May 20, 2020

USA: Illinois Democrat Governor Covid19 Restrictions Will Stay In Place Indefinitely Or ‘Until We’re Able To Eradicate It’. Chicago Is "Deep In The Planning Stages" Of Mandatory Mass Vaccinations.

The Washington Times
written by Valerie Richardson
Sunday May 10, 2020

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker defended Sunday his cautious economic reopening plan, which leaves schools and many businesses shuttered until the novel coronavirus is all but defeated, saying the state will be unable to return to normal “until we’re able to eradicate it.”

“The truth is coronavirus is still out there. It hasn’t gone anywhere,” Mr. Pritzker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “So we all are going to have to change the way we do things until we’re able to eradicate it.”

The Democratic governor unveiled Wednesday his “Restore Illinois” five-phase reopening plan, prompting allegations that he had moved the goal from “bending the curve” to eliminating COVID-19 altogether by requiring a cure or vaccine before allowing the return of schools and non-essential businesses.

In a staff editorial, the Chicago Tribune called his plan “cautious in the extreme,” noting that it bans reopening schools, barbershops, salons, gyms, bars and restaurants—and then with capacity restrictions — only after the advent of a vaccine, herd immunity, or an “effectively and widely available treatment.”

“Actually, he’s being more than just cautious. He has moved the goal posts,” said the editorial. “Pritzker’s latest plan extends the benchmarks for victory from bending the infection curve to defeating the virus altogether.”

Mr. Pritzker swung back by arguing, “If the Chicago Tribune thinks we can go back to completely normal without us having a very effective treatment or vaccine, they’re just dead wrong.”

The governor has also come under fire from Republican legislators who have accused him of governing via emergency executive orders, instead of the involving the state legislature.

He noted that the state recently reopened state parks and some golf courses with face-mask and social-distancing requirements.

“Assuming maybe we never get a vaccine, we’re going to have to deal with hopefully a treatment that will come along that will be very effective,” Mr. Pritzker said. “Even without that, everyone will have to wear a mask. We’re still going to have to socially distance.”
The governor also pointed to the state’s progress, saying that new hospitalizations have flattened and that Illinois ranks second among the 10 most populous states in testing and recently exceeded 20,000 coronavirus tests per day.

“We put in a mask order that everybody across the state has to wear a face covering when they’re in public,” said Mr. Pritzker. “So, we have done a lot to make sure that we’re keeping these numbers moving in the right direction. And we will not reopen unless we meet all of the standards that I have set for doing so.”
Chicago Tribune
written by Joe Mahr
Friday May 15, 2020

In the past week, Illinois recorded an additional 422 coronavirus deaths tied to long-term care facilities, bringing the tally of such deaths to nearly 2,000 since the pandemic began, according to state data.

The latest data, released Friday shows the most recent number of weekly deaths was lower for the first time, with 471 deaths of residents and staff recorded a week before. But it appears the state, without notice, tightened the criteria for what counts as a coronavirus case in the figures, making it difficult to compare the latest figures with past weeks.

The latest figures — even with the tighter reporting criteria — reinforce how entrenched the virus has become in long-term care facilities: still accounting for nearly half the state’s deaths.

The weekly data release comes amid increasing calls for the Pritzker administration to do more to lower the virus’s spread among a population considered the most vulnerable, even as Illinois expands previously scarce testing for residents and staff at the roughly 1,200 facilities across the state.

There are now at least 16 facilities with at least 20 deaths, and, for the first time, one is downstate: The Villa East in Sangamon County, with 20 deaths.

But metro Chicago facilities continue to post the worst numbers, led by Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook and Center Home for Hispanic Elderly, each with 26 deaths. They are followed by Glenview Terrace and Symphony of Joliet (25) and Elevate Care Chicago North, Villa at Windsor Park, Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion and Manorcare Hinsdale (24).

Meadowbrook Manor had previously released a statement addressing the high toll, blaming it on the virus’s ability to infect people without causing symptoms, allowing its spread. While noting most residents were safe, facility officials said they take “each loss to heart.”

The death tally at long-term care facilities has continued to account for a greater share of Illinois deaths as the pandemic has lingered. When figures were first released April 17, those deaths were 25% of all those recorded in Illinois at the time. By last week, they’d grown to 48%, and now account for 49% of all deaths, as of Friday.

As for confirmed cases, the Chicago area — which has had much of the boosted testing — also leads the rest of the state, according to the state’s updated online list.

The most cases ― 268 — have been recorded at the Elisabeth Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest, a sprawling state-run facility for adults with developmental disabilities. It’s followed by 242 cases at City View Multi-Care Center in Cicero, which has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Cicero officials alleging health directives weren’t being followed.

Behind them are Woodbridge Nursing Pavillion, with 204 cases, Meadowbrook Manor of Bolingbrook, with 184 cases, and Symphony at Midway and Symphony of Morgan Park, both with 177 cases

The state cautions the data may not be up to date or complete. A previous Tribune investigation showed the challenges in collecting data in real time.

In its latest installment of data, the state — for reasons not explained on its website — changed the criteria for how it counts cases.

In the prior week, the state health department stated that it counted not only lab-confirmed cases, but also ones “meeting the CDC outbreak case definition (clinically compatible and epidemiological linked with or without a confirmed test).” Friday’s release states the figures include only lab-confirmed cases, leaving out other cases not formally confirmed by a lab.

That left some facilities, from one week to the next, actually seeing their cumulative pandemic counts drop. For example, in the prior week, Bickford of Aurora, in Kane County, was reported to have had 35 cases so far that led to eight deaths. But on Friday, the state reported the same facility had just 28 cases to date, with just seven deaths.

The facility was among seven that saw cumulative death counts drop from one week to the next, and among 70 that saw case counts drop, under the tightened criteria. That included three places in McHenry County that saw the biggest drops: The Fountains at Crystal Lake, from 67 to 35; Alden Terrace of McHenry, from 123 to 60; and Sheltered Village, from 121 to 41.

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