County COVID-19 vaccinations open to lower age group with underlying conditions

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Expands Phase 1B COVID Vaccinations to Include Persons Age 65-74 with Underlying Health Conditions.

Next week’s clinics will serve anyone 75 years of age or older that did not previously receive a vaccine plus is expanding to include individuals age 65-74 with underlying health conditions – cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart disease, obesity, sickle cell disease, diabetes, smoking, and immune-compromised due to organ transplant.

University of Illinois COVID-19 complaints and social media reveal how widespread violations were

A review of more than 400 complaints about partying and public health violations, multiple disciplinary actions and partial lockdowns at apartment complexes show the impact of the partying and social gathering was far wider than previously recognized.

While many students obeyed guidelines that included wearing masks and social distancing, a significant number of students held or attended large parties and social gatherings at Greek houses, dorms and apartments.

Public records show that four fraternities and one sorority have been disciplined and more than 1,000 students were disciplined.

Health data shows private homes, restaurants and bars, and hospitals and clinics are top sources of new infections

Outside of private homes, bars and restaurants have been the largest source of COVID-19 exposures among cases in Champaign County, according to data from the health district.

In November and thus far in December, hospitals or clinics were the top source of COVID-19 exposure. The health district’s graphic shows 26% of reported COVID-19 cases – or 23 cases – within Champaign County were tied to a hospital or clinic in December. There were 112 cases tied to a hospital or clinic in November.

Public health officials say Champaign County is at a “critical juncture” in the pandemic

On Monday, Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department Administrator Julie Pryde, joined by officials from Carle Foundation Hospital and OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, warned that hospitals are approaching capacity.

The officials said that Region 6 — which covers 21 counties in east-central Illinois including Champaign County — has only 29% of its Intensive Care Unit capacity and 29% of its hospital bed capacity remaining as virus cases surged.

COVID-19 Testing Accessibility: Disparities, Barriers and Plans For Future

There has been concern nationally about the ability of people of color to get tested for COVID-19, especially because they have been identified as more vulnerable to the virus.

Melaney Arnold, public health information officer at the Illinois Department of Public Health, wrote in an email, “The data show Black and Hispanic populations are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

Calculation of COVID-19 positivity rate by university produces lower numbers than state

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s revised calculation of the campus positivity rate of COVID-19 has potentially lowered the rate substantially by reducing the number of reported positive tests.

Epidemiologists say the more accurate way to calculate positivity would be to divide unique positive tests by unique total tests, but that information is not always available.

U of I COVID-19 cases surge as total cases surpass 3,000

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reported 3,421 cases since students began returning to campus on August 15 despite university researchers predicting only 700 Covid-19 cases on campus by Thanksgiving.

Beds in emergency hallways perilous during pandemic, experts say

Carle Foundation Hospital is routinely treating people in beds in the hallways of the emergency room at its Urbana facility on University Avenue, although the practice has come under criticism by health experts.

The practice is generally done because a hospital is at overcapacity and does not have room for patients and is known as “boarding.” Boarding has been criticized because negative effects can include death, preventable disability, prolonged hospital stays and general discomfort.