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COVID-19 roundup

Friday, Oct 15, 2021

* Center Square

Six nurses employed by Riverside Healthcare in Kankakee have filed a lawsuit against the hospital over their right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

The Liberty Justice Center, a national nonprofit law firm, is representing the nurses. The nurses have religious beliefs they say conflict with getting the vaccine, Liberty Justice Center attorney Daniel Suhr said. […]

“At Liberty Justice Center, our job is to fight against overreach and protect people’s rights,” Suhr said. “This is not only overreach, it is wrong and it is illegal.” […]

Panozzo, a nurse practitioner for over 24 years at Riverside, said her faith is the reason for her decision.

“I have dedicated my life to living out my faith by serving my patients,” Panozzo said in a statement. “I believe I am called to love and serve my patients especially those who are frail and vulnerable, I am also following my faith teaching when I say I can not accept this vaccine.”

I just can’t understand someone who would not only knowingly work around “frail and vulnerable” people without being vaccinated against a disease that could kill her charges, but would put up a legal fight to do so.

* Effingham Daily News

A temporary restraining order that allowed three Teutopolis students to attend classes without masks has been vacated by the Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, Douglas L. Jarman.

“Since the judge vacated the order, it requires masking for all students in the school district as per Executive Order No. 24 from the governor,” said Unit 50 Superintendent Matt Sturgeon.

Scroll down

DeVore said in a telephone interview Thursday that he plans to transfer the Teutopolis case out of Effingham County to Macoupin County early next week. He said the Effingham County case would be transferred along with similar cases in Clinton and Montgomery counties to Macoupin County, where he currently has an existing case.

I’m not sure how he plans to pull off that transfer, but it’s part of a wider effort…

Sommer Stuehlmeye, a parent said she and a group of Unit 5 parents are raising funds to be considered for representation from Thomas DeVore, a lawyer who has successfully restored two Illinois school districts to regular status after a court dispute with the Illinois State Board of Education. […]

Who exactly is taking this case?

Stuehlmeye said she and the other Unit 5 parents linked up with a website called ‘Speak for Students.’

“It is a website that is an avenue to hire Tom DeVore, is his name the attorney, he’s been successful in some school districts south of us in the exact same thing as what we’re trying to do. Were raising funds to be considered by him. The funds would hire him, but we have to raise the funds before we can be considered,.for him to take on our case for the freedom of choice for parents. We’ve gone through this website and we need a certain number of parent representatives, or plaintiffs, to move forward,” said Stuehlmeye. […]

Stuehlmeye said the community has to raise the funds before they can submit a request for counsel on ‘Speak for Students.‘ […]

It costs $5,324 dollars. Right now the group of Unit 5 parents are at about $2,300.

* Cook County Record

The possibility of natural immunity to COVID acquired by prior infection shouldn’t allow a group of Naperville firefighters to escape COVID vaccine and testing mandates, lawyers for Gov. JB Pritzker has argued in new court filings.

Further, the governor asserted state and local COVID vaccine and testing orders don’t violate the firefighters’ constitutional rights, as they claim.

“Even if all of the Plaintiffs (Naperville firefighters) did previously contract COVID-19, … the level of immunity can vary based on viral load and the severity of the infection,” lawyers for Pritzker wrote. “If Plaintiffs’ infections were early in the pandemic, then their immunity may have waned and vaccination is necessary to boost their immune response. If their cases were mild, then they may not have any immunity at all.

“Considering the nature of Plaintiffs’ jobs, they not only are at a higher risk of either infection or reinfection, but there is a higher risk that they will spread the disease as well.”

* More from the filing

Moreover, one month before the Governor issued EO 2021-22, this very district court mandated that its employees be vaccinated, or otherwise get tested twice a week. As Chief Judge Pallmeyer stated when announcing the Northern District’s vaccination requirement, “COVID-19 vaccinations are the very best available line of defense against this virus. Many of us work directly with the public, and all of us have a responsibility not only to one another, but also to the members of our community who come before us.”

Emphasis in original.

* NBC 5

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said it remains too early to give an indication of when he might lift Illinois’ indoor mask requirement, even as state COVID-19 metrics continue to dip.

Though the state’s test positivity rate is down to 2.5%, Pritzker said health officials must consider all metrics, in addition to other factors.

