRA, only the Board of Education has the authority to direct employees in their work. The CTU’s directive violates Section 14(b)(3) of the IELRA and also constitutes an illegal work stoppage in violation of Section 13(b) of the IELRA. Further, through its directive to its members, CTU has breached the collective bargaining agreement so as to indicate repudiation or renunciation of its terms in violation of Section 14(b)(3) of the Act.

CBE respectfully requests the Executive Director immediately issue a complaint on its unfair labor practice charge, an expedited briefing schedule regarding its request for injunctive relief, and that the matter be transferred directly to the IELRB for a decision on the merits and its request for injunctive relief.

Regarding the unfair labor practices, CBE requests an Cease and Desist Order; an affirmative order prohibiting all future strikes from occurring prior to completing the process required by Section 13(b) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, 115 ILCS 5/1, and any and all other relief the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board deems appropriate.

* Peoria Journal Star

Health officials aren’t mincing words about the dire situation facing Peoria-area hospitals as new COVID-19 cases continue to mount and more patients are being treated.

“This is the worst that I’ve ever seen it since March of 2020 when we started all of this,” said Bob Anderson, president of OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, during Thursday’s COVID news briefing.

“We’ve traded problems. In the beginning, there was a lot of concern about having enough PPE (personal protective equipment) and enough ventilators,” Anderson said. “We have the supplies; now I’m missing the nursing personnel, the techs, even the EVS (EnVironmental Services) – the housekeeping personnel that we need in order to clean the rooms, in order to bring people up from the emergency room. When I don’t have those, things slow down, and it makes it very hard.”

* Press release…

Mid-West Truckers Association (MTA) has announced the cancellation of the 61st Annual MTA Convention and the 2022 Mid-West Truck and Trailer Show, scheduled for February 4 & 5, 2022 in Peoria, Illinois.

“With the sudden increase in COVID cases and the concern for the health of our members and exhibitors, we have reluctantly made the decision to cancel the Show for 2022,” said Don Schaefer, Executive Vice President of the Mid-West Truckers Association.

“Our concern and those expressed by potential attendees and exhibitors means cancelling the Truck & Trailer Show is the right decision. We realize the difficulties in producing such an event are compounded due to the recent “perfect storm” of issues brought on by the omnicron COVID virant and its effect on staffing capabilities and potential health problems for the most vulnerable. We have seen the devastation this has caused even among our own members.”

* From the Trib

According to a spokeswoman for Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office, 45 judges have tested positive for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic — nine of them this week.

At the Dirksen courthouse, meanwhile, at least 44 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 after being in the courthouse since mid-December, according to letters sent to courthouse employees by U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. […]

Meanwhile, at the Cook County Jail on the Southwest Side, 404 people in custody were positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday, according to Sheriff Tom Dart’s office. That accounts for about 7 percent of detainees. In addition, 478 sheriff’s office employees, a category that includes correctional officers, courthouse security deputies and more, were positive as of Wednesday.

* Sun-Times

The Chicago Police Department has canceled officers’ days off this weekend as the Fraternal Order of Police blamed COVID-19 for a staffing shortage. […]

The FOP, which represents rank-and-file officers, estimates 21% of the police force — about 2,600 officers — are on medical leave, with COVID-19 being the driving factor.

The number of officers on medical leave at any one time before the pandemic averaged about 1,000, according to the union.

The department has about 12,000 officers.

* More…

* Here’s Who Will Be Eligible for New COVID Antiviral Pills in Illinois

* Illinois comptroller again suspends unpaid fines from tax refunds for eligible taxpayers

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Downstate illinois - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:41 pm:

    Voters need to be reminded repeatedly of which party thought it was in the best interests of students to give the CTU the right to strike.


  2. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    FOP resistance to vax doesn’t look any smarter today, does it. it.


  3. - SWIL_Voter - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:44 pm:

    Voters need to be reminded which party has been actively promoting COVID in their schools, killing their families including children. It’s the GOP


  4. - New Day - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:45 pm:

    “The city has not yet taken the state up on those offers.”

    W.T.F. is wrong with these people. How incompetent can you be. CTU is driving the current situation but CPS is making it easy for them by giving them cover. UGH.


  5. - City - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:45 pm:

    While CTU Members are on strike, FOP Members can’t strike and have their days off canceled (not a defense of the fop vax approach because I strongly disagree with it). Just making a comparison


  6. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===including 28,361 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois.===

    As the IDPH explained why the aren’t reporting the 3,299 probable deaths with their press statements? It’s available on their website but I don’t understand why they’d be choosing to understate the death toll in a press release when they’re also reporting the probably deaths on their website.


  7. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:52 pm:

    Two family members who work in health care (one here one in Kansas) both say the staffing shortages due to staff with COVID are severe. Long-term care facilities have issues even getting food to people on time due to staffing shortages. The one who lives in Kansas, if they work enough hours, they can see their hourly rate bumped up by $20, (so 20 + current rate) an hour (more than doubling it). A local family member has been called into the hospital work vs their normal work environment. Expect it to last several weeks.


