Reports on “recovered” Covid-19 cases inconsistent and incomplete. Numbers elusive and may mislead on real medical impact of virus

As Covid-19 surges again in the U.S., the high percentage of “recovered” cases might be cited as a sign that a vast majority of those infected quickly rid themselves of the virus.

But the “recovered” statistics are incomplete, inconsistent and call into question the accuracy of any total number of recovered cases, according to a review of 50 state public health sites by the Midwest Center for Investigative reporting.

Small Business Administration announces grants for civil unrest damages

Champaign County businesses that suffered damage from looting may eventually be included in funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA), a spokesperson said last week.

John Dwyer of the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency, said in a phone call that over 50 businesses were affected by looting. The SBA announced in an email on June 26 it would be providing grants to Illinois businesses affected by civil unrest between May 26 and June 8.

Urbana Park District board seeks to improve diversity on advisory board

In an effort to increase the diversity of its advisory committee, the Urbana Park District Board is focusing its recruitment efforts on areas north of University Avenue as well as other areas north of Interstate 74.

The Urbana Park District Advisory Committee currently has five vacancies.

New Illinois cannabis law presents challenges for medical patients

Flaws in the Illinois state legislature’s bill to legalize cannabis for recreational use has led to statewide shortages in the product, particularly for the nearly 100,000 registered medical cannabis patients, according to a review of state documents and interviews with those in the industry. Indeed, since the medical cannabis program launched in Illinois in 2014, complaints filed by medical patients against dispensaries in the state have soared, as 102 out of all 267 complaints were filed in 2020 alone. 

David Kurfman is a registered Illinois cannabis patient from Mount Sterling, who has been using the plant to treat his epilepsy since 2015. He believes the state has not done enough to protect its medical cannabis patients during a time when there is higher demand than supply can adequately meet. “It’s been dismal for medical patients,” Kurfman said. “Patients cannot consistently find the specific products that they need for their various conditions.”

The new law, which was passed by the legislature in May 2019, took effect on January 1, 2020.

Most Illinois county jail facilities lacked isolation cells for disease, documents show

As the coronavirus outbreak hit Illinois, many county jails lacked a standard cell needed to isolate infected inmates who had a respiratory illness, according to a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting of annual jail inspections.

The Covid-19 outbreak at the Cook County Jail and other metropolitan jails across the country has received wide attention, but jails in downstate Illinois have come under little scrutiny. In addition, officials at many jails contacted by telephone by the CU-CitizenAccess and the Midwest Center about their efforts to combat the virus did not return calls, abruptly hung up, or told reporters to call later with no additional information given.

Twin city employees see big difference in pay

The median total compensation for Urbana employees in Fiscal Year 2018-2019 is $70,739. However, the median total compensation for Champaign city employees in the same year is $114,323. In total, 21 employees in Champaign received total compensations over $200,000, while no employee in Urbana exceeded that amount.

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.

Informants, guns and travel: Seized funds free police to spend on wide range of items

Under state and federal laws known as civil asset forfeiture, police departments may seize property – such as cars and cash – they believe is used in criminal activity. The owners of the property may never themselves be charged with a crime and getting property back could take years and involve costly attorney fees.

In some cases, the funds from seizures are substantial, especially in small urban cities in central Illinois. The City of Champaign, for example, which took in at least $1.17 million in forfeiture funds between 2014 and mid-2019, spent at least $7,000 at restaurants such as Hooters, Arby’s and In-N-Out Burgers and utility/internet usage charges from July 2017 to August 2018.

Robin Kelly’s campaign targeting fundraising for 2020 cycle

In the 2018 election cycle, Congresswoman Robin Kelly spent $879,435 in total – one of the lowest amounts spent – defeating David Merkle by 183,816 to 43,875 in votes.

Kelly’s largest expense was for her fundraising consultant Lauren Cvengros, through LBH Chicago, which cost $252,911. Although the 2020 cycle is not yet complete, Kelly has only spent $211,387 in total. Her greatest expense was again for her fundraising consultant, Cvengros, which cost $73,681.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger targeted media buys in 2018

Republican representative Adam Kinzinger poured over one-fourth of his $2.5 million-plus campaign budget into media production and buys during the 2017-2018 election cycle.

However, since his first congressional campaign during the 2009-2010 election cycle, Kinzinger has traditionally spent the most money on media production and buys, which is purchased airtime that can be used to run political advertisements.