State health officials may re-impose tighter Covid-19 restrictions on Champaign County because other counties in the region are reporting higher rates of the virus. On Wednesday, health officials said the number of saliva tests conducted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has skewed the 7-day positivity rate in a 21 county region. The state uses the positivity rate to impose restrictions or lift mitigation efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. The number of University tests makes up 20% of all tests given in the state and officials said when its numbers are factored in, the region’s positivity rate is at 2%. Without including the university’s numbers, the positivity rate is 7.2% for other 20 counties in central Illinois area known as Region 6. An 8% rate would trigger additional state restrictions. Seven counties in Region 6 already are above the 8% positivity rate.
The former owners of the News-Gazette have sold the building at 15 East Main Street in Champaign for nearly $1.2 million to local businesswoman Laura Kalman, according to documents filed in U.S Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
The News-Gazette’s owners are shutting down the Rantoul Press - while the Commercial News, based in Danville, has announced reduced days of publication. The Rantoul Press has been in operation since the early 1900s and is published weekly on Wednesday. It was formerly owned by Glenn Hansen, who died in 2008. The newspaper was sold to the News-Gazette in 2004. “It’s sad because it’s been our little newspaper,” said Kaye Heath, secretary and treasurer of the Rantoul Historical Society and Museum. Heath, 75, is a lifelong resident of Rantoul and said that in addition to retaining a copy of the full paper, the historical society often clips articles from the newspaper, such as fires and other happenings, for their files. “We’re going to miss it,” she said.
University of Illinois officials reported 1,754 new cases from Aug. 15 when students started coming back to campus, through Sept. 8, although a team of researchers working directly for the university administration had projected only 500 to 700 cases by Thanksgiving.