Chicago Teachers Union rank-and-file members will now vote on a proposal to resume in-person learning at Chicago Public Schools, taking another step toward a resolution to weekslong negotiations over safely reopening schools.
Meanwhile, a northwest Indiana couple is speaking out after their 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with the rare inflammatory condition that has been linked to COVID-19 cases in children.
Here are the latest COVID-19 headlines from around the state:
2,082 New Cases, 20 Deaths, 58K Vaccinations Reported Tuesday
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported just over 2,000 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, with 20 additional deaths attributed to the virus and more than 58,000 doses of the vaccine administered the day before.
According to the latest IDPH data, 2,082 cases have been reported over the last 24 hours. Those new cases bring the statewide total to 1,150,170 since the pandemic began.
The 20 additional deaths bring the state to 19,686 deaths during the pandemic.
In the last 24 hours, state laboratories have received 55,705 new specimens for testing. The state’s seven-day rolling positivity rate for all COVID tests stayed at 3.3%, the same from the day before, while the positivity rate on individuals tested dropped slightly to 4% from 4.1% the day before.
There are currently 2,117 individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Illinois, with 497 of those patients in intensive care units and 240 patients currently on ventilators.
According to IDPH data, a total of 1,638,125 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois and Chicago, with another 496,100 doses allocated to the federal government’s program to aid long-term care facilities in vaccinating staff and patients. That brings the total number of doses sent to Illinois to 2,134,225.
Of those doses, 1,417,156 have been administered statewide, including 216,522 at long-term care facilities. Tuesday saw 58,189 doses administered, IDPH said, noting that that figure was nearly twice what it was one week earlier.
Chicago Travel Order Updated: 46 States Now on List Requiring Quarantine or Negative Test
Chicago updated its emergency travel order on Tuesday, now including 46 U.S. states and one territory in the orange tier that requires either a 10-day quarantine or negative COVID-19 test before arrival in the city.
Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and Puerto Rico were moved to the yellow tier Tuesday, which does not require quarantine or a pre-arrival coronavirus test but remains under an advisory to avoid non-essential travel, the Chicago Department of Public Health said.
All 46 other states and the District of Columbia remain in the orange tier. Updates to the order are issued every other Tuesday and take effect the following Friday.
"Though the Chicago case numbers have dropped of late, this is not a time to let our guard down," CDPH said in a statement. "To maintain the current trajectory, we must double down on what we know prevents COVID spread. This includes wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands and staying at home as much as you can. Chicago residents are strongly advised to cancel non-essential travel."
Walgreens, Uber Partner to Offer Free Rides to COVID Vaccine Appointments
Walgreens and Uber Technologies are joining together in a new partnership to give free rides to coronavirus vaccine appointments in underserved communities, the Illinois-based pharmacy chain announced Tuesday.
The new initiative will roll out over the coming months with pilot programs launching in several U.S. cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and El Paso.
Though no exact dates were given, the companies said they plan to offer free transportation to Walgreens stores and vaccine clinics.
Patients who make an appointment will receive an email "extending the offer to schedule a ride."
Read more here.
CTU Members to Vote on In-Person Learning Proposal
The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates has voted to send a proposal on resuming in-person learning at Chicago Public Schools to its rank-and-file membership for a vote, taking another step toward breaking a negotiating impasse that has gone on for several weeks.
The vote comes after CPS officials said that the two sides had reached a tentative agreement on a return to in-person learning over the weekend.
The CTU, who has said that there is no “tentative agreement” with CPS since membership has yet to vote on the issue, emphasized that again Monday evening, confirming that the House of Delegates had indeed voted to send the measure to rank-and-file members, but not that the HOD had “tentatively accepted” the proposal.
The union also announced the results of a "no-confidence" vote in the leadership of Lightfoot and CPS, with 90% of delegates voicing their opposition to the mayor's leadership:
The deal, if approved by the more than 25,000 members of the CTU, would have kids in pre-K and cluster learning classes back in classrooms by Thursday. Children in kindergarten through fifth grade would return March 1, while children in sixth through eighth grade would return on March 8 as part of a staggered return schedule.
