October 9, 2020 By iwano@_84 Off

COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday

The daily number of new known coronavirus cases announced by Illinois officials on Thursday was the highest in nearly five months, except for a day in early September when the state caught up on a testing backlog.

The 3,059 new known cases represents the first time the daily count has topped 3,000 since May 14, when the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,239 cases. The department reported 5,368 new cases on Sept. 4, but that was due to a backlog in processing test results.

In addition to the newly confirmed cases, which bring the total number known infections to 310,700 statewide since the pandemic began, officials on Thursday reported 32 more fatalities. That brings the death toll to 8,910. Officials also reported 72,491 new tests in the last 24 hours. The seven-day statewide positivity rate is 3.7%.

The new numbers come as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that the gains that most regions in Illinois had been making in bringing down COVID-19 positivity rates in recent weeks have “cooled off a bit.” The governor noted specifically that the northeastern region that includes Lake and McHenry counties has seen a reversal after a period of decline.

Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

6:20 p.m.: IHSA doctor says high school basketball could happen in Illinois if players wear masks

The senior member of the Illinois High School Association’s sports medicine advisory committee said Thursday that high school basketball might be possible this year if all players wear masks.

Dr. Preston Wolin said that idea is being considered by the Illinois Department of Public Health, whose COVID-19 guidelines place restrictions on high school and youth sports. As of now, basketball is considered a medium risk for virus transmission, meaning athletes can scrimmage but not compete against other schools.

The high school basketball season is supposed to start Nov. 16.

Wolin said recent communication between the IHSA and the state has included “a draft considering allowing a basketball season to proceed with everybody being masked. As to whether there is actually an IDPH policy that has been promulgated describing this, that I don’t think I can answer.”

Asked for comment, an IDPH spokeswoman responded: “There are no updates to the guidance planned at this time.”

An IHSA spokesman did not return a request for comment.

5:05 p.m.: Winnetka businessman charged with price gouging in sale of protective masks during pandemic

A North Shore businessman was charged in federal court in Chicago on Thursday with illegally price gouging customers seeking to purchase protective masks amid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krikor Topouzian, 60, of Winnetka, was charged in a criminal information with violating anti-price gouging laws. The charge carries a maximum of one year in prison.

According to the charge, Topouzian, who owns a medical supply company based in Skokie, accumulated in March and April a stockpile of nearly 80,000 respirator masks, including N95 masks, for roughly just over $5 per mask.

Topouzian later sold nearly 40,000 of the masks to customers for prices as high as $19.95 per mask — a markup of up to 367%, the information alleged. Topouzian kept selling the masks at inflated prices despite being repeatedly warned by law enforcement and others that it was illegal.

Nearly all of the sales were made to individual customers, the charge alleged.

An arraignment date for Topouzian had not been set as of Thursday.

4:45 p.m.: Outdoor dining winterization money comes as some push for tougher Chicago requirements on third-party delivery apps

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday touted $500,000 the city’s getting from restaurant delivery company DoorDash to winterize Chicago restaurants, while proposals by aldermen to further crack down on such apps during the coronavirus pandemic languish in City Council committees.

In announcing the grant from the delivery company to help restaurants prepare for winter, Lightfoot thanked DoorDash “for investing in Chicago and its restaurants to assist them in continuing to serve Chicagoans this winter.”

Third-party apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats that charge additional fees to restaurants to deliver meals have drawn increasing scrutiny from elected officials since the virus outbreak began, as diners skittish about eating inside restaurants have been ordering more to-go meals, fueling a boom for the companies.

4:35 p.m.: Wisconsin surpasses 3,000 new COVID-19 cases for first time as Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as troubling hot spots

A surge of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin and the Dakotas is forcing a scramble for hospital beds and raising political tensions, as the Upper Midwest and Plains emerge as one of the nation’s most troubling hot spots.

The three states now lead all others in new cases per capita, after months in which many politicians and residents rejected mask requirements while downplaying the risks of the disease that has now killed over 210,000 Americans.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Melissa Resch, a nurse at Wisconsin’s Aspirus Wausau Hospital, which is working to add beds and reassign staff to keep up with a rising caseload of virus patients, many gravely ill.

“Just yesterday I had a patient say, ‘It’s OK, you guys took good care of me, but it’s OK to let me go,’” Resch said. “I’ve cried with the respiratory unit, I’ve cried with managers. I cry at home. I’ve seen nurses crying openly in the hallway.”

Wisconsin surpassed 3,000 new virus cases for the first time on Thursday, more than 200 above its previous daily record, set earlier this month.

3:50 p.m.: Orland Park drops lawsuit against Pritzker challenging COVID-19 restrictions

Orland Park has dropped a federal lawsuit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker challenging restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to court filings.

The village and other plaintiffs in the case had filed the complaint in mid-June, and last month told the judge overseeing the case it planned to file an amended lawsuit by this Thursday.

The short document filed Tuesday did not give an explanation why the village decided to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit.

