State Reports Third Coronavirus Death in McHenry County, Man in 60’s

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports there are now eight-three Covid-19 infections in McHenry County and three deaths.

The latest to die is a male who is in his 60’s from an undisclosed location.

Presumably, the McHenry County Department of Health, from which the information must have originated, will echo those findings it its 5 o’clock daily update.

Here is what the McHenry County Health Department reports today:

“As of April 2, 2020, there have been 99 identified cases of COVID-19 in McHenry County and 2 deaths.”

As of shortly before ix o’clock, McHenry County has updates its report to show three deaths:

“As of April 2, 2020, there have been 99 identified cases of COVID-19 in McHenry County and 3 deaths.”

IL-14: District’s Communities Receive Portion of $12.2 Million from CARES Act

Lauren Underwood

From Congresswman Underwood’s Congressional Office Press Release

Underwood Announces Coronavirus Response Funding for Cities & Counties of 14th District

WEST CHICAGO— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded over $12.2 million in federal funding to communities in the 14th District. The funding was made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Underwood strongly supported in Congress and was signed by the President on March 27, 2020

“The CARES Act is delivering crucial economic relief to communities in northern Illinois that have been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will help our communities meet the enormous challenges they face as we fight this virus.

“As Illinois continues to see economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, I’ll continue to fight to bring resources to our community to ensure we are able to come back from this crisis stronger than ever.”

Congresswoman Underwood, through press release 4/2/20
.

The CARES Act provided $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants and $4 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants for coronavirus response. The Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Solutions Grants will help support a range of local programs and services impacted by the coronavirus, including assistance for people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing homelessness during this crisis.

Communities in the 14th District of Illinois will receive the following:

  • Aurora has been awarded a $902,078 Community Development Block Grant.
  • City of Dekalb has been awarded a $271,899 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Elgin has been awarded a $510,869 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Joliet has been awarded a $563,076 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Naperville has been awarded a $315,985 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Waukegan has been awarded a $470,215 Community Development Block Grant.
  • DuPage County has been awarded a $2,294,733 Community Development Block Grant and a $1,031,548 Emergency Solutions Grant.
  • Kane County has been awarded a $796,783 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Lake County has been awarded a $1,709,120 Community Development Block Grant and a $777,472 Emergency Solutions Grant.
  • McHenry County has been awarded a $830,790 Community Development Block Grant.
  • Will County has been awarded a $1,244,264 Community Development Block Grant and a $503,772 Emergency Solutions Grant.

COMMENTARY: The list of communities include many (cities of DeKalb, Elgin, Joliet, Waukegan, and most of city of Aurora) which are not part of the 14th congressional district.

That said, these federal monies approved through real bipartisan cooperation and near unanimous support in Congress is welcome during this unprecedented national emergency challenging all.

Another Potential Avenue of Assistance

From the McHenry County Health Department:

Families in need may be eligible for WIC Program

 mcdh wic program remains open to assist families in need

WOODSTOCK – As families begin to feel the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) is actively enrolling new families that qualify for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

WIC assists families with food scarcity during uncertain economic times by providing free, healthy foods. The program is an equal opportunity provider that is available to qualifying pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and their children through age 5.

Many families will qualify, including those earning less income due to unforeseen job loss, layoffs or reduced hours.

MCDH has needed to adjust the way it operates its clinics and programs to continue to serve McHenry County while doing its part to practice physical distancing. Appointments are conducted by phone followed by WIC coupons being dispersed at a drive through location set up at our Woodstock location located at 2200 N. Seminary Ave. Building A. 

To learn if you qualify or schedule to schedule a telephone appointment, please call 815-344-4505.

What It Is Like to Have Coronoavirus

From Wirepoints:

Ten lessons from an old friend that just survived an ugly bout with Covid-19 – Wirepoints

An old friend of mine from my childhood years in Georgia just survived an ugly bout with Covid-19. Chip Burger was the older kid I looked up to when I was younger. Our old hometown of Albany is actually experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of the virus in the nation. It’s heartbreaking to read about. 

Chip, who now lives in Atlanta, recently wrote about his experience with the virus and I want to share it with you. It’s a reminder that no matter how strong or healthy you think you are, this virus is dangerous.

It’s a smart, inspiring piece that everyone should read.