Pritzker cited rising cases in other states, including nearby Minnesota and Michigan, as well as current hospitalizations here in Illinois, where 1,500 people are in the hospital with coronavirus.

“If you go look at the hospitalizations — the new hospitalizations, as well as the ones that are, you know, existing in total — they are not dropping at the rate that they were dropping even a couple of weeks ago,” Pritzker said Thursday at an unrelated news conference while answering reporter questions. “So I’m concerned about that.”

OK, yesterday, there were 1,550 people in the hospital. Two weeks earlier, 1,744 were hospitalized (11 percent reduction). Two weeks before that, 1,962 were hospitalized (11 percent reduction). And two weeks before that, 2,305 were in the hospital (15 percent reduction).

I mean, I get why he doesn’t want to lift the mask mandate while some states to the north of us are surging again because he’ll only have to reimpose it, but it’s still a steady decrease.

* On to those aforementioned states…

We talked about that state earlier this week

Intensive care units are nearing capacity and health care workers are in short supply in Minnesota, as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths all reach levels not seen since vaccines became widely available.

All of the state’s counties are at high risk for community transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New daily cases have risen by 29 percent in the last two weeks and hospitalizations by 17 percent, according to a New York Times database.

While a monthslong increase driven by the Delta virus variant is waning in much of the country, Minnesota is just one of several Upper Midwestern and Mountain West states where the virus is surging. Cases are up and hospitals have been overwhelmed in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, all of which have low vaccination rates. Some areas have had to ration care and send patients to distant hospitals for treatment.

The Minnesota Department of Health said the state’s surge is overwhelming hospitals, with rural and metropolitan areas equally stretched.

Google is your friend, Amy.

* Related…

* The Great Resignation Is Accelerating: A lasting effect of this pandemic will be a revolution in worker expectations.

* Chicago police union also heads to court over vaccine mandate, hours after city sues FOP over threats to ignore today’s reporting deadline

* COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on police, but suburban departments avoid vaccine mandates: “We are not requiring (Palatine Police Department) employees to be vaccinated because we are under no mandate to require it,” Palatine Chief David Daigle said. It was the same refrain elsewhere. Police departments and sheriff’s offices from Lake County to Bloomingdale to St. Charles are leaving the vaccine decision up to individual officers.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:24 pm:

    “Google is your friend, Amy.”

    Oh cmon, Rich. Who ya expect Amy to believe? Some random guy on the Internet or hospitals, health systems and the Minnesota public health department?

  2. - Name/Nickname - May soon be required - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    Rich, Amy was also ridiculed and booted from the media room for leading the charge on reopening the lakefront path, which, even knowing what we knew at the time was absurd. She can be a bit out there, but when you’re basically the lone voice, that tends to happen.

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:33 pm:

    ===booted from the media room===

    Which media room?

  4. - Name nickname - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:40 pm:

    Governor’s. How soon we forget. Also, where are the MN hospital surges? Less vaxd rural MN, or heavily vaxd Minneapolis? If hospital surges are the controlling metric, it’s a reasonable argument that IL and Chicago do not need a mask mandate currently. They are back to pre Delta levels.

  5. - Fixer - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 2:43 pm:

    I’m going to need Ms. Panozzo to cite what passage in the Bible supports her “faith” here. Chapter and verse, please.

  6. - Suburban Mom - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:05 pm:

    My BFF is a doctor in Minneapolis and she’s barely seen her family in three weeks due to their surge. She’s generally a primary care practitioner, but their hospital system is all hands on deck right now, and short-staffed because so many of the front-line doctors and nurses burned out after 2020. Last week she did a heart procedure she hasn’t done with med school, and then the cardiologist was like, “I’m really impressed you managed to actually do that, we have a totally different and easier method now, you did it old-school.” Which, my friend is an amazing doctor but boy does her doing heart procedures not give me a lot of confidence if I have to go to the ER.

  7. - Anonymous 2 - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:05 pm:

    Yes this has gone on long enough
    What is the end game
    Time to move on

  8. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:06 pm:

    From the District 186 files. A Springfield woman punched the principal of Lindsey Elemetary School allegedly because she was mad that she had to come pick up her child due to exhibiting COVID symptoms.

