Officials reported 58,820 new tests in the last 24 hours, as the state surpasses 6 million total COVID-19 tests. The seven-day statewide positivity rate is 3.5%.
The new statewide numbers come as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that the gains that most regions in Illinois had been making in bringing down COVID-19 positivity rates in recent weeks have “cooled off a bit.” The governor noted specifically that the northeastern region that includes Lake and McHenry counties has seen a reversal after a period of decline.
“That progress has cooled off a bit, across Illinois,” Pritzker said. “We are seeing changes in positivity averages around the state level off, with three regions that were decreasing last week now sitting at a stable level.”
Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:
7:15 p.m.: CPS says clerks must report to work in person, despite labor ruling that questions COVID-19 protections in schools. CTU says the action ‘threatens jobs.’
Despite an arbitrator’s ruling that certain Chicago Public Schools employees should be allowed to work from home when feasible during remote learning, the district is continuing to require them to work in person.
An email from Chief Talent Officer Matt Lyons sent late Tuesday told clerks, clerk assistants and technology coordinators that the expectations have not changed.
“As critical members of our school community, you are integral in our collective work communicating and supporting families, staff, and students,” the email states. “This means you will continue to be expected to report to work in person, unless you have an approved or pending request for a leave of absence or accommodation.
“You may have received conflicting information recently on this reporting requirement,” the email continued, “but we are writing today to confirm CPS’ expectation and directive to report to work onsite.”
Without a leave of absence or accommodation request approved or pending, employees are not allowed to work from home, according to the email, which states that if employees don’t show up in person, “CPS will consider your absence unauthorized and proceed accordingly.”
The Chicago Teachers Union is interpreting the email as a threat of discipline and an attempt “to strongarm workers into schools in defiance of the ruling.” The union also claims CPS is stalling on bargaining over remedies.
6:55 p.m.: The Purple Pig employees hold protest over concerns of coronavirus safety negligence
After spending much of Tuesday night calling colleagues at The Purple Pig, Ryan Love felt upbeat about the five people who committed to picketing the Chicago restaurant Wednesday morning.
The protest, which ended up being four people greeting passersby with signs saying, “211K Americans dead. Tapas anyone?” and “No transparency, no accountability,” was inspired by frustration over the perceived actions of restaurant chef and owner Jimmy Bannos Jr. and other members of management. Love contends they did not take appropriate steps to keep employees and guests safe after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 24.
Love, a lead server and bartender, said a full