– Ted

***************

I was released from WellStar North Fulton Hospital yesterday after nine days fighting viral Covid-19 pneumonia – six days in the ICU and three on the medical floor. I thought I would share with you the top ten things I learned:

On Wednesday, 3/11 I developed a dry cough and worked from home the rest of the week. I felt good and actually overdid it on Saturday running errands and doing things around the house.

Lesson 1: Don’t overdo it – If you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of appetite, loss of sense of smell or other potential Covid-19 symptoms, notify your doctor, rest and take over the counter medications that help your symptoms.

From Sunday, 3/15 to Sunday, 3/22 my condition worsened. My cough persisted, I had very little energy, my sense of taste left me (food tasted like a mix of cardboard, sawdust and black mold) and toward the latter half of the week I started hearing a dry, crunchy sound in my chest.

Lesson 2: Listen to your body – You know when something is wrong. Early in this week I should have contacted my doctor and gone in for an evaluation. I thought I was supposed to stay at home and not overwhelm the medical system. But if I had received medical treatment earlier, I may have avoided my stint in the hospital.

By Sunday, 3/22 I was among the walking dead and Heidi was having no more of it. She loaded me in the car and we went to WellStar Urgent Care. During the check–in process I was impressed with how professional and attentive the staff were and how alarmed they were at my condition. They knew practically immediately I had pneumonia (remember the dry, crackly sound in my lungs?) and they measured my blood oxygenation level and said it was extremely low. They told us they could either call us an ambulance or we could drive, but that we were going to the WellStar North Fulton Hospital emergency room practically across the street. Heidi zoomed me over there and I was whisked away to emergency. That was the last I saw of Heidi for nine days.

While in the emergency room I sort of went into slow–mo mode. I could see how concerned the emergency room staff were and the thought occurred to me that I was circling the drain. I was so weak and tired that the realization didn’t scare or alarm me – it was just an observation. I snapped out of it when Dr. Tony said my situation was very serious and that they were going to put me on oxygen. If my blood oxygen levels did not improve quickly, they were going to intubate me and put me on a respirator.

Lesson 3: Push for the least invasive treatment option – This is the hardest lesson to describe yet the most important of my experience. I think if I had relinquished control of my recovery to a machine I would have been in the ICU longer. I don’t know this – I just feel it. I asked the doctor to give me a chance with the oxygen and focused all my energy on breathing as deeply as my crackly lungs would allow. Over time, my blood 02 levels improved – so much so that they actually switched me over to just an oxygen tube that fit in my nose.

During the early part of my stay in the ICU, it became obvious that for the foreseeable future my life would suck.

Lesson 4: Embrace the suck – At this point it seemed everyone wanted a piece of me. Technicians getting vital signs, blood draws, x–rays, the works. If you ever get in this situation – the suck is what is going to save you. This is where the medical team is getting the vital information they need to help you. If they want to draw blood every morning at 3:15 (they did) you smile at them and thank them when they’re done. Same with the folks that come at awkward hours to get your vital signs – which tells them how you’re progressing and gives them early warning if something is going wrong. The belly shot at 5:00 pm to thin your blood? Tomorrow let’s do cocktails with that! You are always glad to see them and hope they come again soon. 

The staff also tested me for Flu A/Flu B which entails inserting a bristly feeling wire into your sinuses and pulling it back out. They also tested for Covid-19 (winner) which involved inserting a bristly feeling wire into my sinuses, but then taking a tour of the inside of my head by twirling the wire around. Embrace this and just live in the moment while they do it (which happens automatically since you will not be thinking of anything else during the “swabbing”).

By Tuesday, 3/24 things had improved enough that I knew I was going to be okay – I just didn’t know how long it was going to take me to get out of the ICU. The staff gave me some devices to help me with my breathing – one for inhaling and one for exhaling. They set goals for me each day – which mainly consisted of getting off the supplemental oxygen and working with my breathing devices.

Lesson 5: Take what is offered / Do what you are told – At this point my appetite was back and I was better able to get out of bed and take care of myself. I figured the staff knew what they were doing (they did – I love them) so I decided I would accept whatever they gave me and do whatever they wanted me to do. I ate everything they brought me, drank water almost continuously, used the breathing devices on every commercial break or every 10 minutes or so if the TV was off (really weird watching the news anchors discuss the Coronavirus while you are in the ICU with it). I think getting with the program early really helped my recovery.