  9. - WestBurbs - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:15 pm:

    Although I tend to be a fan of mitigation measures, I do wonder whether masks are primarily protecting the unvaxxed - and, if so, maybe it is time to lift the vax mandate.

  10. - Moe Berg - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:26 pm:

    ===I do wonder whether masks are primarily protecting the unvaxxed===

    We just read in a prior thread today about the Senate president’s *vaccinated* chief of staff having a breakthrough infection.

    Children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated. There are imunocompromised people, not all of whom have the luxury of isolating at home, out in the world.

    Nothing precludes a variant worse than Delta from arising, threatening even the vaccinated.

    Masks are protecting everyone and it’s really unfortunate how many people seem to think they are a terrible hardship to wear indoors in public.

  11. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:27 pm:

    The religious excuse is pretty thin, especially for Catholics, since Pope Francis said all the vaccines are not only ok to take, but that the moral imperitive is to take them, to protect your fellow man.

    If she’s that big a stickler, the nurse should take herself out of service until the pandemic is over, so she can’t infect her patients whom she cares about so deeply.

  12. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:36 pm:

    “Children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated. There are imunocompromised people, not all of whom have the luxury of isolating at home, out in the world.

    Nothing precludes a variant worse than Delta from arising, threatening even the vaccinated.

    Masks are protecting everyone and it’s really unfortunate how many people seem to think they are a terrible hardship to wear indoors in public.”

    I agree completely.
    Turns out, many adults are the most immature children you’ll ever meet. That’s one of my biggest takeaways from this pandemic. Just a disgusting, never ending display of supposed grownups seeing an infectious disease outbreak and responding by gazing at their own belly buttons and thinking primarily about how they’re being mildly inconvenienced by other people getting sick and dying.

  13. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===especially since we all know cases will rise again in a month or two and we’ll be asked to hunker down all over again===

    Please interpret the tortured reasoning. Snark?

  14. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    “I mean, I get why he doesn’t want to lift the mask mandate”

    Yep. Me too. Unfortunately, nobody around my neck of the woods cares anymore. It would probably be more effective to end the mandate then restart it if necessary.

  15. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==let’s have a break while the virus is receding===

    Pick a name. For those not paying attention, the virus recedes when people take precautions like masking and distancing. When they stop, it increases. That’s why a little break for your sensitive skin is unwise. We’ve beaten it back a bit, now is not the time to let up.

    Nothing is 100% effective, but it is nonsense to end safety measures like masking, especially for those taking care of the medically frail. BTW, when vaccinated people are allowed to take off their masks, the unvaccinated cast off theirs with joy in their hearts. No thanks.

    When the mandate needs to come back, you will all complain bitterly and be “confused” about it. Just like last time, for those who are keeping score.

  16. - Why Were My Comments Deleted? - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 4:26 pm:

    Do you really think all the changes in the # of infections is dictated by these mitigation measures? Illinois mask mandate went back into effect August 30th. R0 was basically back down to 1 by then, having peaked in mid July at 1.33. Help me understand why the virus receded in Alabama (cases down 90% in 6 weeks)? I haven’t heard of a lot of precautions happening there to beat back the virus but maybe it’s just underreported.

  17. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 4:30 pm:

    Maybe a good time to readdress the presumption for work comp that covid came from the workplace.

  18. - OurMagician - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 4:35 pm:

    What faith is this Neelie? Devoreism?

    “I have dedicated my life to living out my faith by serving my patients,” Panozzo said, according to a press release from the Liberty Justice Center.

    “I believe I am called to love and serve my patients, especially those who are frail and vulnerable. I am also following my faith’s teachings when I say I cannot accept this vaccine. I am ashamed that Riverside will not respect my sincere beliefs and instead insists on firing all of its employees who sought conscience protections,” she said.

  19. - Jibba - Friday, Oct 15, 21 @ 4:40 pm:


    What’s your theory? People wear masks and take distancing on their own as well as when required, so those of us who were going out earlier in the summer could see the wave coming and started up again earlier. I haven’t been inside a restaurant in a couple of months because I can read the papers and don’t have to be told.

    BTW, cases have only been dropping recently, so your Ro evidence is unconvincing. Mask up and vaccinate if you ever want out of this, brother.

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