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 makes cuts to student services at off-campus community living office

At a time when students are struggling with leases, lockdowns, and landlords, the University’s Off-Campus Community Living Office has cut services and made major changes in its office.

Among the cuts have been the elimination of the online service known as the “Housing Explorer,” which allowed students with information on rental properties in the Champaign-Urbana and to complain about landlords who provided poor housing.

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.

First COVID patient in Champaign County survived the virus and an unsure medical community

One of Gail Rogers’ most vivid memories while in intensive care for COVID-19 was the doctors who would not come in her room, but instead peered at her through the inside window and gave her a thumbs up sign.

As Champaign County’s first COVID-19 patient, the 52-year-old lawyer also remembers how unprepared the health profession was for the virus in March of this year, despite five weeks’ warning.

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.

Gunfire incidents get closer to home for Holiday Park neighborhood

Residents of the Holiday Park neighborhood in west Champaign have been experiencing an increase in gun incidents, and residents say sounds of gunfire is now a ‘normality’ for this area.

According to Tom Yelich, public information officer at the Champaign Police Department, there have been 174 shooting incidents as of November 23. This number is the highest the city has seen in the last five years.

Small Business Incentive Program relief grants provides ‘much needed’ financial assistance

Forty-eight out of approximately 90 small businesses in Champaign received a total of $520,000 in grants from the Small Business Incentive Program COVID Relief Grants.

The money for these grants came from the Federal CARES Act fund. The city council amended the pre-existing Small Business Incentive Program so that the program could be used to distribute this new funding in an efficient and productive way.

Champaign County rail systems see frequent transport of hazardous materials

Approximately 107 trains, often carrying hazardous materials, pass through Champaign County’s 225 miles of active rail lines each day. Freight traffic accounts for about 101 of these trains.

According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, there have been 195 hazardous materials incident reports filed since 2010, with the majority of them being spills or leaks on local roads and streets, as well as some interstate highways.

Champaign Park District sells off annual flowers due to COVID-19

The Champaign Park District is well known for their spring and summer planting of beds of flowers across various parks in the Champaign County area.

But this year, the district was unable to plant flowers due to staff shortages caused by the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the flowers to be sold at flower sales instead.