More than 20,000 university students may return from zip codes with higher positivity rates for COVID-19

Champaign County has had about 2 percent of those tested for the virus receive positive results, which means the person should self-quarantine for 14 days.

But a comparison of state public health test data on August 3 and ZIP code data for students who attended the University in the last academic year shows that 20,000 out of 28,000 students from Illinois may arrive from ZIP codes with positive percentages above 5 percent, according to a review of the data by CU-CitizenAccess.org.

Many returning university students may come from high-risk states for COVID-19

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in January, Champaign County – home to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and about 50,000 faculty, students and staff – has experienced a low number of positive cases when compared to many other areas of the state and the U.S.

A comparison of university data on where out-of-state students are from as of the last school year and data on the positivity rates in those states show as many as 5,000 students may be arriving from 32 states that have positivity rates higher than 5 percent, according to a review of the data by CU-CitizenAccess.org

Six years and Tuscola residents still waiting on Cronus fertilizer plant

In 2014, in the midst of a gubernatorial election, the construction of a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in Tuscola was announced with much fanfare and the promise of state subsidies.

Eight years later, no piece of dirt has been overturned since former Gov. Quinn poked a shovel into an open field in a symbolic groundbreaking.

Now Tuscola officials say the outbreak of coronavirus will add to the long delays.

Champaign County jail bookings show racial disparity over eight years

Black persons were booked at the Champaign County jail at least one and half times more than white persons over an eight-year period, according to a review of jail data by CU-CitizenAccess.org.

The jail system has been criticized for shortcomings in health care and infrastructure over the past decade. The latest plan to consolidate the two facilities, estimated to cost between $42 and $52 million and is still being discussed by the county board.

There were a total of 49,535 jail bookings from January 1, 2012 to March 11, 2020 – specific bookings, not individual persons booked.

COVID-19 testing data shows high recovery rate, weekly increase in testing

By the end of June Champaign County had conducted more than 33,000 COVID-19 tests, according to data from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

A review of the data saw the number of daily tests increasing dramatically while showing that Champaign County has had a relatively low positive rate (2.5%) with 723 cases out of 29508 tests (May to June).

It also showed a high “recovered” rate, but the term “recovered’ can be misleading. In Illinois, the definition of recovered means that an infected person has not died within 42 days of being diagnosed. The rate was 93 percent (May to June).

C-U Health District focusing on prevention efforts, contact tracing in Phase Four

Julie Pryde, administrator for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, said the state will continue in Phase Four now until the pandemic ends, meaning masks and six-feet social distancing are still recommended and required in public spaces.

The health district is in the process of hiring more contact tracers, for example. About 30 contact tracers work there now to track the persons with whom an infected person has had potential contact with.

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.

Citizens Utility Board issues scam warning

The Illinois Citizens Utility Board has warned of several scams that take advantage of utility consumers. Among the scams the board noted in a June 30 email to consumers was a maintenance plan, where water companies offer a protection plan to people that is often expensive and frequently goes unused.

The board was created by state law in 1984 to advocate for Illinoisans in dealing with utility companies, and its website said it has saved the state’s residents $20 billion by stopping rate increases. The group is not affiliated with a political party, but was created by an Illinois law.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District warns of foodborne outbreak

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) notified the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) of a “multi-state outbreak” of an intestinal illness known as cyclosporiasis. According to the press release, it is believed that the outbreak to be linked to packaged garden salad, and there are six cases of the illness in Champaign County as of July 1.

Fresh Express issued a recall for the products on June 27, 2020. The recalled food products were made in a production facility in Streamwood, Illinois. This factory was also linked to over 500 cases in 2018, and infections were traced to McDonald’s restaurants in several states.

Trending Topics: Chambana talks about protests, fireworks, giveaways

Among the most trending topics on Facebook and Twitter in late June were peaceful protests, a give away of seven $50 gift cards to local restaurants and fireworks concerns all around Champaign-Urbana almost a month before the 4th of July.