Also by Tuesday–ish , I was also getting to know the medical staff. They operate as a team and are very professional. I knew by watching them enter the room that they had strict protocols on personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to interact with me.

Lesson 6: Join the team – Since the nurses and techs had to come in fairly regularly to check on me, bring meals, etc., we quickly reached an understanding on how we could help each other. In order to minimize the amount of PPE they had to use, I asked them to bring two cups of ice water every time they came in. This would last me four hours or so and meant they wouldn’t have to come in as often. Cooperate with your team – they are nice people!

As I began to feel better on Tuesday and Wednesday I started asking whether there were other Covid patients in the ICU. The nurse said my whole side of the ICU was Covid. I asked her how they were doing and that’s when I learned that despite the medical team’s best efforts, considerable skill and medical technology – their patients were dying from the virus.

Lesson 7: Be kind to your staff and be understanding of what they are going through – Imagine a job where you report for your shift and people are in various stages of dying. I began talking to the people that came in my room and asked how they were doing, thanked them for their help and praised them for being willing to endanger themselves to help their patients. Everyone likes to feel appreciated – and your staff needs to hear it. If you know a medical person that is dealing with Covid patients – please reach out to them and let them know you are thinking of them and admire what they are doing. We need them!

Each day I was reducing my need for supplemental oxygen and was getting close to my goal of eliminating it completely. Soon we started talking about me leaving the ICU and going to a regular room on the medical floor. This happened on Friday, 3/27. Even though I was still on supplemental O2, I was given a transfer to the medical floor. Nurse Katie came to help me move and there was also an assistant with a wheelchair. Katie asked me if I wanted to walk to the new room and I told her I would love to stretch my legs. As we were leaving, one of the key ICU doctors passed me and stopped Katie and the wheelchair lady to speak with them. He was speaking in low tones and at first I was worried he was getting on to them because I wasn’t in the wheelchair. But then I heard Katie tell him that he should tell me what he just said. The doctor came up to me and said that no one with the level of infection I had was still alive – and that of all the Covid patients they have treated, none had walked out of the ICU. I told him I was a testament to the great care I had received from him and his staff and North Fulton Hospital. My walk from the ICU to the medical floor was one of the best of my life!

Lesson 8: Be thankful you are alive – No explanation needed. When I got to my new room, I was shocked it had a window. In the ICU and in my new room, they had to make the room have negative pressure so when the door opened air came in instead of blowing the Covid virus out into the hall. To do this they took out a window, added strong cardboard and rigged it to have a blower shooting air out of the room to the outside. Since the ICU room only had one window, I had not seen the sky in almost a week. The medical floor rooms had two windows and I just sat down and stared out of the one that remained (there was even a hawk flying around). I was overwhelmed from just being able to see outside. I felt like a prisoner who had just been taken out of the hole and given a pardon forgiving my death sentence. It was a powerful moment.

Lesson 9: Take nothing for granted – There are still a lot of great things happening all around us – time with our families, texts with friends, walking your dog, drinking water with ice in it, looking at the sky. Every little moment is precious – enjoy it.

While on the medical floor I finally got off the supplemental oxygen and had to go through another round of medications before I could finally go home on Monday, 3/30. What a sweet ride! Heidi picked me up and took me home. Cruelly, I cannot be near her as I will still be contagious for about a week and have to wear a mask whenever I pass through a common area in our house. I catch a glimpse of her now and then – she’s a babe!

Lesson 10: Give back – I do not know exactly how I will exact revenge on Covid-19, but I will get it. For starters, I have written this account of my experience so that you know what to expect in case you contract the virus, to encourage you to do everything the CDC and other experts tell you to do to avoid it and maybe to scare straight those of you that have become complacent thinking this will not happen to you. It can – and you do not want anything to do with Covid-19 and you sure as hell don’t want to be responsible for giving it to someone else.

I have also heard that over the next few weeks I will begin to develop anti–bodies to the virus. I have also heard that there are studies underway to see if these anti–bodies can be used to treat those that have contracted Covid-19. I would love it if my anti–bodies could kill this damn virus in others. THAT would be sweet, sweet revenge.

Until I see you again – wash your hands, make the best of these crazy times and take care of yourselves. 

