As coronavirus numbers continue to steadily rise in Illinois, state health officials on Friday said 20 counties are now considered at a warning level for COVID-19, and that cases of the virus connected to schools are beginning to be reported.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health acknowledged Friday that the agency did not investigate nursing home complaints of neglect and abuse for nearly 3½ months during the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement came a month after the the agency fire the state’s top nursing home regulator without explanation and disciplined another.
Here’s what’s happening this weekend with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:
6:35 p.m.: House approves bill to reverse USPS changes, send $25 billion to boost agency ahead of election
With heated debate over mail delays, the House approved legislation in a rare Saturday session that would reverse recent changes in U.S. Postal Service operations and send $25 billion to shore up the agency ahead of the November election.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi had recalled lawmakers to Washington over objections from Republicans who dismissed the action as a stunt. President Donald Trump railed against mail-in ballots, including in a Saturday tweet, and urged a no vote. He has said he wants to block extra funds for the Postal Service.
“Don’t pay any attention to what the president is saying, because it is all designed to suppress the vote,” Pelosi said at the Capitol.
Pelosi called the Postal Service the nation’s “beautiful thread” connecting Americans and said voters should “ignore” the president’s threats.
The daylong session came as an uproar over mail disruptions puts the Postal Service at the center of the nation’s tumultuous election year, with Americans rallying around one of the nation’s oldest and more popular institutions. Millions of people are expected to opt for mail-in ballots to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.
12:45p.m.: 17 additional deaths and 2,356 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday
Illinois health officials on Saturday announced 2,356 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 17 additional fatalities and the statewide death toll to 7,874 since the start of the pandemic.
Officials reported 56,766 new tests in the last 24 hours. That total represents another statewide testing record. The statewide seven-day positivity rate stands at 4.3%.
12:30 p.m.: Naperville reports bumps in cases, hospitalizations
Naperville had 198 active cases of COVID-19 on Aug. 19, the highest number reported since the pandemic started in March, according to data on the city’s coronavirus dashboard.
The number eclipsed the record 164 active cases registered on May 24 and had remained below that number until this month, data shows. The low point was June 28, when there were just 47 known active cases.
Since then, however, the active case numbers have been going back up, breaking the record on Aug. 14 when there were 177 cases and topping it again two days later with 198, data shows.
Active cases are those in which the person has had the virus for 14 days or less, meaning they are believed to be infectious and able to pass it to others, according to the dashboard.
The number of patients being treated for the virus at Edward Hospital in Naperville has also been slowly creeping back up. After having just four people hospitalized for treatment on July 27, the number was 14 on Aug. 21, the hospital reported.
According to the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, DuPage County is seeing a 4.4% test positivity rate and Will County is seeing 7.1% test positivity.
How Notre Dame could be a cautionary tale for other college campuses trying to reopen
As the university outside South Bend, Indiana, scrambled to shift classes online for at least two weeks in an effort to salvage in-person learning this semester, its predicament could be a cautionary tale for other colleges inviting students back this fall. Read more here.
An effective COVID-19 vaccine is the great hope. How do we get there?
As COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, much attention is focused on one great hope: a safe, effective and widely available vaccine that would allow people to again embrace friends, go back to work and ditch that lurking feeling of dread. Getting there won’t be simple. Read more here.
A COVID-19 vaccine still hasn’t emerged — but some are already wary of it
As scientists across the globe race to create a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe and effective, the American public appears sharply divided when it comes to the prospect of getting vaccinated against the new virus, which has so far infected roughly 5.5 million and killed more than 172,000 in the United States. Read more here.
Is Chicago tourism done until 2021?
Chicago’s tourism season may wrap up early as hotels and some city attractions, struggling with fewer visitors and revenue losses, consider shutting down for the remainder of the year. Read more here.
CPS fall plan includes full days of remote and live learning, but prompts CTU grievance
Chicago Public Schools had barely released its fall remote learning plan when the Chicago Teachers Union announced it had filed grievance over the guidance that union President Jesse Sharkey said was made “without imagination or input from teachers.” Read more here.
Back to school: Here’s what some kids are saying
As Chicago’s youths prepare for the upcoming school year, the Tribune asked students of all ages, from across the city and suburbs, how they’re feeling. Here’s what they said.