Mayor Keith Pekau said Thursday that the Village Board decided in a closed session following Monday’s meeting to drop the case, but defended the village’s use of taxpayer money to pursue the litigation.

2:18 p.m.: Cook County launches suburban $20 million mortgage assistance program as hope for more federal relief runs thin: ‘More is going to be needed’

Homeowners in suburban Cook County can apply for mortgage assistance starting Friday as part of another coronavirus recovery program funded by CARES Act money, but uncertainty remains on when more federal relief is coming.

The $20 million program will dole out payments of up to $10,000 directly to mortgage collectors, giving homeowners reprieve for one to three months on overdue or future payments, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced at a Thursday news conference. The fund is estimated to help between 2,500 and 3,000 homeowners, with an average of about $7,800 per individual.

1:56 p.m.: Second stimulus check updates: Nancy Pelosi says she’s ‘at the table’ even after Trump scrapped COVID-19 relief talks

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’s “at the table” and ready to negotiate a coronavirus aid package even after President Donald Trump halted talks abruptly. His decision earlier this week sent the jittery economy reeling and left his GOP allies scrambling as millions of Americans go without jobless assistance, hoped-for business support or expanded testing protocols weeks before Election Day.

Pelosi said she told Trump’s chief negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, she is willing to consider a measure to prop up the airline industry, which is facing widespread layoffs. But that aid, she said, must go alongside broader legislation that includes the kind of COVID testing, tracing and health practices that Democrats say are needed as part of a national strategy to “crush the virus.”

“Lives are at stake,” Pelosi said at the Capitol. “This is deadly serious.”

In a stunning admission, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he had stopped going to the White House two months ago because he disagreed with its coronavirus protocols. His last visit was Aug. 6.

12:45 p.m.: Orland Park drops lawsuit against Gov. Pritzker challenging COVID-19 restrictions

Orland Park has dropped a federal lawsuit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker challenging restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to court filings.

The village and other plaintiffs in the case had initially filed the complaint in mid-June, and last month told the judge overseeing the case it planned to file an amended lawsuit by this Thursday.

The short document filed Tuesday did not give an explanation why the village decided to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit.

12:07 p.m.: Illinois reports more than 3,000 newly confirmed coronavirus cases

The daily number of new known coronavirus cases announced by Illinois officials on Thursday was the highest in nearly five months, except for a day in early September when the state caught up on a testing backlog.

The 3,059 new known cases represents the first time the daily count has topped 3,000 since May 14, when the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,239 cases. The department reported 5,368 new cases on Sept. 4, but that was due to a backlog in processing test results.

In addition to the newly confirmed cases, which bring the total number known infections to 310,700 statewide since the pandemic began, officials on Thursday also reported 32 more fatalities. That brings the death toll to 8,910.

The state received results from a near-record number of coronavirus tests in the previous 24 hours, with 72,491 screenings reported for a single-day positivity rate of 4.2%.

The highest number of tests reported in a single day was 74,286 on Sept. 19, but there were only 2,529 new cases reported that day, a positivity rate of 3.4%.

For comparison, the one-day positivity rate on May 14 was 14.2% because the 3,239 positive results came from just 22,678 tests.

10:35 a.m.: Willie Wilson, who’s running as an independent against U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, says he has tested positive for coronavirus

Willie Wilson, the entrepreneur and frequent candidate for political office who is mounting an independent challenge to Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, announced Thursday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will begin a 10-day quarantine.

“I am experiencing mild symptoms at this time. However, I am confident that we will beat COVID-19,” said Wilson, 72, a food and medical service glove distributor who also has his own gospel orchestra and record distribution company.

10:34 a.m.: Logan Square’s City Lit Books to close Dec. 1, a casualty of the pandemic

The pandemic has claimed City Lit, a vibrant independent bookstore and a fixture of the Logan Square neighborhood. Citing a 50% drop in revenue, owner Teresa Kirschbraun said the shop would close for good on Dec. 1. City Lit has maintained its staff of four through the pandemic with the help of a loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, Kirschbraun said. But between rent, staffing and book costs, the store, which has remain shuttered during the pandemic, has been operating at a significant loss. City Lit has offered online ordering and curbside pickup, but Kirschbraun said the safety protocols required to reopen the store didn’t lend themselves to a quality shopping experience.

“The point was the joy of it, the joy of being with the people who came in all the time who loved books,” Kirschbraun said.

Also, it wasn’t clear that people would come into browse if City Lit had opened its doors to the public. Neighborhood foot traffic has changed dramatically, she said. City Lit is accepting orders for curbside pick-up through Oct. 15. Nov. 30 is the last day for online orders.

9:25 a.m.: Regeneron asks FDA for emergency approval for experimental antibody cocktail that Trump, without evidence, claims cured him

The drugmaker Regeneron said on Wednesday evening that it had submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval of the experimental antibody cocktail that President Donald Trump had praised just hours earlier without evidence as a “cure” for the coronavirus.