Love, Chip

= = = = =

And about that treatment that President Trump trumpeted:

Dr. Steven Smith: Hydroxychorloquinine Works; “This is the beginning of the end of coronavirus”

And in Geller Report:

“Dr. Stephen Smith then pointed out that not a single coronavirus patient under his care who was on the hydroxychloroquine regimen needed to be intibated.”

Are Slots Still Operating?

Got this idea that some establishments with liquor licenses might still have people playing their video poker machines even though the Illinois Gaming (Gambling) Board has ordered them to stop.

Wonder Lake slot machines.

So, I sent a Freedom of Information request to the Board asking for “documents that will show where establishments with slot machines (video poker machines or whatever you call them) have not followed the order to cease operation.

“If it would be easier to provide the numbers of non-compliant establishments by zip code, that would be acceptable.”

Since the machines are monitored to make sure the state gets its cut of the money gambled, I thought the request would be pretty easy to fulfill.

But, no.

Here’s the reply I received:

“The Gaming Board must extend its response by the statutorily allowed 5 business days under 5 ILCS 140/3 (e)(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v) and (vi). This extension does not waive the agency’s right to assert exemptions and the burdensomeness provisions of FOIA.”

Hard to figure out how the request would be burdensome, if a lot of people where not playing the slots.

Wilcox Reports on Small Business Support

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Small Business Assistance for Illinois

McHenry, IL. — Illinois small businesses are a critical part of our state economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 1.2 million small businesses in Illinois employing about 2.5 million people, or 45 percent of the state’s private workforce.

Here’s a helpful list of specialized services available now to help Illinois small businesses cope during this difficult economic time: 

Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

A new fund has been established to provide loans to Illinois businesses experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Applications are now available.

Learn more at this link: 
https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/IllinoisSmallBusinessEmergencyLoanFund.aspx

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Fund

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact small businesses in downstate Illinois, action has been taking to make $20 million available to provide working capital available to these businesses. Funds are now available for up to 60 days of verifiable working capital up to a grant ceiling of $25,000 for businesses that employ 50 people or less.

These funds may be used to assist private for-profit small retail and service businesses, or businesses considered non-essential by the Governor’s Executive Order without the ability for employees to work remotely.
 
Learn more at this link:
https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/CommunityInfrastructure/Pages/DownstateSmBizStabilizaition.aspx
 
Hospitality Emergency Grant Program 

A new program is now available to help hospitality businesses make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has launched the $14 million Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. Grants are available to support working capital and job training, retraining, and technology to support operational shifts, like increased pick-up and delivery.

Bars and restaurants that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000.  Hotels that generated less than $8M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.
 
Learn more at this link:
https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/EmergencySBAIntiatives.aspx
 
State Treasurer Bridge Loans 

Illinois small businesses can tap into $250 million in low-interest bridge loans as soon as this week to help push through the COVID-19 pandemic. The state treasurer’s office will make $250 million available to Illinois banks
and credit unions that wish to participate. The financial institutions will determine who is eligible for the loans.
 
More information is available at this link: 
https://illinoistreasurergovprod.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/twocms/media/doc/march2020_smallbizreliefprogr
am.pdf 

Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Loans

Illinois has been approved for disaster assistance loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration for small businesses facing challenges amid the growing health crisis.

Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans.  To apply online or to check your application status, visit: 

visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov  

For more business-related frequently asked questions visit:
 https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/coronavirus/FAQ/Pages/Business-FAQ.aspx
 
Tax Payments

The Illinois Department of Revenue will defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 bars and restaurants. Bars and restaurants that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or
interest on late payments due between March and May.

However, qualified taxpayers must still file their sales tax return even if they are unable to make a payment, and will be required to pay their sales tax liabilities in four installments beginning May 20.

More information is available here:
https://www2.illinois.gov/rev/research/publications/bulletins/Documents/2020/FY2020-23.pdf

Now 79 McHenry County Coronavirus Cases

There are now seventy-nine Covid-19 patients who have been diagnosed in McHenry County, the Health Department reports:

“As of April 1, 2020, there have been 79 identified cases of COVID-19 in McHenry County and 2 deaths.”

That’s up from sixty-five yesterday.

The Health Department still refuses to share with taxpayers where or if such cases are concentrated.