Teachers and staff would be eligible to receive additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine earmarked for the union through the new proposal. New procedures for shutting down classrooms, or even the entire CPS, to in-person learning are also part of the proposal, along with enhanced contact tracing and other safety measures.
Chicago May Increase Indoor Dining Capacity in Time for Valentine's Day Weekend
Calling Valentine's Day weekend "one of the few bright spots for the restaurant industry," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot revealed Monday the city is considering expanding indoor dining capacity with the holiday weekend around the corner.
The city entered Phase 4 of Illinois' coronavirus mitigations on Sunday, Jan. 31, which according to state guidelines, permitted indoor dining capacity to increase. Even as restrictions were relaxed overall, Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health decided not to increase the capacity limit, which remains the lesser of 25% or 25 persons per room.
Explaining their decision, health officials said it is "standard public health practice" to monitor the impact of any significant mitigation change for a minimum of two weeks.
Sunday, Feb. 14 marks two weeks since Chicago entered Phase 4 mitigations. Partial indoor dining resumed in the city on Jan. 23, when the city reached the threshold to move under Tier 1 restrictions.
Family of 5-Year-Old Indiana Girl Issues Warning After Hospitalization for Inflammatory Syndrome Linked to COVID-19
A northwest Indiana couple is speaking out after their 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with the rare inflammatory condition that has been linked to COVID-19 cases in children.
Over the course of five days, Advocate Health Care said Oshunda and Johnathan Johnson of Portage, Indiana, watched as their daughter Janiya, who is normally extroverted and silly, got "sicker and sicker."
"She's pretty much the life of the family," Johnathan Johnson said. "She's the party folk."
The parents said Janiya was vomiting, feverish and exhausted as she experienced stomach pain and refused to eat.
Advocate Health said the couple took Janiya to the doctor and urgent care multiple times but it wasn't until St. Mary's Hospital in Hobart did blood work that they realized her kidneys and liver were failing.
Janiya was then admitted in critical condition to Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn, where she was diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, also known as MIS-C.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says MIS-C is condition related to COVID-19 where children's organs or body parts can become inflamed, like the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.
Illinois Reports 1,747 New Coronavirus Cases, 35 Deaths, 16K Vaccinations Monday
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported just over 1,700 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Monday, with 35 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to the latest IDPH data, 1,747 cases have been reported over the last 24 hours. Those new cases bring the statewide total to 1,148,088 since the pandemic began.
The 35 additional deaths bring the state to 19,668 deaths during the pandemic.
The state’s seven-day rolling positivity rate for all COVID tests dropped to 3.3%, while the positivity rate on individuals tested held steady at 4.1% over the last seven days.
As of Monday, 1,358,967 have been administered statewide during the pandemic. On Sunday alone, 16,110 doses were administered.
Read more here.
Lake County Reports First Case of COVID-19 Variant
The first case of the COVID-19 variant was identified in Lake County, health officials announced Saturday.
The Lake County Health Department reported the first case of the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which is the strain more commonly circulating the U.K. in recent months.
The individual infected with the variant had traveled internationally and was in contact with a sick person before leaving to return back to the U.S. in late December, health officials said.
According to the department, the individual did not experience any symptoms of the coronavirus.
“We expect to see more cases of these new variants in Lake County as they seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants,” Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist for LCHD, said. “It is extremely important that you follow quarantine recommendations and get tested if you have traveled or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19."
Health officials reminded that studies suggest the currently available COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the new strains.
For more on the new coronavirus strain, click here.
Kroger to Pay Workers $100 to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine
Kroger is offering a $100 incentive for employees who receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to encourage associates to become vaccinated, the Cincinnati-based grocery retailer announced Friday.
The vaccine payment will be offered to all associates who present proof of vaccination to their human resources representative, according to a news release from the company.
Employees who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons will have the option of completing an educational health and safety course to receive the payment.
The company also announced an additional $50 million investment to thank and reward employees, including a $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates.
Chicago-area grocer Mariano's is a subsidiary of Kroger.
For a complete look at ways you can make an appointment or where you can receive vaccine information for your area, click here.