The company said that at first, access to the treatment would be extremely limited, with only enough doses for 50,000 patients, a far cry from the “hundreds of thousands” of doses that Trump said in a video released Wednesday he would soon be making available to Americans free of charge.

There is no evidence that the treatment is the reason he was feeling better, and his doctors have said he has taken other drugs as well.

8:53 a.m.: Trump refuses to do a virtual debate with Biden after contracting COVID-19: ‘They cut you off whenever they want’

President Donald Trump vowed Thursday not to participate in next week’s debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden after organizers announced it will take place virtually because of the president’s diagnosis of COVID-19.

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump told Fox Business News, moments after the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced the changes.

“That’s not acceptable to us. I beat him easily in the first debate,” the president said. “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about … they cut you off whenever they want.”

Trump told Fox anchor Mario Bartiromo he had been cured by Regeneron, one of the drugs he was given by doctors at Walter Reed military hospital, and said he didn’t think he could spread the coronavirus.

“I don’t think I’m contagious at all,” Trump said.

8:49 a.m.: Players’ parents not allowed at the Wisconsin Badgers home opener on Oct. 24 because of COVID-19 surge

Players’ parents will no longer be allowed at the University of Wisconsin football team’s opener the weekend of Oct. 24.

Only essential personnel — players and coaches from both teams, public safety officers, stadium operations personnel and a limited number of media — will be allowed into the stadium. UW faces Illinois either Oct. 23 or 24, with the game’s date and start time yet to be determined.

8:45 a.m.: Winter Design Challenge winners announced in Chicago: A cabin, block modules and heated tables

Submissions were called, ideas were proposed, finalists were selected and now, winners for Chicago’s Winter Design Challenge have been announced.The competition aims to solve the problem of how to continue outdoor dining come colder weather, and netted more than 600 entries both serious and comical. (I’m still not over Leaf-blowers = win.) After two preliminary rounds of judging by the design firm IDEO and the city of Chicago, 26 finalistswere chosen and presented to a panel of judges made up of architects, designers, chefs, restaurateurs and servers, who picked the final three feasible and safe proposals. Each of them will take home a $5,000 cash prize.

Amy Young’s Cozy Cabins: Small, modular and adjoining cabins outfitted with radiant floor heating that fit in a standard street parking space. The idea, proposed by ASD | SKY based out of Atlanta and San Francisco, was inspired by ice fishing huts.

Neil Reindel’s Block Party: Takes a parking lane and converts it to outdoor seating block modules. Blocks can be arranged according to preference and even combined together — a single block module holds two people, with sizes increasing by two with each additional block. Reindel is an urban designer and planner and also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.

Ellie Henderson’s Heated Tables: A modification of the Japanese kotatsu, a low table covered by a blanket that also has a small electric heater on its underside. An additional table top is placed on top of the blanket. This proposal was inspired by Henderson’s experiences in Japan.

6:51 a.m. Wilmette’s last American Legion post, named after soldier who died during pandemic of 1918, is disbanding: ‘COVID was the final straw’

More than a century has passed since a 22-year-old U.S. Army soldier from the North Shore died during the influenza pandemic of 1918 while aboard a ship headed to Europe.

Peter J. Huerter, who had hoped to serve in World War I, was buried at sea that October. Back home in what is now Wilmette, his grief-stricken family and friends paid homage to the young man by naming one of the area’s two new American Legion posts in his honor.

But this month, amid the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last remaining American Legion post in Wilmette will cease operations, and its abandoned century-old headquarters are slated for demolition and a farewell 21-gun salute later this year.

“We just don’t have the horsepower to continue, and COVID was the final straw,” said Andy Haszlakiewicz, 74, of Wilmette, a U.S. Army veteran and the former commander of Post 46.

5 a.m.: Illinois confirms COVID-19 outbreaks in 44 schools this school year but won’t say where they occurred

Nearly two months into the school year, Illinois public health officials said they have verified COVID-19 outbreaks in at least 44 school buildings across the state, but they declined to say where those cases occurred and acknowledged they may not know the full scope of the virus’s spread in schools.

Unlike many other states, Illinois doesn’t publish the number of cases linked to schools or which schools have been affected — even as parents and educators try to assess whether in-person learning is safe. State health officials released overall numbers at the request of the Tribune and ProPublica Illinois.

With more than 1,800 public schools operating in person at least part time, along with an unknown number of private schools, the outbreaks represent a tiny fraction of Illinois schools in session, according to an analysis of state education data. Most outbreaks have been small — two or three cases at each school — but at least 105 students and 73 employees at public and private schools have been affected.

State health officials said many COVID-19 cases seen among children are tied to gatherings outside school and other community events, while acknowledging that local contact tracing efforts likely have missed some school-related cases.

This story is a collaboration between the Tribune and ProPublica Illinois.

Breaking coronavirus news

Stay up to date with the latest information on coronavirus with our breaking news alerts.

Here are five things that happened Wednesday related to COVID-19:

Source Article