Meanwhile, in Lake County seventy-six new infections–“the largest increase in cases in a 24-hour period”–were identified and its Health Department released the following information:

“The Lake County Health Department is investigating 11 long-term care facilities in the county that have two or more confirmed cases. These 11 facilities have a combined total of 62 confirmed COVID-19 cases.”

CL Council Member Ralph Dawson, RIP

Ralph Dawson

I missed writing about the death of Crystal Lake City Councilman Ralph Dawson to months ago.

My bad.

Dawson was a genial man who knew how to connect to people and, as a public servant, cast thoughtful votes.

The one that comes to mind was his 2007 vote against zoning for a minor league baseball stadium at McHenry County College.

Had it been approved, MCC taxpayers would have been on the hook for a $25 million bond, a really flawed decision by the College Board.

His obituary is below, but one item that is not in it is that he was in the First Methodist Church Boy Scout Troop 158 as a youth.

He told me that after members of Troop 158 appeared before the council.

Here is his obituary:

Ralph M. Dawson of Crystal Lake, passed away on January 30, 2020 at Journey Care Hospice in Barrington with his family at his side. 

Ralph was born in Maywood Park, IL, to Jim and Angie Dawson on June 12, 1929.

The family moved to Crystal Lake when Ralph was 8 years old.

Though they lived across the street from Crystal Lake Community High School, Ralph was proud to be able to drive his Model A roadster to school.

He was suspended briefly after he and his friends drove a truck up the front steps of the high school.

After graduation, Ralph enlisted in the Navy and served on a heavy cruiser in the south Pacific during the Korean conflict.

When he was discharged, he continued sailing, working on merchant ships in all five of the Great Lakes.

He returned to Crystal Lake and hung out with his friends at Kiley Motors, where he met his future wife, Linda, who worked across the street at the National Tea grocery store.

The couple married in June 1959 at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Crystal Lake and their reception was held at the American Legion (now Hickory Hall).

Ralph started his own construction business and built and remodeled numerous homes and buildings in Crystal Lake, retiring from business in the 1990s.

He was a charter member of the Crystal Lake Snow Tigers, and served as president for several years. 

He and his family were avid snowmobilers and took many club trips, forming lasting friendships.

He also enjoyed traveling with his wife and the group from Home State Bank.

On one of these trips, when Ralph was in his 80s, he zip-lined in Costa Rica and did a Tarzan jump, putting some pressure on his much younger friend Steve to follow suit – which he did.

He later traveled to Panama to fulfill his wish to travel through the Panama Canal, as he was able to travel through the Suez Canal during his Navy service.

When Ralph retired from his construction business, he served on the city’s Economic Development Committee from 1997-1999.

In 1999, he was elected to the city council and served for the next 21 years, stepping down on Jan. 21, 2020.

Ralph was an integral part of the renovation and construction of the “new” city municipal building, and he was very instrumental in the planning and construction of the Three Oaks Recreation Area. 

Ralph visited the site daily with his faithful canine companion, Grady, and continued their daily walks there until recently.

Serving on the city council was a great honor for Ralph and he truly enjoyed the years spent working with the City of Crystal Lake staff and his council friends, as well as mayor Aaron Shepley. 

In addition to this legacy, he will be remembered for his love of chocolate!

Ralph is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Linda, and sons Scott (Cheryl) of Harvard and Kirk (Amie) of McHenry, along with grandchildren, Eric and Alec Dawson, Sophia and Spencer Bengtson and Weston Dawson. He is also survived by his brother, Jim Dawson, of Vermont and brother-in-law, Jim Jurns of Michigan and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Charmaine.

= = = = =

Dawson’s replacement will be selected at the next council meeting.

Will County Provides Coronavirus Map

Another suburban county has done what the McHenry County Health Department refuses to do:

Provide a map showing locations of Covid-19 infections.

Will County offers this explanation of its map:

“This GIS MAP is being shared to provide general locations in areas of the county. The dots were made large enough so as not to provide any identifiable specific locations.”

McHenry County has a Cracker Jack GIS Department.

It could do the same.

Kane County, according to the Tribune, “does not list the number of known infected people per community, but county officials said they are working on a way to report that.”

