Coronavirus

COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Right here’s what’s taking place Wednesday

The race to vaccinate tens of millions of Illinois residents towards the coronavirus took successful from Mom Nature this week.

The winter storm that dropped 18 inches of snow in some elements of the Chicago space will seemingly contribute to decrease COVID-19 vaccinations in Illinois “over the following a number of days,” state officers warned Tuesday.

Greater than 100 vaccine websites in Chicago didn’t get their shipments Tuesday following a heavy snowstorm in a single day, resulting in wide-scale appointment cancellations, together with at city-run mass vaccination websites, metropolis Public Well being Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady stated.

Chicago acquired some excellent news, although. The town stated Tuesday it’s easing indoor eating restrictions for a second consecutive week, permitting bars and eating places to supply service at both 40% capability or 50 individuals, whichever is much less.

Right here’s what’s taking place Wednesday with COVID-19 within the Chicago space and Illinois:

4:35 p.m.: Lightfoot spent $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 aid cash on police payroll

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration spent $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 aid cash on Chicago Police Division personnel prices, prompting an offended response Wednesday from activists and a few aldermen.

The quantity got here to mild as Lightfoot seeks Metropolis Council approval to switch about $65 million in unspent federal COVID-19 cash into the 2021 finances, after the Biden administration waived Federal Emergency Administration Company native funding matches and prolonged the deadline to spend federal {dollars} till the top of the yr.

4:20 p.m.: Have you ever used social media to seek out an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine? Inform us about your expertise.

The challenges going through the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois have been extensively reported, with some describing the method as just like the “Starvation Video games.”

The Tribune want to hear from individuals who have been utilizing social media platforms and different strategies to get an appointment.

3:03 p.m.: US authorities seizes tens of millions of faux N95 masks in COVID-19 probe

Federal brokers have seized greater than 10 million pretend 3M model N95 masks in latest weeks, the results of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits offered in no less than 5 states to hospitals, medical services and authorities businesses.

The latest seizures occurred Wednesday when Homeland Safety brokers intercepted a whole bunch of hundreds of counterfeit 3M masks in an East Coast warehouse that had been set to be distributed, officers stated.

Investigators additionally notified about 6,000 potential victims in no less than 12 states together with hospitals, medical services and others who might have unknowingly bought knockoffs, urging them to cease utilizing the medical-grade masks. Officers inspired medical staff and firms to go to 3Ms web site for tips about tips on how to spot fakes.

12:03 p.m.: 1,795 new confirmed and possible COVID-19 circumstances and 24 further deaths reported

Officers additionally reported 49,937 new exams within the final 24 hours. The seven-day statewide rolling positivity fee for circumstances as a share of whole exams was 2.8% for the interval ending Tuesday.

The 7-day rolling every day common of administered vaccine doses is 60,552, with 40,380 doses given on Tuesday. IDPH additionally says a complete of 1,903,942 vaccines have now been administered.

Midday: Gov. J.B. Pritzker goes after Republicans in finances, State of State speech

Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a $41.6 billion state finances Wednesday that takes on Republicans for main the opposition to his graduated-rate revenue tax plan by recommending cuts to just about $1 billion in enterprise tax breaks to assist stability state spending amid the continued pandemic.

“I’ve at all times believed that our financial restoration each as a nation and as a state goes hand in hand with our restoration from the virus. I definitely had no expectation once I turned governor that we’d spend all of this time battling an invisible enemy collectively,” Pritzker stated in a pre-recorded speech from the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the place a brand new COVID-19 vaccination program is being established.

“I had bolder plans for our state budge than what I’m going to current to you right this moment. It could be a mislead counsel in any other case,” Pritzker stated. “However as all our households have needed to make exhausting selections during the last yr, so too does state authorities. And proper now, we have to cross a balanced finances that finds the best equilibrium between tightening our belts and stopping extra hardships for Illinoisans already carrying a heavy load.”

All instructed, Pritzker’s plan is closely reliant on curbing enterprise tax breaks, extending compensation of state borrowing, shifting earmarked taxes to the state’s common checking account and utilizing current federal COVID-19 aid funding to pare down a finances deficit of greater than $2.6 billion with out enacting main cuts to companies.

9:04 a.m.: V.P. Kamala Harris requires lecturers to get COVID vaccine precedence

Talking in her first sit-down community tv interview since taking workplace, Vice President Kamala Harris confused the significance of getting educators vaccinated since their work is so essential and so they work in an setting the place protecting measures are robust to implement.

“Academics ought to be a precedence,” stated Harris on Wednesday. “They need to be capable to educate in a secure place. … So lecturers ought to be a precedence together with different frontline staff.”

Harris instructed As we speak Present host, Savannah Guthrie that solely about half the states are giving vaccine precedence to lecturers and referred to as on states to place educators on the entrance of the road.

7:25 a.m.: COVID-19 aid invoice cash would assist broaden scientists’ skill to identify virus mutations

U.S. scientists would achieve vastly expanded capabilities to establish doubtlessly deadlier coronavirus mutations beneath laws advancing in Congress. A Home invoice headed for ground debate would supply $1.75 billion for genomic sequencing.

The U.S. now maps solely the genetic make-up of a minuscule fraction of constructive virus samples, a state of affairs some specialists liken to flying blind. It means the true home unfold of problematic mutations first recognized in the UK and South Africa stays a matter of guesswork.

“You’ve acquired a small variety of tutorial and public well being labs which were mainly doing the genomic surveillance,” stated David O’Connor, an AIDS researcher on the College of Wisconsin. “However there isn’t any nationwide coherence to the technique.”

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention is attempting to shepherd these efforts, aligning with the federal government’s personal superior detection work, however the COVID-19 laws would take the hunt to a different degree.

Apart from cash, the Home invoice that cleared the Power and Commerce Committee final week requires the CDC to prepare a nationwide community to make use of the expertise to trace the unfold of mutations and information public well being countermeasures.

Within the Senate, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has launched laws that would supply $2 billion. Baldwin says the U.S. ought to be utilizing gene-mapping expertise to investigate no less than 15% of constructive virus samples. Which may not sound like a lot, however the present fee is believed to be 0.3% to 0.5%. Analyzing 15% of constructive samples would broaden surveillance by no less than 30 occasions.

“Variants signify a rising menace,” stated Baldwin. “At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising our testing capability was important to our skill to trace and sluggish the unfold of the virus — the identical is true for locating and monitoring these variants.”

7:15 a.m.: A advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic? Animal adoptions are surging; ‘A pet could be the one factor that will get them away from bed’

Wreath, with house owners Dave and Alicia McKnight, was a senior canine on the Hinsdale Humane Society, who at over 11 years previous, might have had a tough time getting adopted however acquired adopted shortly simply earlier than the vacations. (Hinsdale Humane Society)

Animal shelters throughout Chicagoland are going through an fascinating downside a yr into life being not-so-normal: Because the coronavirus pandemic retains extra individuals at house, animal adoptions are nonetheless surging and the excessive demand means extra issues than one.

Because the pandemic started early final spring, the Hinsdale Humane Society has seen numbers far better than they’ve seen in earlier years and securing the animals within the first place is a substantial endeavor, by no means thoughts what occurs after.

“Since COVID began, it’s actually like a hunt in outreach to seek out new companions and new locations to get canines,” stated Samantha Cheatham, Operations Supervisor on the Hinsdale Humane Society.

Based on Cheatham, whereas they attempt to prioritize securing pets that folks quit, that are known as “surrenders,” in addition to native rescues, they’ve additionally been reaching out to different states and getting animals from Texas, Tennessee and Alabama.

Listed below are some latest tales associated to COVID-19:

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