Last Updated 1:39 p.m. Sept. 26, 2021 

Overview

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Many people who have received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are now eligible for booster shots, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave final approval to third doses for three groups: seniors 65 and over, nursing home residents, and adults with underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus.

Meanwhile, Illinois is continuing to see a decline in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, as the statewide infection rate has dropped to its lowest point since mid-July.

Also this week, the fight over COVID safety measures in Chicago Public Schools raged on, as members of the Chicago Teachers Union held a rally this past Wednesday morning outside Jensen Elementary Scholastic Academy in East Garfield Park to demand better protections for students and staff.

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Social Distancing

City officials cited five businesses last weekend for violating the state’s indoor mask mandate, and issued a warning to another establishment.

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection conducted 39 investigations over the weekend to ensure businesses were complying with the statewide requirement for people to wear masks in indoor public places.

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Five businesses were issued two citations each for failing to require customers to wear masks indoors, and for failing to post signs about the mask mandate:

  • Le Nocturne, 4810 N. Broadway
  • Sluggers, 3540 N. Clark St.
  • HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St.
  • Leroy Davenport, 4134 W. 16th St.
  • Rising Stars Youth Club/ Beverly Griffin, 5303 W. Chicago Av.
  • Healthcare Status

    Doctors we talked this week said they’ve heard from patients interested in this third booster shot for weeks. Effective now, people who meet the qualifications, and already received their first two Pfizer shots, can get that third dose.

    Those eligible for the booster shot include anyone age 65 or older, residents in long-term care settings, or anyone 18 and up with underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, liver disease, immunocompromised conditions, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more.

    Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday announced 21,787 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus in the past week, including 239 additional deaths.

    It was the third week in a row the weekly case count has dropped in Illinois, with the state averaging 3,112 new cases per day in the past seven days, a 28% decline from three weeks ago.

    The state’s average infection rate has dropped for four weeks in a row, with the statewide average case positivity rate down to 2.7%. During this most recent surge, the infection rate peaked at 5.3% five weeks ago. The rate is now the lowest the state has reported since July 16.

    Schools

    The Chicago Teachers Union claims 10 out of 17 classrooms at Jensen Elementary Scholastic Academy, 3030 W. Harrison St., are now quarantined, and they said Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn’t listening to their safety concerns. The union said CPS needs to reach a COVID safety agreement with the union.

    “You cannot be disappointed when you are in control. You cannot be disappointed when you have power,” said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates.

    Gates was responding to the mayor telling WTTW-Channel 11 in an interview earlier this week that she was disappointed with how CPS has handled testing and contact tracing so far this school year.

    “Last winter, we put together an agreement that had people in this school community getting tested every single week. This year they haven’t been tested,” Gates said.

    Later Wednesday, Lightfoot accused CTU of stalling in negotiations on COVID safety measures.