Lake County Health Department Answers Freedom of Information Request for Coronavirus by Zip Codes with Interactive Map

Here is the reply from the Lake County Department of Health sent after I filed an appeal of its denial of my request for Covid-19 infections by zip code to the Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau:

The link in the letter is to the following map, which is static below, but interactive at this link:

For towns with few infections, when one clicks on its image, one sees “<5.”

Estimates are given for other towns, e.g., Mundelein “5-9.”

McHenry County still shrouds its statics.

CL Methodist Church Relocates Food Distribution from Nunda to Algonquin Township

From First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake:

Friday Food Distribution is relocating

The Friday Food Truck has moved from the Nunda Township building to the Algonquin Township Highway Department building located at 3702 Northwest Hwy–east of Route 31 between Crystal Lake and Cary.

Algonquin Township Hall

Every Friday, anyone can receive boxes of food (non-perishable and fresh foods). 

In order to abide by safe social distances, boxes will be packed by volunteers according to each family’s needs. 

Distribution will begin at approximately from 1:30 p.m. and will continue until we’re out of food.

Last Friday 110 boxes of food were distributed.

Hospital Situation Included in Pritzker Press Release

From JB Pritzker:

Gov. Pritzker Announces Extension of Stay at Home Order, Suspension of On-Site Learning in Schools Through April

“I have let the science guide our decisions and I’ve relied upon the top medical experts, scientists, public health researchers, epidemiologists, mathematicians and modelers, from the greatest institutions in the world whose guidance on infection rates and potential mortalities and protective measures is second to none,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois has one of the strongest public health systems in the nation – but even so, we aren’t immune to this virus’ ability to push our existing capacity beyond its limit. We need to maintain our course and keep working to flatten the curve.”

“This may not be the measure that we like, but it is the measure we all need to combat the deadly and growing COVID-19 crisis,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “The City of Chicago fully supports Governor Pritzker’s bold and necessary extension of the Stay at Home Order, and stands ready to partner with the State and our health officials as we navigate the challenges that lie ahead in safeguarding our residents. We will get through this crisis together and I want to thank all those who have been doing their part.”

EXTENSION OF STAY AT HOME ORDER

On March 20, the Governor announced a Stay at Home order after consulting with medical experts, scientists, public health researchers, epidemiologists, mathematicians and modelers to understand the progression of COVID-19 and the measures needed to flatten the curve.
 
The extension of the Stay at Home order will continue to permit a range of essential activities that will allow Illinoisans to meet their necessities while maintaining social distance from others. Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other businesses providing services deemed essential will not close.
 
Staying at home and social distancing are the paramount strategies for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Every Illinoisan plays a role in ensuring our health care system remains fully operational to treat patients in need of urgent care.

As of March 30, preliminary reports from hospitals statewide show that 41 percent of our adult ICU beds are “empty”, which means they are staffed and ready for immediate patient use, a two-percentage point decrease in a week.

As far as ventilators, 68% are available statewide across Illinois, a four-percentage point drop in a week.

Statewide, about 35 percent of our total ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients and about 24 percent of our total ventilators are occupied by COVID patients.

The state remains within its capacity, and is working every day to increase its capacity to prepare for an anticipated surge in hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure. The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

SUSPENSION OF ON-SITE LEARNING

On March 13, the Governor announced a temporary statewide closure of all K-12 schools to minimize spread of COVID-19 across communities. Child care providers who have been licensed to operate to provide care to the children of essential workers will remain open.
 
Schools will transition from Act of God Days to Remote Learning Days, with days counting toward the school year. Each school district will create and implement a Remote Learning Day Plan to ensure all students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, receive instructional materials and can communicate with their teachers.
 
To prepare, the Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE) assembled an advisory group of more than 60 educators to make recommendations about instruction and grading during remote learning.

Schools can use up to five Remote Learning Planning Days at any time to prepare and refine their approaches to remote learning. Schools will design plans to minimize instructional loss and to provide opportunities for students’ academic, linguistic, and social-emotional growth.

Remote learning will look different for every district and every school. School districts will create plans based on their local resources and needs. Most districts will use a mix of digital and non-digital methods of engaging students in learning.

As a part of their recommendations, the advisory group recommended that grades be used only to increase students’ academic standing with a recommendation that any grades that schools give during this time be used as an opportunity for feedback and not an instrument for compliance.

ISBE will continue to work in partnership with school districts to address any questions and to provide guidance to educators and administrators to protect and support Illinois students.