  8. - Shytown - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    Lightfoot‘s actions and those of her administration are head scratching. If there is some kind of strategy here that I am missing, would someone help explain?


  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 12:58 pm:

    W.T.F. is wrong with these people. How incompetent can you be.

    County and city health departments should be consolidated into a single state entity.

    Over and over again we have been provided examples of local county health departments doing less than nothing.

    It’s frustrating to watch it play out in slow motion, but hopefully as these flaws are exposed we can recognize the need to change the current county-level setup.

    A county level setup was good enough 100 years ago when it was first established. The ’sphere of influence’ of an individual is much larger than a single county now, and our public health system has to recognize that reality in order to attain the best service.


  10. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:03 pm:

    =FOP Members can’t strike and have their days off canceled=

    But don’t FOP members willingly take a various dangerous job where they are expected to put their lives on the line every day, are trained to do so, and provided with the appropriate tools and resources needed? I’m not sure that’s the gig CTU members signed up for.


  11. - Roadrager - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:05 pm:

    ==Lightfoot‘s actions and those of her administration are head scratching. If there is some kind of strategy here that I am missing, would someone help explain?==

    Personal grudges supersede logic and community benefit every time with this particular mayor. The union went against her early, and everything from that point on is how Lori is going to bring them to heel.


  12. - Sterling - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:17 pm:

    CTU isn’t on strike, they’re working remotely. If CPD can find an effective way to work remotely, I’m all ears. That said, police officers deserve our gratitude but they also know what they signed up for: risking their lives to serve and protect. Teachers shouldn’t be in the position where we ask them to give their lives for their students (even though we keep asking them to in light of school shootings).

    Or rather, if we keep asking teachers to put their lives to protect their students, we need pay parity between teachers and police officers.


  13. - BG - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:18 pm:

    CTU is not on strike. Teachers deemed remote learning necessary because of safety issues in the schools. Safety issues such as a lack of testing, appropriate masks, and a metric that would determine when schools would go remote. On Wednesday, teachers attempted to teach remotely but were locked out of their classrooms by the Mayor. That is not a strike, that’s a lockout.


  14. - Roadrager - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:21 pm:

    ==It’s been overstated for close to two years. Dying with Covid and from Covid are 2 different things.==

    Congratulations on learning the word “comorbidities,” but deductions for learning what it means from Drs. Rogan, Berenson, and Woodhouse.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:27 pm:

    === I then asked what state help Pritzker had directly offered CPS. I was told the state had offered SHIELD tests, vaccination clinics and masks for the past several weeks.

    The city has not yet taken the state up on those offers.===

    You can’t be angry at… CTU, the Governor, the virus… when you wholly ignore help being given/offered to you.

    A prime example of sheer stubbornness and lacking here, now it’s cost days of school.


  16. - DeeLay - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:33 pm:

    “Dying with Covid and from Covid are 2 different things.”

    There is a big grey area in the middle there. If you have a heart attack because covid caused your body undue stress and oxygen deprivation - Which is it? The COD is the heart attack but you can’t ignore the impact of the virus.

    Many times it’s a distinction without a difference and to gloss over that is disingenuous at best.


  17. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:35 pm:

    There was a TV news story two days ago on the ICU shortages in two counties (Will and Kankakee), in which 98% of ICU patients and 100% of those receiving oxygen were unvaccinated. Staggering.


  18. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:40 pm:

    The way we classify cause of death hasn’t changed because of Covid. It’s just really inconvenient for those that want to deny reality or minimize things.


  19. - Utterly Disguted - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 1:57 pm:

    Last April CPS reported on their website that they had dedicated 225 million dollars (roughly $345,000 per school) to address Covid-19. Nearly a year later, we are being told by CTU that the schools are not safe. Bottom line, I would like to know what the truth is. Has CPS done a terrible job and wasted a quarter of a billion dollars? Or is CTU wrong and simply exploiting the situation? According to the City’s Health Commissioner, the schools are safe. Is Arwardy trust worthy or is she just a unprofessional hack for the Mayor? What about the roughly 30% of the teachers who just voted to stay in school. On the other hand, I saw a rep from CTU on the news yesterday who said the schools are dirty and full of rats, and the kids have inadequate masks and that there is no contact tracing. Is he right? Is that the condition at Lane Tech? Is that the condition Brooks or Morgan Park? I know someone is lying and someone is telling the truth. I have no way of telling who is who. I hope someone does a valid objective investigation so we tax payers know who to blame for this mess either the Mayor or CTU.


  20. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:11 pm:

    =The union went against her early, and everything from that point on is how Lori is going to bring them to heel.=

    Game, set, and match. We’ve seen this time and time again. Whether it’s our former Governor, President, or the Mayor. When egos overwhelm judgement bad things happen. I think that’s why Pritzker’s support remains fairly constant.


  21. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:26 pm:

    =Voters need to be reminded repeatedly of which party thought it was in the best interests of students to give the CTU the right to strike.=

    You mean, like every other public school district in the state? Crazy./s


  22. - yinn - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:36 pm:

    NIU undergrads go back to class on the 18th, but the school announced today that that first week back (at least) will be remote learning.

