Public lab testing of coronavirus faced weeks of delays; number of tests conducted locally unknown

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District started preparing for the coronavirus outbreak in January of this year, but no testing for the disease locally began until the first week of March, according to interviews with health officials.And, as of Saturday, March 28, 15 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and only 132 tests had been submitted to state testing labs for Champaign County residents, which has a population of 209,000. It is unclear if all test results have been returned because it can take days for state lab results to be sent back to the healthcare institution that submitted the test. It is unknown how many private tests are administered or coming back negative because the public health department, like many other Central Illinois county health departments, does not track private tests, and hospitals are not disclosing the information. But more tests and broader knowledge of testing and results can help give a fuller picture of the disease, said Enbal Shacham, director of the Public Health Studies Doctoral Program at St. Louis University. 

“We do not know how many cases are occurring, only those that have distinct, extreme symptoms; some locations are still only letting people who traveled/or interacted with someone who traveled to  get a test,” Shacham said in an email.

I had COVID-19 and here is my story

Elizabeth Schneider is a marketing program manager at NanoString Technologies and is based in Seattle, Washington. This is a republication of her Facebook post on March 8, 2020. 

I had COVID-19 and here is my story. I made this post public out of several requests from my friends who asked me to share. I hope it gives you some good information and peace of mind! First how easily you can get it.

In-Town residents successfully alter zoning regulations

Residents of In-Town, a part of Champaign that prides itself on its vibrant diversity,
rallied together against possible zoning developments last fall.
nearly two years of meetings and advocacy, the residents, specifically the
members of both the Old Town and Washington St. Neighborhood Associations,
successfully negotiated a set of conditions with the City Council that new
developers must abide by when building in the In-Town District of Champaign.

Urbana schools attempt equitable discipline

Despite continuous coverage of misbehavior in Urbana School District 116, there have been overall disciplinary improvements, parents said.

Zoning debate leaves Clark Park homes at risk

From all corners of her home’s basement in Clark Park, Amy Thoren combats flooding with four active water pumps. If rainfall or drainage issues become more prevalent, Thoren may have to rely on her fifth pump in the years to come. “It’s like the Mississippi in here,” Thoren said, describing her basement’s condition during heavy rainfall. “The whole house shakes from the pumps, and you can hear the water flowing like a waterfall.”

In January 2018, the city delayed the zoning vote on increasing floor-area ratio, FAR, for areas like Clark Park. It currently sits at .35, but was proposed to rise to .50, meaning more of a house’s lot can be covered with parts of the home.

Data shows wide variations in access to abortion clinics nationwide

With the fewest abortion providers in the U.S. and the highest number of restrictive policies enacted since it became legal, U.S. women’s access to abortion is becoming increasingly limited. The abortion rate in the U.S. has been constantly declining for the past three decades and it’s now in a record low, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women and it has fallen from 29.3 women in 1981 to 11.8 women in 2015. See all stories: 

llinois provides abortion “oasis” to those seeking services

Data shows wide variations access to abortion clinics nationwide

While abortion clinics diminish, crisis pregnancy centers flourish

In their own words: Three stories of abortion

CDC data show that the peak number of abortions took place in 1990, with almost 1.43 million. The most recent abortion surveillance report indicates that there were 638,169 in 2015, less than half than in 1990.

While abortion clinics diminish, crisis pregnancy centers flourish

While the state of Illinois is often called an abortion “oasis” in the Midwest because of easier access to abortions than neighboring states, there are 86 crisis pregnancy centers – known as CPCs – compared with 25 abortion clinics in Illinois. Champaign has two of those centers.

Illinois provides abortion ‘oasis’ to those seeking services

As some of its neighboring states have enacted laws restricting abortion access and more clinics have been closing their doors, Illinois is now more than ever an abortion “oasis” in the Midwest.

Indeed, data from the Illinois Department of Public Health show that the percentage of women from out of state who seek abortions has more than doubled since 2010.