Illinois schools have worked diligently to meet the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic with generosity, creativity, and a resolute focus on caring for students and communities. Schools across Illinois have shown remarkable agility in providing learning opportunities and meals throughout this crisis and will continue to work to address students’ needs.

“As we all come together to stay at home and out of harm’s way, we must never forget the selfless service of Illinoisans on the frontlines of this pandemic: our health care workers, first responders, grocery workers, child care providers, letter carriers, tradesmen and women, and so many more. They are going to work to serve and protect us, putting themselves and their families at great personal risk, because they have a job to do. Their sacrifices are real and meaningful, and we should all take time to think about them and thank them for keeping up the fight. We will all get through this together,” said Tim Drea, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO.

“I stand with the governor, in full partnership with his team, as we – the local elected officials from across our state – fully cooperate to administer the various compliance and enforcement components of your executive orders,” said Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League. “The faster we seriously comply with the executive orders, the faster we will be able to slow and stop the spread of this virus, and the faster we will then be able to turn-on the economic engines of Illinois communities, from small to large.”

Coronavirus Comparisons Between US and Europe

This comes from Gateway Pundit:

The US with an estimated population of 330 million was compared to the 336 million combined estimated population of Germany (81 million), France (66 million), the United Kingdom (65 million), Italy (61 million), Spain (46 million) and the Netherlands (17 million). Source: World Population Review.

The US has as of mid-day Tuesday has about 165,000 cases and 3,186 deaths.

The six most populous nations in Western Europe have about 345,000 cases and 26,394 deaths.

Trump instituted travel bans targeting most European nations in mid-March.

Western Europe broken down by country with population and cases rounded (source: Worldometer):

  • Germany (81 million) Cases 68,000 Deaths 682
  • France (66 million) 44,000 Deaths 3,024
  • United Kingdom (65 million) Cases 25,000 Deaths 1,789
  • Italy (61 million) Cases 102,000 Deaths 11,591
  • Spain (46 million) Cases 94,000 Deaths 8,269
  • Netherlands (17 million) Cases 12,000 Deaths 1,039

Another way of examining is by cases and deaths per million (via Worldometer).

US cases per million: 500 (five hundred per million). Deaths per million: 10 (ten per million).

  • Germany cases per million: 814. Deaths per million: 8.
  • France cases per million: 683. Deaths per million: 46.
  • United Kingdom: cases per million: 370. Deaths per million: 26.
  • Italy cases per million: 1,683. Deaths per million: 192.
  • Spain cases per million: 2,019. Deaths per million: 177.
  • Netherlands cases per million: 753. Deaths: 61.

= = = = =

The AP reports three nations, Italy, France and Spain, are not keeping track of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes, leading to an under count in those nation’s handling of the virus.

IL-14: Oberweis Asks State to Allow Medical Students to Assist in Coronavirus Treatment

From 14th District Republican congressional candidate Jim Oberweis:

Jim Oberweis: Illinois should follow Ohio’s lead and issue temporary licenses for medical students

Sugar Grove, IL – Health experts have all warned that the current coronavirus crisis is likely to get worse before it gets better which is why Jim Oberweis is urging Governor JB Pritzker to issue temporary licenses for medical students nearing completion of their programs.

“Right now, we have thousands of nursing students and MD students who are close to finishing their course work,” Oberweis said. “Why not provide these individuals with temporary licenses and put them to work in hospitals that could use some extra help during this crisis. Let’s get ahead of this before our hospitals are overwhelmed.”

The Ohio Legislature approved a measure allowing the Ohio Board of Nursing to issue temporary licenses to students to practice as a RN or LPN if they have completed a Board-approved nursing education program and have a completed criminal records check. According to media reports, anywhere from 4-5,000 nursing students could be eligible for the temporary licenses in Ohio.

Oberweis said Illinois should set similar criteria and issue temporary licenses to nurses and MD students to help alleviate medical staff shortages during this crisis. He suggested the State authorize some course credit or residency credits while these students are working in order to incentivize students to participate.

“We have an opportunity to be proactive and get ahead of what is coming and I suggest we take it,” Oberweis said. “There are potentially thousands of medical students at Illinois Universities that could help with this crisis, and they are in a low-risk age group. They get credit for their work and our hospitals get the staff help they need. It is a win-win.”