    Also, as if nursing staff shortages weren’t enough, at least one commercial food vendor that serves Region 1 skilled nursing facilities is having trouble filling orders right now, including staples such as potatoes.


  23. - thoughts matter - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:48 pm:

    Police are on the job because they need to be to protect civilians. Is it risky for them? Yes. Can they work remotely? Well not most of them, no.

    Teachers want to work remotely to protect themselves, and their students, and their students’ families. They have remote capability. Why shouldn’t they use it? We are talking record numbers of infections here.
    If you don’t understand the difference between the two situations, I don’t know what to tell you.


  24. - Muddler - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 2:58 pm:

    I wonder where the teachers think kids are going while teachers sit at home. CPS parents have to work and probably the majority need to report in-person. Parents are leaving their kids at home with inadequate childcare or sending their kids to unregulated camps and daycares. I don’t see any public health benefits to this approach.


  25. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:03 pm:

    =I wonder where the teachers think kids are going while teachers sit at home.=

    Same could be said about CPS and the Mayor. The kids get the short end but there are multiple parties to blame. And last I saw there were some 2K+ teachers that would have to quarantine anyway.


  26. - Enviro - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:08 pm:

    It just makes sense to wait at least two weeks after News Year’s Day to send children back to school.

    This would give the Covid holiday virus surge enough time to be reduced to safer levels.

    The CPS would also have enough time to prepare to test the students for Covid before schools open and provide a safer place for teaching and learning.


  27. - LakeCo - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:11 pm:

    Ha, sorry about your days off and your massive sick roll, FOP. Almost makes you wish you’d been in favor of vaccinations, doesn’t it?


  28. - Ashland Adam - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:21 pm:

    Ooops…I posted this in another place here on Cap Fax. My apologies.

    Utt. Disg. - Charters aren’t the answer. Please see below.

    What might help in CPS? Leadership (mayoral and CPS) committed to building stable, fully resourced schools, offering well-rounded education. Think - what are they offering at New Trier? The Lab School? Then let’s do that here. This is a question for society. What do we value? Where will we invest today, so that in 5, 10, 30 years, young people have a place in the economy. What needs to be addressed today, so that young people can lead productive lives into the future. There’s no quick fix. Not a charter school, not a new curriculum, not a new state test….not firing all the teachers and hiring new ones. All of that has been tried. These are deflections and distractions from addressing the ongoing, underlying, unresolved issues of poverty and race in America.

    CPS teachers - CTU members - know this. They come in to teach, committed to doing a tough job that most people wouldn’t even try, and they butt up against the lies of Daley/Rahm/LL who are looking for the quick fix, deflection, please the business community, without long-term hard work.

    “Concept Schools charter chain to pay $4.5 million to end federal investigation” Chi. Suntimes 11/20.
    https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/11/6/21552520/concept-schools-charter-school-chain-investigation-settlement

    Chicago Charter Leader Investigated For Inappropriate Contact With Young Women. WBEZ 11/18
    https://www.wbez.org/stories/chicago-charter-leader-investigated-for-inappropriate-contact-with-young-women/b41ce324-ce9c-4b9f-8f45-5013845034e9

    Former CEO of Chicago Charter School Operator Settles Muni-Bond Fraud Charges. U.S Securities and Exchange Commission press release 2016.
    https://www.sec.gov/news/pressrelease/2016-125.html

    Want more?


  29. - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    ==Why shouldn’t they use it?==

    Because kids belong in school. Why are teachers so much more special than other workers out there? Get in the classroom. Period.


  30. - CPS Parent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    We are being denied our kids access to an equal education. I hope the injunctions can be granted to resume in person school.


  31. - The Most Anonymous - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:54 pm:

    Is today the first time this week that media asked the Governor’s team if he intervened or tried to support the CPS situation?


  32. - WestBurbs - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 3:58 pm:

    Serious question - why isn’t CTU engaged in an illegal work stoppage? Putting aside whether you think CTU is morally/ethically correct, what gives them the legal right to refuse to teach in-person? Is there a “general safety” clause in the contract?


  33. - Pundent - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:03 pm:

    =Get in the classroom. Period.=

    I guess you missed the news on case rates among teachers. Unless you’re also ordering them to work regardless of whether or not they currently have Covid. But if that’s not the case then exactly how are you going to accomplish this?


  34. - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    Don’t be daft. That’s a dumb argument.

    The teachers walked out of the classroom because they decided they wanted to do remote learning right now. I do not support that decision. Kids need to be in class.


  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:17 pm:

    ===Is there a “general safety” clause in the contract? ===

    Health and safety strikes are allowed in the law.


  36. - Late - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:30 pm:

    - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    Don’t be daft. That’s a dumb argument.

    Says the person who said that 25,000 teachers simply just, “wanted to do remote learning right now.”

    Also, even “other workers out there” deserve a safe place to work.


  37. - Zoomer - Friday, Jan 7, 22 @ 4:39 pm:

    == Why are teachers so much more special than other workers out there? Get in the classroom. Period. ==

    Do you consider teachers “essential workers”?


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